Brain and Health – About Healthy Drinks

Let’s talk about healthy drinks from soda to water, juice, and everyone’s favorite coffee. Did you know that 60% of our body is water, and 90% of our blood is water? I didn’t know exact numbers until doing some research. It is safe to say that staying hydrated is healthy for our bodies and functioning. What we are adding to our water is where the negative effects come from. Caffeine is the most commonly used “drug” in the world. The results in our bodies from increased sugar intake could have stronger drug like effects than cocaine. Foods and drinks contain natural sugars, added sugars, or what I call “fake” sugar, basically chemically produced sugar replacements. What drinks are healthy for us?

Have a drink on me!

Water! Water! Water! My father-in-law was a college football coach with a couple of master’s degrees. Constantly my husband likes to reiterate some of the things his father taught him when he was younger, and the biggest one is about staying hydrated. Water helps deliver oxygen throughout the body, and it regulates our body temperature. Water can prevent

  • Heartburn
  • Constipation
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Kidney damage
  • Aging damage

Water lubricates our joints, can boost our skin health, help with weight loss, and maintains blood pressure. It also plays a big role in the production of hormones and neurotransmitters which are a big part of every function in our bodies including our moods. It also flushes out toxins and body waste, so if they are not flushed out they can have harmful effects for our bodies. Unfortunately, not everyone enjoys drinking just water so we often add flavorings to it. This is where the harm in what we drink comes in.

Caffeine and depression?

Every day an average of 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed around the world. In the United States alone, 90% of adults drink coffee. Caffeine is a stimulant that can occur naturally in over 60 different plant species. For plants, caffeine acts as a natural pesticide for bugs. It is used medically as an alertness aid and pain killer. The FDA recommends only 400 mg per day for an adult. That is equivalent to about 12 cups of coffee. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that children and adolescents do not consume caffeine. Studies have found that it can change the way our brain and body work on a cellular level.

In moderate amounts caffeine has been found to be beneficial to our health. Caffeine may be able to

  • Protect from eye cataracts
  • Lower risks of developing certain types of cancer
  • Enhance weight loss
  • Improve cognitive function and alertness
  • Reduce risks for developing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease

Then there are the negative effects of caffeine, especially a higher intake than what is recommended. A high intake may worsen the symptoms of anxiety and depression and increase the risk of bladder problems by 70% in some studies. A high amount of caffeine can cause

  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Heartburn, and much more.

Drinking caffeine during pregnancy can cause problems from loss to development problems. It can actually reduce fertility. Many medicines, herbs, and supplements can interact with caffeine. Energy drinks are probably the worst with their high concentration of caffeine and sugars could be very bad for your body.

Sugar for drinks.

Sugar for drinks are the single largest source of calories found in the US diet. Sugar does not add any nutrients, only added calories. The American Heart Association recommends a max average of 7 teaspoons of sugar a day for adults. In one can of soda you can find about 7-8 teaspoons, and 10-12 teaspoons of sugar can be found in most energy drinks. Juices can contain just as much sugar as a can of soda.

Some of the harmful effects of a high intake of sugar are

  • Increased risk of mood disorders like depression
  • Increased feelings of sadness and anxiety
  • Harmful to memory, attention, and learning
  • Harms blood vessels and promotes symptoms of inflammation

Constant drinking of high levels of sugar may lead to

  • Cancer
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth decay
  • Early puberty in girls
  • Weight gain
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Increased risk of premature death

Just like everything else, high levels of sugar can lead to numerous issues with our bodies and minds. If you think that sugar substitutes are better for you, you may want to do some more research. Chemically manufactured artificial anything does not have a high record for being good for you. Consult with a health professional before drastically changing your diet.

What is good for us to drink?

In my opinion, water will always be the best drink for our bodies and minds. Instead of sugar drinks there are other options you can add to water. Adding lemon to water is low in sugar and calories but adds nutrients to the water. These nutrients include antioxidants that can help with protecting from cell damage and the vitamin C can help the immune system. Some people add mint to water that can help with seasonal allergies, indigestion, gas, and symptoms of the common cold. Cucumber water can be good for weight loss, hydration, and lower blood pressure.

Conclusion

I enjoy drinking Vitamin waters sometimes, but they can contain high amounts of sugar. Apparently, I am in the 10% of adults that don’t drink coffee, but I have enjoyed an energy drink. Normally I just drink lemon or lime water in a water bottle I keep in the refrigerator. My husband on the other hand loves his caffeine and coffee. Doing this research has given me the information I needed to try to get him, and I, to cut back on caffeine and sugar drinks. Three to four energy drinks in a day is way too much for one person. Just as we’ve learned with some of our foods, sugar and caffeine should be consumed in moderation to help avoid health problems. If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below.

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Sources include: WebMD, Harvard.edu, healthline.com, verywellmind.com, medicalnewstoday.com

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