Water is nature’s original thirst quencher and health drink. It flushes impurities from your system, aids digestion, helps your internal organs work better, keeps you cool and even helps you lose weight. However, water is also very bland, and there are times when you’d like something with more flavor or substance. Here are some beverages that can make delicious and nutritious additions to your diet.

Almond Milk

The popularity of this drink has soared in the last few years. Many people consider it to be the best substitute available for dairy milk
due to its similar consistency and pleasant, nutty flavor. One of its most desirable features is its low caloric content. One serving of unsweetened almond milk contains between 40 and 60 calories, allowing you to drink as much as you’d like without feeling guilty. Best of all, it provides ample amounts of several essential nutrients:

  • Magnesium for heart health, mood support, hormonal balance and nervous system maintenance
  • Calcium for teeth and bones
  • Vitamin E for skin health, antioxidant protection and testosterone production
  • Selenium for immune function
  • B vitamins for cognitive function, energy, metabolism and mood
  • Protein, healthy fats and fiber for appetite control

Furthermore, almond milk is a superior alternative to soy milk. It lacks the severely estrogenic properties of soy that can contribute to estrogen dominance, thyroid dysfunction, low mood and weight gain.

Green Tea

Green tea has been enjoyed by many Eastern cultures for thousands of years, but science is just now starting to understand the mysteries behind this ancient beverage. One of its most impressive features is
its ability to aid weight loss. Like all teas, green tea is rich in polyphenols. These substances increases metabolism through a biological mechanism called thermogenesis. Essentially, they make your body temperature rise enough that your body needs to use stored fat to fuel the process, which allows you to burn extra calories without even trying. However, this only works in combination with a reduced calorie diet. If you’re consuming too many calories, your body will burn those rather than stored fat. Green tea also possesses a wealth of anti-cancer properties. Numerous studies performed over the years have shown it to be highly effective against cancer of the breastsprostate and colon. In addition, despite its caffeine content, green tea is also has sedating characteristics. This is due to an amino acid called L-theanine, which causes feelings of relaxation and reduces mental and physical susceptibility to stress.

Wine

Although excessive drinking can cause health problems, consuming moderate amounts of it has been linked to increased lifespan and a lower incidence of heart disease. Researchers aren’t certain exactly why this is, but many speculate that alcohol’s relaxing effects are at
least partially responsible. Wine, considered to be the healthiest form of alcohol, is rich in antioxidants and other compounds that prevent cell damage, destroy free radicals and reduce strain on the cardiovascular system. Contrary to popular belief, white wine possesses the same health benefits as red. For the greatest benefit, choose homemade wines made without preservatives. Commercially-available wines have had chemicals added to kill bacteria and prevent their growth. Homemade wines made without these substances still possess probiotics that support health in a variety of ways. These microflora will colonize the human intestinal tract and convert soluble fiber into several essential nutrients including B vitamins and vitamin K2.

Wine

Coconut Milk

Although it’s not as creamy or flavorful as almond milk, coconut milk is another excellent dairy and soy milk substitute. The fats in coconut milk have the unique benefit of boosting energy and metabolism, which is ideal for people who wish to lose weight more easily. It also supports healthy immune function, digestion and insulin sensitivity. Additional benefits come in the form of various nutrients:

  • Vitamin C to aid repair of skin, joints and connective tissues
  • Manganese for tissue formation, hormonal regulation, thyroid function, calcium absorption and proper metabolism of fats and carbohydrates
  • Folate for DNA synthesis, proper fetal development and prevention of certain cancers
  • Zinc for sperm production, hormonal regulation, immune function and cell division
  • Choline for cognitive function, liver protection, neurotransmitter production and memory support

Kefir

Kefir, a Middle Eastern yogurt-like beverage traditionally made with milk, has risen dramatically in popularity in recent years. This healthy drink contains an abundance of probiotic bacteria, particularly those in the Lactobacillus family. Due to unhealthy diets, chlorination of water sources, overuse of antibiotics and excessive focus on sanitation, most people today have suboptimal populations in their intestinal tracts. This is tragic because they’re so critical to good health. Probiotics convert soluble fiber into nutrients, which give you energy. They also train your immune system to more efficiently recognize and deal with true threats. However, their most profound benefit comes from the fact that they produce more than 90 percent of your body’s serotonin. This neurotransmitter is one of the three responsible for your ability to enjoy things and feel content and happy.

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