Top 8 Healthy Drinks That Aren’t Water

March 10, 2016
by Shannon Keating

You’ve heard it before: Drink More Water. Especially when trying to lose weight or be healthier overall, the first piece of advice is usually to increase your intake of good old plain water while simultaneously cutting out all other beverages.

But what if you don’t like water? What if you have a morning juice ritual? Or what if you just plain like treating yourself to a flavorful beverage from time to time?

In those cases, what do you do?

Well, first, you probably should adopt a water drinking habit. There is no getting around that one. Water fuels our bodies at a cellular level and considering our cells are the tiny, essential building blocks for all of our tissues and organs, it’s pretty darn important that you maintain proper levels of hydration throughout the day.

Luckily, amongst the rows and rows of colorful, enticing drinks lining the grocery store shelves, quite a few health-promoting, hydrating drinks exist that you can enjoy when your bottle of water is getting old.  Below is a list of which of these you should consume, along with when. Because the trick is, while water is appropriate to drink during all times of the day, (aside from excessive amounts with meals), these other beverages all have specific times of day when it’s best to drink them. Read on to find out more!

Fruit-Infused Water

Ok yes, I know technically this still is water but trust me, fruit-infused water is an upgrade from plain old regular water. You can make this yourself at home using an infusion pitcher or water bottle and adding a bunch of your favorite fruits, herbs, and spices. Some combos to consider: Orange + Basil, Cinnamon + Apple + Lemon, Blueberries + Thyme, Grapefruit + Lemon, or Blackberries + Mint.

You can also purchase ready made fruit-infused water at the grocery store, just check the ingredients to ensure that there is no added sugar! Two trusted brands are: Hint Water and Metromint.

Drink fruit-infused water throughout the day anytime, aside from with meals (too much water with meals dilutes stomach acid, inhibiting proper digestion).

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Sparkling Water

Most brands of sparkling water/seltzer water are safe to drink so long as they contain zero additional sugars or sweeteners. It’s ideal to purchase unflavored sparkling water and then flavor it yourself with fresh lemon or lime juice, to avoid “natural flavors”, especially if you plan on drinking sparkling water on a daily basis. However this isn’t always realistic and many brands do offer fun flavors that are ok to enjoy occasionally.

Good brands include: La Croix, Perrier, and S. Pellegrino. Trader Joe’s also sells good, affordable varieties.

Drink sparkling water/seltzer water in between meals, and ideally two hours after eating.

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Apple Cider Vinegar Water

Just like fruit-infused water, you can make this yourself by adding a tablespoon of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar to 16 – 32 oz of water.

You can also purchase Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar Drinks, which are sold in most health food stores in five different varieties. Dilute these in a 1:1 ratio with water for less sugar/sweetness. They are delicious over ice or cold out of the fridge.

Drink Apple Cider Vinegar Water on an empty stomach before meals (up to an hour before) to stimulate digestion and with meals, in small sips, to support digestion.

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Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented tea with many healthy properties such as antioxidants, probiotics, and B vitamins. It is becoming increasingly popular and can be found in most regular grocery stores nowadays. The one drawback is that many varieties contain a lot of sugar. Ideally choose varieties with 4 grams or less of sugar per serving.

A great brand to look for is GT’s Kombucha. Gingerade, Trilogy, Citrus, Original, Multi-Green, Lavender, Hibiscus, Bilberry, and Cosmic Cranberry are wonderful, low sugar flavors.

Drink Kombucha on an empty stomach in between meals and before meals (up to an hour before) to stimulate digestion. Drink no more than one kombucha per day, and split the bottle up into two or more servings split up throughout one or two days.

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Coconut Water

Coconut Water is great to add to your routine from time to time, especially if you are doing intense training or exercising outdoors in the heat. Check the label to make sure the ingredients are just coconut water and no other sweeteners or preservatives. Raw, Organic varieties are best.

Trusted brands include: Harmless Harvest, Blue Monkey, and Harvest Bay.

Some stores sell whole coconuts that you can crack open at home. Bonus points if you drink your coconut water fresh out of the coconut itself!

Drink Coconut Water during and after intense exercise, especially when you’re sweating a lot to replenish electrolytes. Also sip it on days when you’re sick or hungover from a few too many drinks the night before.

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Maple Water

Maple Water is pure water extracted straight from maple trees. It contains electrolytes, minerals, antioxidants, B vitamins, and a small amount of natural maple sugar. Maple water is relatively new to the scene but can be found at some health food stores or purchased online.

The two best brands out there: DRINKmaple and Happy Tree

Drink Maple Water during and after intense exercise, especially when you’re sweating a lot to replenish electrolytes.

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Herbal Tea

With herbal tea, the sky’s the limit as far as flavors, varieties, and combinations go. Buy loose leaf herbal teas plus a tea ball or infuser to make your own unique combinations or buy boxes of ready made varieties that suit your fancy. When buying loose leaf teas in bulk select herbs or teas with a rooibos (red tea) base (green/black/white teas contain caffeine which is dehydrating and drinking these will require extra water intake). When buying boxes the label will specify: “Herbal Supplement” or “Caffeine-Free”.

Also, make sure to check ingredients and skip varieties with added sweeteners or Barley Malt.

A few great brands (there are MANY out there): Yogi, Organic India, Pukka, and Traditional Medicinals.

Drink herbal tea throughout the day anytime, aside from with meals (too much fluid with meals dilutes stomach acid, inhibiting proper digestion). Also drink warm herbal tea at night to calm your nervous system down and prepare your body for sleep.

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Green Juice

Green juice is a wonderful health-promoting drink to treat yourself to every so often for a burst of quick energy and easily absorbed vitamins and minerals. Just be sure to check the amount of sugar per serving because juices are very concentrated in sugar which can create large spikes in your blood sugar and thus unstable energy levels, mood swings, and cravings. The best juices are going to be more greens/veggies, less fruit.

A quick tip: combine your green juice with half an avocado + ice in the blender to make it more satiating and to minimize the large blood sugar spike.

Good varieties: “Greens & Greens” or “Avocado & Greens” by Forager; “Glow” or “Twelve Essentials” by Suja

Drink Green Juice on an empty stomach before meals (up to two hours before) and with meals, in small sips. Also drink green juice on days when you’re sick or hungover to replenish minerals.

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