What to Drink When You're Sick (Slideshow)
August 20, 2013
There's a drink for every ailment (and if you're lucky, it's already in your fridge)
When You're Stressed, Drink...
No doubt, a cup of coffee is going to boost your energy, but caffeine isn't always good for nerves. If you're looking for an alternative to coffee there's yet another black drink — black tea. While you can’t really go wrong with a black or green tea (they both come from the Camellia sinensis shrub, black tea is just fermented), studies have shown that black tea reduces cortisol and stress levels.
When You’re Nauseated, Drink…
The best remedy for nausea, the experts say? Clear, cold water. But if you’re looking for something different, other experts recommend flat soda (particularly ginger ale, because of its anti-nausea properties) or sports drinks, to replace the minerals you lose as you throw up.
When You Have a Headache, Drink...
The verdict is out: drink lots of water to prevent, and cure, headaches. While there are about 150 different kinds of headaches, from sinus headaches and tension headaches to migraines, most of them can be traced back to dehydration. It's cheaper (and less harmful to the body) than reaching for the bottle of painkillers.
When You Have a Sore Throat, Drink...
This really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Your cup of green tea, black tea, or herbal tea contains antioxidants that help ward off infection; plus, warm liquids help break up lingering mucus that could be causing your sore throat and cough. Add some lemon to add a boost of vitamin C, and honey to coat the throat. We particularly like this sore throat tea made with ginger and garlic (don’t knock it until you try it).
If You Can't Sleep, Drink...
Sure, you’ll never go wrong with a calming cup of Sleepytime tea. But tart cherry juice may also help you fall asleep faster; a 2010 study found that tart cherry juice boosted levels of melatonin, which helps you fall asleep. That means longer time asleep, and more restful sleep — drink up.
If You’re Bloated, Drink...
Water will always be your best bet for bloat, as it acts like a diuretic and flushes out the body’s excess salt, and fast. (Add a lemon slice to your glass and you’re really good to go.) But add a few mint leaves to your water, or sip on a mint tea, to help relax your digestive tract. You’ll see a flatter belly in no time.
If You Have Heartburn, Drink…
Water or Tea
There’s an old wives' tale that says to drink milk to avoid heartburn, especially middle-of-the-night heartburn. But that daily dose of milk could end up aggravating your heartburn. Dairy can trigger certain stomach acids that cause heartburn, and most experts agree that eating or drinking anything too close to bedtime will only add to heartburn woes. It’s best to avoid caffeine, carbonated soft drinks, and alcohol to prevent heartburn, and instead drink water or tea to ease the pain. Some say that herbal teas, like slippery elm, licorice root, or chamomile tea, can protect your esophagus and stomach lining and soothe away heartburn.
When You’re Hungover, Drink...
Fruit Juice or Sports Drinks
So you didn’t follow the "drink one glass of water for every drink" rule, huh? You’re going to want to stock up on the water post-party (alcohol is a diuretic, after all), but there are plenty of other drinks in the fridge that just might help ease the pain. While sports drinks have long been tossed aside for workouts, they just might pack the punch of electrolytes you desperately need after a night of drinking. Fruit juice also gets a bad rap for its added sugars, but a dose of fructose kick-starts the body to get rid of the lingering toxins of alcohol. So grab a Gatorade before heading to your greasy spoon diner — the coffee you so desperately crave with your eggs and bacon will only dehydrate you more.
When You’re Sore, Drink...
Pomegranate or Watermelon Juice
Water should always be the first drink you grab before and after hitting the gym, but some new studies shed light on two juices that just might relieve some post-workout aches and pains. Watermelon juice, one study found, helped relieve participants’ muscle soreness after a cycling routine. The reason may be watermelon’s L-citrulline, an amino acid that boosts blood flow and helps muscles recover faster after a tough workout. Another juice said to work wonders? Pomegranate juice, thanks to its high content of polyphenols and ellagitannin, an antioxidant that protects muscle fibers from damage. Others also say that caffeine before a workout can help reduce muscle aches and pains. In a study from the University of Georgia, those who took a caffeine pill (about the equivalent of two cups of coffee) helped reduce soreness in participants post-workout. They believe it’s because caffeine releases adenosine, which blocks the brain's receptors for pain. Still, coffee can be dehydrating, so don’t load up on the coffee before your grueling workout.