Sip This, Not That: Healthier Alternatives To Your Favorite Beverages
Say adios to that daily soda fix.
Trust us—we get it’s hard to pass up that frozen, blended goodness at the coffee shop around the corner. When temptation comes knocking, we often don’t always make the best decisions when it comes to our favorite sips.
“Some of the worst drink choices are the ones we often enjoy,” says Dana Kofsky, licensed nutritionist and founder of Nutrition Styles. “Beverages like fruit juices, sodas, energy drinks, caffeinated coffee beverages, vitamin-enhanced waters, mixed alcoholic beverages and coffee are definitely ones that come to mind.”
Completely eliminating these tasty refreshments often seems impossible, but finding healthier alternatives doesn't necessarily have to be a challenge. To help you make smarter drinking choices, here are five ways to sip like a health-conscious pro.
From Java to Chaga
You may be addicted to that caffeinated kick, but sometimes your good old cup of joe doesn't always love you back. Not only is coffee highly acidic, it also gives you a heightened sense of anxiety.
“When you drink coffee, it puts your brain and body into a hyper-aroused state,” says Kofsky. "Your emotions overrun your behavior. Irritability and anxiety are the most commonly seen emotional effects of caffeine in coffee. The acidity of coffee is associated with digestive discomfort, indigestion, heartburn, [digestive disorder] GERD and dysbiosis [a microbial imbalance].”
For that jitter-free fix, try natural mushroom supplement chaga, a favorite of stars such as Shailene Woodley. Filled with essential antioxidants, chaga boasts a number of health benefits (hello, boosted immunity) without the unwanted caffeine rush. For that uplifting morning boost, we love Four Sigma Foods Instant Chaga ($35), as it fits easily into a thermos and gives amazing benefits on the go.
Juice to Cactus Water
Juices may seem like a healthier alternative to sodas, but hidden high sugars found inside many juice beverages can get you into serious trouble.
“Sugary fruit juices have as much sugar as many classic sugar drinks," says Kofsky. "It gets absorbed very quickly. By the time the sugars reach your stomach, your body doesn't know whether it's Coca-Cola or juice.”
To avoid those pesky sugar spikes, go for juices with lower sugar totals. Cali Water Cactus Water ($3) has only nine grams of sugar and delivers electrolytes and skin-enhancing antioxidants, pronto.
Energy Drinks to Watermelon Water
When you’re low on shut-eye, picking up a long-lasting energy drink seems to be a plausible option. However, our favorite energy-boosters often leave us plagued with negative side effects such as increased blood pressure and blood sugar.
“Energy drinks contain ingredients such as sugar, caffeine and other stimulants,” says Kofsky. “These ingredients can increase blood pressure and heart rate, constrict blood vessels and increase blood glucose, which can cause serious harm to the body.”
Get both electrolytes and anti-inflammatory action with WTRMLN WTR ($4), a much healthier alternative to your usual energy go-to. It also doubles as a great source of vitamins, so you can enjoy that post-workout boost without an undesired crash.
From Soda to Kombucha
Soda may be addicting, but it definitely isn’t the best drink choice you can make. Filled with empty calories galore, sodas consistently can lead to destructive disorders such as diabetes.
“Although they may be tasty, sodas are overloaded with sugar and provide empty calories without satisfying hunger," says Kofsky. "If consumed regularly, soft drinks have been directly linked to cause obesity."
If you can’t lay off the carbonation, try switching to Kombucha, a fermented beverage sure to quench your thirst. Naturally high in probiotics, this detoxifying tea helps flush out toxins from the liver while keeping you refreshed and hydrated. For a more natural fizz, let Health Ade Kombucha ($5) treat your taste buds to exciting flavors such as beet, carrot and pomegranate.
From Frappucinos to Turmeric
It’s totally okay to treat yourself every once and awhile, but those yummy Frappuccino drinks can take a toll on your waistline in the long run.
“For that Frappucino alternative, I suggest opting for a nice cold-blended smoothie,” explains Kofsky. “Many of my clients opt for something more 'dessert-like' when they are trying to kick the habit.”
Can’t live without that daily Frapp? For a healthier blend, trust Temple Turmeric Super Blends ($7) to fill you up. And with flavors such as Mexican Chocolate, Matcha Latte and Bullet Brew Turkish Coffee, you’ll never want a whipped cream concoction again.
Want more healthy alternatives? Learn about other healthy ingredient options in our Health 101 series.