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Drink your way to a better brain

Lisa Armstrong is the mother of two grown daughters, a yoga practitioner, an educator and a long-time freelance writer who focuses on health, wellness, and historical topics that affect humanity's personal and collective well-being.

Trendy beverages that benefit your health

Drinking alcohol making you feel bad? Check out some new takes on making both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks work in new ways to benefit you. Here's to your health!

woman drinking juice with straw

Experts predict that we'll soon be sipping on some rather remarkable drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, that will not only taste great, but boost your health, too!

Many people no longer want high-calorie, caffeinated drinks. An assortment of possibilities is producing new beverages for 21st-century consumers who want new and good-for-you options. According to organizers of the Healthy Beverage Expo, you'll soon find more non-alcoholic drinks with little or no caffeine or sugar on store shelves and in vending machines. These new drinks may combine fruit and coconut water, or berry-flavored water infused with omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients.

Quantum cellular mechanics expert Julie Doering suggests sipping on purified water all day with a goal of taking in 2 to 4 ounces every half an hour. "That way, you keep the brain hydrated and the neurotransmitters talking to each other, which will help keep you clear and focused," she says.

Besides water, other healthy and trendy non-alcoholic beverages include aloe vera juice, pressed juices, green tea, and natural energy drinks. Green tea has the highest amount of polyphenols — a kind of antioxidant derived from plants — compared to other teas, says Elizabeth Politi, nutrition director of the Duke Diet & Fitness Center at Duke University. "These antioxidants keep the heart and brain healthy, and even protect against cancer."

Sugar-free options

Sugar-free beverages are also helping consumers reduce blood sugar spikes (along with their waistlines). But that doesn't mean these products aren't sweet; alternatives such as monk fruit, stevia and other substances are being used to cut sugar and calorie content but keep that sweet taste. San Francisco's Fancy Food Show predicts more non-alcoholic beverages with botanicals in mixes such as:

  • Broccoli cilantro tea
  • Blood-orange chili juice
  • Moringa super herb tea

Seasonings such as sea salt and turmeric also flavor some of these non-alcoholic drinks.

Want to try something new?

The Center for Culinary Development (CCD) says that artisan alcoholic cider is the next big brew trend, appealing to consumers who are increasingly health conscious and want more of a gourmet taste to imbibe.

Healthy alcohol

Although some health experts discourage drinking alcohol because it dries out brain cells, the occasional drink may be healthy, according to Christine Tangney, an associate professor of clinical nutrition at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. The key is only one drink per day for women and no more than two for men, she says.

There are also some alcoholic drinks that have traditionally been considered healthy (in moderation, of course), such as wine. Wines that contain resveratrol, an anti-oxidant that helps your blood flow, can boost brain health. And red wine recipes like sangria include a variety of fruits as healthful ingredients. The tomato juice, horseradish, and celery in a bloody Mary helps balance out the vodka for a healthier summer savor. Mojitos use mint and a healthy dose of fruit to serve up another option for a more hale libation.

Sweet wines in general are popular and better for you, too. Healthy Beverage Expo marketing and sales director Kim Jage says, “We will see healthier alcohol in all forms with fewer calories and more organic options, with many announcing their non-GMO [genetically modified organism] status. Drinks with blood glucose-regulating ingredients, such as cinnamon and ginseng, are an upcoming trend, too" she says.isolated wine bottles

At least one manufacturer wants to take advantage of a 50-year-old trend from China for wine combined with fruits or vegetables. This type of wine concoction, sometimes mixed with goji berries and ginseng, is believed to be beneficial to the body. "Goji berries are a very good tonic for the kidneys and liver, as well as for diabetes," says author and Chinese food expert Fuchsia Dunlop. Ginseng also promotes healthy brain cells and revs up your metabolism.

So whether your taste runs to sweet or pungent, spicy or herbal, you'll soon be happily tripping down the grocery store aisles eyeing drinks of all types, plus taking these items with you on your next outing. These trends will continue, and the experts predict that we'll even see the end of the high-fructose corn syrup issue very soon.

More healthy ways to hydrate

Heart-healthy summer drinks
Green smoothie and green drink recipes
Anti-aging: Eat and drink your way to feeling youthful

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