There are many factors that go into maintaining an optimally healthy lifestyle, all of which are more or less achievable by people who have more self-control than we do. Yes, you’re supposed to always focus on maintaining a weight that keeps you feeling strong and fit, enjoy a varied diet packed with fresh vegetables and fruits, and engage in regular exercise that keeps your heart rate up for 20 minutes at a stretch or more. But if you’re not Gwyneth Paltrow and you don’t have tons of help, a chef, and a personal trainer, you may be too busy taking care of your life to spend all your energy taking steps to stay fit and healthy.
Even if you’re not crazy busy, there is powerful temptation to avoid going the healthy route everywhere: jalapeño poppers are delicious, exercise is difficult and boring, and watching Game of Thrones marathons doesn’t exactly burn a ton of calories. So while eating austerely and exercising regularly are admittedly extremely important to keeping yourself healthy, there’s also one easy-to-address factor in your life that you might not have considered before: What you drink — and in what quantity — is a serious aspect of healthy living and doesn’t take a ton of effort.
We’re taking a look at issues specifically relevant to women’s health and discovering what women’s bodies need when trying to fight or prevent diseases. Heart disease, for instance, is the leading cause of death in women of all ethnicities across the United States. While there are many great measures you can take to keep your heart healthy, one factor is what you’re drinking: Diet sodas, while Food and Drug Administration approved, have been linked in multiple studies to weakening heart health and increased cardiovascular risk.
Osteoporosis is another issue that women need to pay special attention to. Just being female increases your chances of suffering from osteoporosis significantly — of those who contract osteoporosis, 80 percent are women. Sodas may be part of the culprit here yet again: According to an article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, both regular and diet cola drinks may be linked to weakened bone density.
“Optimizing valuable nutrient intake is essential to staying healthy and warding off disease, along with exercise and weight management,” Dr. Deepa Verma of Synergistiq Integrative Health tells us. “I suggest avoiding any drinks with high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and dyes/colorings. The list includes everything from soda to sports drinks to flavored water.”
So what drinks can actually help prevent these problems?
“Drinking water should go without saying,” Dr. Verma says. “The body needs to be flushed on a daily basis to rid itself of toxins. With all the options for drinks out there, most of them being addictive and unhealthy, not to mention costly, people just don't think to drink water. To calculate how much water you should consume, take your body weight and multiply by two-thirds, and that should be about how many ounces of water are required. If you are very active or exercise, add an extra 12 ounces for every 30 minutes of strenuous activity, as sweating dehydrates the body.”
Read on to learn about more drinks that can help prevent diseases that attack women and improve your overall health.
Women had previously been afraid to drink soy milk because there were rumors that it could harm those at risk for breast cancer. But there have been multiple studies showing that there is not only no associated risk, but soy milk can actually reduce the recurrence of breast cancer in survivors.
“A cup of tea is packed with minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants which are beneficial for the body.” Dr. Verma tells us. Who knew this classic simple pleasure was also a great health drink? But tea drinking, according to an article published in the Harvard Women’s Health Watch, can actually lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
This Post was originally published on April 20, 2014.