Alternatives to Sweet Sugary Drinks

As spring gives way to even warmer temperatures and even greater needs for extra fluids in the body, I find myself in more and more conversations having to do with staying properly hydrated, especially in these warmer months.

I must say, too, that I continue to be discouraged by the number of people I know who are still regularly drinking soda in one variation or another. This, in spite of study after study that shows us that sugar-sweetened water is more addictive than junk food, fast food, or processed carbs such as bread and pasta or chips.  Sweet drinks just have super addictive properties.

Liquid sugar is absorbed very quickly, driving up blood sugar and insulin and mainlining fructose to the liver, which then sets off a cascade o events that causes weight gain and more cravings. Insulin spikes, blood sugar drops, our body sees it as a life-threatening emergency, and so we are driven to go looking for the next sugar fix. Read more about liquid sugars here.

One way to break the hold of liquid sugars is to have a few alternatives that are equally as easy to get to and provide the same sort of benefit.

One of my favorite go-to drinks is chai tea. It has been popular for years, can be drunk hot or iced, and as long as you pay attention to the label of the tea and pick a good one, free of added unhealthy ingredients you can have all the gifts of the combinations of spices and tea.

There are varieties of chai teas. The most popular blends start with black and a blend of ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, fennel, black pepper, and clove. Some recipes include anise, clover, and peppercorn.

Chai tea boasts of several benefits to the human body.

  • It is anti-inflammatory, and thus reduces pain associated with arthritis. Clove, ginger, and cinnamon are helpful in this regard.
  • It treats nausea. Again, ginger is known for its ability to settle a nagging upset stomach. It can even reduce the discomfort of motion sickness and chemo-induced nausea
  • It contains a high antioxidant load. In the Orient, where heart disease is much lower than in western countries, tea is the beverage of choice. Teas are loaded with antioxidants called polyphenols. Along with fruits and vegetables, a cup or two of tea a day It is their job to scavenge the body of free radicals that can cause cell damage.
  • It can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Cinnamon is found in everything from Greek food to candy, and it’s a key ingredient in chai tea that’s been linked with reduced risk of heart disease. It helps to regulate blood sugar, reduce blood pressure, and aid in the stabilization of cholesterol and triglycerides. It is also known to be helpful in combatting diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

However you do it, I recommend that you do some planning so that you have healthy, cooling, and refreshing drinks in your refrigerator in addition to good drinking water.  This Chai Tea recipe is a good start!

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