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5 Healthy Beverages that Aren’t Water

I’ve noticed an odd thing over the years.

When it comes to choosing something to drink besides water, a lot of folks have no idea what constitutes a healthy beverage.

For example, I’ve noticed that most of the “healthy” choices made by my patients include milk, juice and diet soda.

The human body was never intended to digest and utilize the milk sugars found in cow’s milk. And while the American dairy industry markets milk as a way to build strong bones, the truth is that people who drink milk regularly are more likely to experience fractures. Higher milk intake is associated with cardiovascular disease, cancer, early death and higher levels of inflammation.

Fruit juice definitely sounds healthy. But most juices are missing all of the fiber and other stuff that help your body process the high amounts of sugar found in many of today’s commercial fruit juices. If your body can’t process the sugar, it pretty much defeats any potential health benefits. In many cases, fruit juice contains even more sugar than soft drinks.

And as far as vegetable juices are concerned, most of them are drowning in salt. (Fact: A can of V8 juice or Campbell’s tomato juice both contain more sodium than a large order of fries from Burger King.)

When it comes to diet beverages, I can’t tell you enough about the dangers associated with them. They’re promoted as weight loss aids, but that’s not the case. The fact is, the artificial sweeteners found in low- and no-calorie drinks actually promote weight gain, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

The artificial sweeteners in diet beverages are also linked to higher incidence of high blood pressure, cardiovascular events, stroke and dementia.

That being said, today I would like to introduce you to some healthy alternatives that you can drink every day, all day long, without any negative health consequences.

Some of My Favorite Beverages That Aren’t Water

Green tea is one of my favorite go-to beverages. I drink two to three cups of green tea each day and like to mix and match them. I might have matcha green tea in the morning, a jasmine green tea mid to late morning and then, in the afternoon, I’ll usually go with one that’s decaffeinated. (That way I won’t have the caffeine in my system at bedtime.)

You can drink green tea hot or cold, and it makes a great replacement for coffee and sodas. Plus, it comes with a whole host of health benefits.

  • It slashes the risk of diabetes, reduces arterial stiffness, lowers the chance of a stroke and helps protect against cardiovascular death.
  • Women who enjoy one to three cups of tea daily have greater bones density than women who aren’t tea-drinkers.
  • Green tea drinkers have telomeres that are about five years younger than people who don’t drink it.
  • And, very importantly, it can correct gut microbial dysbiosis for a huge boost to general health; specifically to colonic health via increased production of the short chain fatty acid butyrate.

Pomegranate juice cuts oxidation of LDL cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, reduces arterial plaque and helps prevent your arteries from thickening. Additionally, it can increase your antioxidant status by about 130%, which can help cut down on inflammation.

In men, pomegranate juice reduces PSA production, slows PSA doubling time, and lowers levels of inflammation that put you at risk for prostate cancer. It also stops cancer cells from spreading, and may even help kill them off.

Montmorency cherry juice also helps to protect your cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure, inflammation and levels of oxidative stress.

As an added benefit, patients with mild to moderate dementia show improvements when tart cherry juice is added to their diet.  They show greater verbal fluency, better short-term memory and enhanced long-term memory

Additionally, both pomegranate and Montmorency cherry juice help to raise your levels of nitric oxide, or NO. This compound keeps your blood vessels open, relaxed and functioning properly. It’s absolutely essential when it comes to keeping blood flowing freely throughout your body.

Cranberry juice is another heart healthy juice. It significantly decreases levels of a protein that increases number of small, dense LDL particles. (These are the ones that cause plaque to build up in your blood vessels and create blockages.)

Not only does cranberry juice help to keep your LDL particles large and harmless. It also reduces inflammatory markers and works to lower blood pressure.

But here’s the thing.

While all of these juices are great alternatives, they only work if you buy the unsweetened versions in the form of a “concentrate.” (Don’t worry. You can mix them with water and sweeten them up with stevia or monk fruit when you get home. These are two of the few safe and healthy alternatives to sugar that I recommend to my patients.)

My Absolute #1 Favorite Beverage That Isn’t Water

Kombucha is a slightly sparkling, fermented tea that makes a fantastic replacement for water. And for soda, too. I love it!

I drink kombucha frequently. It’s a fizzy, tangy, and sometimes sweet drink. It’s delicious.

What I love most is that it has probiotic properties that help balance and diversify the gut microbiome. And since the microbes in your gut play an important part in all aspects of your mental and physical health, kombucha is an excellent choice of beverage.

If you’re skeptical, I urge you to try a few different brands before dismissing the idea. (If you’ve tried it before and didn’t like it, try it again.)

Here’s why:

Some brands can be tart, sour or vinegary. But other brands are surprisingly light, sweet and refreshing… and tremendously easy to drink. My favorite is Ginger Ade from GTS in the fridge section of Costco.

If you aren’t into kombucha yet, I recommend starting off with a milder brand like KeVita Master Brew, Health-Ade or Humm. Later on, you can get more adventurous and test out brands with sharper and tangier flavors associated with traditional kombucha.

In the meantime, you may have noticed that I’ve clearly stated that these beverages are my top choices – that aren’t water. Water is always my first choice, and there are so many reasons why it should be your first choice, too.


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