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Thirsty? Our Easy Guide on Popular Drinks

By Krista Elliott

Feeling parched after a workout? Looking for a cool drink on a hot day, or a hot one to warm your bones when it's freezing outside? Getting together with friends for drinks and a meal?

Drink up! But you must know that not all drinks are created equal. Here's the lowdown on your favorite beverages.

  • Water - Good old fashioned water keeps us hydrated, helps our organs function, replenishes fluids lost through exercise or illness, and can relieve headaches. It's also good for your skin, is calorie-free, and can help prevent tooth decay if fluoridated. When thirsty, it should be your first choice. If you aren't keen on the taste of plain water, a squeeze of lemon (or some frozen berries instead of ice cubes) will make it more flavorful.
  • Fruit Juice - Who doesn't love having a big glass of OJ in the morning? It's delicious, and provides us with vitamins and antioxidants. But save it for an occasional treat, as some of the nutrients found in fruit, including fiber, are lost in the juicing process. As well, juice is high in calories. 
  • Soda Pop and Other Sweet Drinks - Beverages such as cola and lemonade may quench our thirst, but that's their only virtue. Most contain lots of sugar, which causes tooth decay, weight gain, and diabetes. If caffeinated, they can cause nervousness, and lead to weakened bones. And no, diet versions aren't any better. 
  • Coffee and Tea -Coffee and tea give many of us our morning boost. In moderation, coffee and tea can help us burn calories and lose weight, provide us with antioxidants, and can  reduce our risk of cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer's disease. The downside of drinking too much can be insomnia and restlessness, heart palpitations, loss in bone density, and stained teeth.
  • Milk - A favorite with kids, milk does the body good. It contains calcium, which is important for bone growth and strength, helps prevent osteoporosis, and provides protein, carbohydrates, and vitamins. Skim milk is fine if you're watching your calorie intake, but kids' brains benefit from the extra fat, so buy whole or 2 percent for them.
  • Alcohol - Having a glass of wine or a beer is something that many of us enjoy with a meal, or when socializing with friends. In moderation, drinking alcohol can decrease cardiovascular disease, and reduce the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. In excess, it can contribute to weight gain, diabetes, gallstones, cancer, and cirrhosis of the liver. Not to mention that it can cause intoxication, impair judgment and motor skills, is a depressant, and can often lead to alcoholism. And whatever you do, don't drink and drive: The risk isn't worth it.
  • Sports and Energy Drinks - They increase levels of electrolytes that can be lost during physical exertion, and provide a quick energy boost. But, unless you're an athlete, these drinks provide no benefits. Sweeteners can cause tooth decay, weight gain, and diabetes. Stimulants may lead to heart palpitations, high blood pressure, and insomnia. If mixed with alcohol, they can disguise the depressant effect of alcohol, resulting in drinking more.

So, there you have it.  Your guide on how to best quench your thirst, and how to make the best choices for your health. 

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic.

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