Diet and hydration: 8 drinks and when to drink them

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The best beverages for your body in any situation

Diet and hydration: 8 drinks and when to drink them
PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY: Consuming the right fluids at the right times can deliver several health benefits. (Getty Premium images)

When to Have… WATER

>>You’re feeling fatigue, have a headache, or are just plain old grumpy: In a study published in The Journal of Nutrition, participants who were dehydrated by more than 1 percent reported decreased mood, lower concentration, and headaches. According to the study’s authors, certain neurons detect dehydration and may signal other brain regions that regulate mood and cognitive functions. “A rule of thumb is that women need about 2 litres of water a day and men need around 2.5 litres,” says nutritionist Amanda Berhaupt-Glickstein.

>>You want to lose weight: Researchers have found that over 12 weeks, dieters who drank water before meals three times per day lost about 3 kilos more than dieters who did not increase their water intake. Good guidelines: Drink two cups before every meal.

>>You exercise for less than 90 minutes: Just because you sweat doesn’t mean you should reach for a sports drink. Yes, you need water for rehydration and because it helps lubricates joints and provides cushioning to organs and muscles, along with many other vital processes. However, people often overestimate their needs for sugar and sports drinks when exercising, says Lisa C. Cohn, owner of Park Avenue Nutrition. “Really, only water is needed unless you are active for more than 90 minutes with moderate to high intensity.”

When to Have… TEA

>>You’re going through caffeine withdrawal: Black tea may be the way to go when you want to reduce caffeine consumption, says Lisa Roberts-Lehan, a certified health and nutritional consultant and holistic chef. “It has about 50 mg of caffeine per cup, as compared to coffee, which has between 100 to 190 mg per cup.”

>>You have stomach issues: In Traditional Chinese Medicine, teas are said to improve digestion by neutralising the stomach acids. Roberts-Lehan recommends Oolong tea to support the digestive system because of its detoxifying qualities, while Cohn advises such as earl grey or lady grey with bergamont and ginger for their stomach-smoothing qualities.

When to Have… JUICE

>>You need constipation relief: Prune juice is rich in vitamin C and minerals, such as calcium and iron. It also has high insoluble fiber content, which helps move waste through the intestines to be eliminated, says nutritionist Robin Miller, author of many cookbooks, including Robin Takes 5. Drink some on the morning to help balance out the nutrients in breakfast. Juice is best partnered with lean protein and complex carbohydrates to kick off the metabolism. Always look for 100 percent juice to avoid added sugars and calories.

>>You have a urinary tract infections (UTI): Cranberry juice contains substances that inhibit the binding of bacteria to bladder tissue, which can help prevent urinary tract infections, according to a study published in the Journal Food Science and Biotechnology. If you often suffer from recurrent UTI episodes, try a daily glass of 100 percent cranberry juice.

>>You have a high-fat meal: Having orange juice after double cheeseburger may help to neutralise the inflammatory response of a high fat meal. It may work because OJ works as an antioxidant, which would neutralise inflammation and help prevent damage to the blood vessels. Drink one glass after a high-fat meal.

When to Have… COFFEE

>>You’re concerned about diabetes: “Coffee contains chromium and magnesium, two minerals that help the body use insulin—the hormone that controls blood sugar, which may help prevent Type 2 diabetes,” says Miller. If you’re not sensitive to caffeine, you can enjoy coffee—without added sugar, sugary syrups, or full-fat milk or cream—all day long.

>>You’re feeling the blues: Caffeinated coffee has been shown to have several health benefits in women. “For example, one study found that women who drank four or more cups of coffee a day had a lower risk of endometrial cancer,” says Berhaupt-Glickstein. “Another study found the more women drank caffeinated coffee, the less likely they were to have depressive symptoms.”

When to Have… MILK

>>You want to shed fat: It’s good for strong bones, yes, but it may also help you burn more fat, according to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Subjects who followed a typical daily diet (about 35 percent fat, 49 percent carbohydrates, 16 percent protein and 8 to 12 g of fiber) and received adequate dairy intake (3 daily servings of dairy with each providing 300 to 350 mg calcium and 8 to 10 g of protein) decreased their body fat by around 1 kilo. This was compared to the low-dairy (less than three servings) intake group.

When to Have… BEER

>>You want an endurance boost: Who would have thought that beer could improve your running time? “Dark beer has higher iron content than lighter beers. Iron is an essential mineral within all cells and it carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body,” says Miller. The more oxygen carriers you have, the easier your muscles can access the oxygen rich blood to keep you going. Miller explains that although beer is 93 percent water, dark beers are a good source of antioxidants that reverse cellular damage in the body. Antioxidants are what you need to fight the natural exercise response to muscle damage inflammation, which can fuel a faster recovery. A beer now and then with meal is fine, but it’s best to avoid alcohol consumption 1 to 2 hours before bedtime so your sleep isn’t disrupted.

When to Have… LEMONADE

>>You want some immune support: Due to its rich vitamin C content, lemons strengthen the immune system and are very cleansing, says Robert-Lehan. “Lemonade made from fresh lemons, water, and a small amount of sweetener, like stevia, raw honey, or raw agave, is detoxifying, freshening, and cooling,” she says.

When to Have… A SMOOTHIE

>>You need a meal on-the-go: Commercial brands pack on up tons of calories and sugars, so make your own. Roberts-Lehan says a healthy smoothie ingredient list should include: Lots of greens, fresh fruit, a water-to-milk ratio of three parts water to one part milk or unsweetened non-dairy milk (such as almond milk) protein-rich chia seeds, hemp seeds, all-natural almond butter, or a scoop of a green and/or protein powder.

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