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Drink your way to good health

healthdrinkIs what you’re drinking every day a healthy glassful? We discover the best beverages…

We all know water is good for your health. But when it comes to other drinks, what should you be supping more or less of?

The ultimate health drink – and calorie-free! The more water you drink, the better: experts recommend 2 litres (eight glasses) a day. Keep a litre bottle on your desk so you can see how much you’re getting through. Alternatively, every time you have another drink – a cup of tea or coffee, for example – always have a glass of water afterwards.

Fruit juices
Vitamins, minerals and water…fruit juices sound like the perfect healthy combination. A 150ml glass provides one of your eight-
a-day – but be aware that some varieties are high in sugar. These contain calories and can be acidic, so they can damage your teeth, too. Opt for organic, pure juices.

You might think there’s a big difference in the health benefits of your traditional builder’s cuppa and that of a herbal tea, but it’s not as huge as you might imagine. All tea contains antioxidants, which help prevent cell damage. Three cups of black tea a day can reduce the risk of heart disease by up to 70%, according to the Tea Advisory Panel ( Green tea also has numerous health benefits, including reducing the risk of cancer, helping with the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and easing heartburn. Peppermint tea is known for its benefits to sufferers of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), as it aids digestion.

Coffee often gets a bad press when it comes to health, but research suggests it may help to reduce the risk of gallstones and kidney stones. Pregnant women and people with high blood pressure should limit their intake, and if you suffer with low iron levels, don’t drink coffee (or tea) with your meals, as it affects iron absorption.

Despite being thicker than fruit juice, smoothies contain water, as well as vitamins and minerals from the fruit and veg. Puréed fruit is an added bonus because it helps increase your fibre intake. A smoothie containing 150ml fruit juice and 80g puréed fruit counts as two of your eight-a-day!

Packed full of B vitamins, calcium and protein, milk is good for growing children. The British Nutrition Foundation advises that children between the age of one and two should be given whole milk – but adults should be aware that it contains saturated fat. If you’re partial to a glass of milk, stick to low-fat or skimmed varieties.

The advice on whether alcohol is good for you changes constantly but, overall, the recommendations are that alcohol is fine in moderation. Red wine contains antioxidants and resveratrol,which are believed to help prevent some cancers, heart disease and even Alzheimer’s. The odd pint has health benefits, too – beer contains vitamin B6, said to aid heart health. What’s critical is that you stick to the recommended limits: no more than two to three units a day for women, and no more than three to four units a day for men. One unit is half a pint of standard strength beer/lager; half a standard glass (175ml) of wine; or a pub measure of spirits.

This article was first published in at home with Marco Pierre White in October 2011. [Read the digital edition here]

 Image: Getty

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