We’re taking a break from Covid news this month (in this column at least) to talk about something a little lighter. I’ll be listing what I believe are the top 5 healthiest beverages. This is more opinion than science, though there will be some science interspersed.
Top 5 Healthiest Beverages
1. High Quality H20, i.e. water
Everyone knows the bulk of our bodies are made up of water. All our cells are bathed in it and our nervous system signals could not happen without it. Water helps our kidneys flush toxins out of the body. Despite its importance many people are chronically dehydrated. Carrying a bottle filled with tap water or even sparkling water can be a great way to avoid getting behind on your daily water needs.
Good news for all the coffee lovers out there. Coffee may have some potential health benefits. A recent study in the British Medical Journal found an association between increasing coffee consumption and lower risks of prostate cancer (1). We are still not exactly sure why this would be the case, but it is thought that the antioxidant properties of coffee may play a part. A word of caution — cream, sugar, and flavoring in coffee can lead to obesity and diabetes which would easily outweigh any other potential health benefits of drinking coffee. Black coffee or just a hint of cream or sugar would be the way to go.
3. Green Tea
Tea leaves have natural compounds which are known to help boost energy and curb hunger. Green tea has been used across different cultures for centuries. Just a touch of honey can make green tea a delicious treat. Avoid bottled or canned teas as they tend to contain a lot of added sugar.
Kombucha is a fermented tea drink which contains probiotics. There are all different types of kombucha with a variety of flavors. This drink does contain small amounts of alcohol, which is a byproduct of the natural fermentation process. Probiotic foods may help some people with digestive health. There are millions of probiotics in each sip of kombucha so you may not need a lot.
Kefir is another type of probiotic drink. It is very similar to yogurt. For people sensitive to dairy, it may not be the best choice. It is a popular drink throughout parts of the middle east.
No matter which of these healthiest beverages you choose, remember that the foundation of a healthy diet should be wholesome food.
Oren Gersten is a board-certified family doctor who brings his passion for connecting and caring for people to his private practice, Portland Direct Primary Care, at 27 Ocean Street, #3, South Portland. Reach him at (207) 618-9792 or visit PortlandDirectCare.com.
- Xiaonan Chen, Yiqiao Zhao, Zijia Tao. Coffee consumption and risk of prostate cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open, 2021 DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-038902