You already know that drinking water is key to your health. Downing at least six cups of water daily can minimize bloating, prevent headaches, help prevent you from getting sick and smooth the appearance of wrinkles. It may even temporarily rev your metabolism, if you drink it on the cool side (72 degrees). That's a lot of benefit from a beverage you don't even have to pay for! But H20 isn't the only sip that can safeguard your health. Coffee, which some people accuse me of being addicted to, is basically liquid gold. It may lower your risk for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, breast cancer, skin cancer, diabetes, gallstones, even oral cancer. P.S., java drinkers make half as many errors in daily life compared with decaf fans, according to a study from Cardiff University in Wales, because caffeine helps you process information quickly. It's also linked to a reduced risk for depression. Those pit stops at Starbucks aren't just perking me up—they're protecting every part of me! Not a java junkie? Read on to learn the hidden health bennies of your favorite bevy:
Orange juice guards against heart disease. Antioxidants in OJ help protect your ticker by fighting the inflammation that can cause blood vessel damage. Consider this: People who ate fast food with a glass of orange juice had fewer artery-harming free radicals in their blood afterward than those who had their burger and fries with water, a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates. Isn't that a great reason to choose juice? Just watch the sugars—one cup contains 21 grams and 122 calories.
Chamomile tea can keep you calm. People who downed chamomile extract daily for two months felt significantly less anxious, a study from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia reports. Ease into mellow mode at night with a cup of chamomile tea.
Cranberry juice may prevent gum disease and urinary tract infections. Natural compounds in the juice may ward off gum disease by preventing bacteria from adhering to the teeth below the gum line. Cranberry juice also delivers 39 percent of the daily value for vitamin C per 8 ounces, raises levels of good cholesterol and keeps your urinary tract tip-top. A berry smart sip indeed!
Chocolate milk keeps your abs flat. A glass of skim chocolate milk delivers a great combo of carbs and protein, helping you recover after a workout. Athletes who drank it post-workout had lower levels of muscle damage after four days of intense exercising than those who guzzled water or other recovery drinks, according to findings presented at the American College of Sports Medicine meeting in Seattle. That translates to less soreness and fatigue, so you can get back to the gym and those tummy-toning planks sooner. Simply stir 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder or syrup that has less than 20 g sugar into your milk and sip.
Green tea may keep your weight steady. Mice that exercised and drank green tea were 22 percent less likely to gain weight than those who only exercised or only had tea, according to a study in the International Journal of Obesity. Polyphenols in the drink may rev your metabolism and make it easier for your body to fry fat. Plus, the tea's plentiful stash of antioxidants slashes your risk for cancer and heart disease. Try it iced in summer!
Tomato juice may lower your cancer risk! The scarlet sip is loaded with vitamins and lycopene, which protect you against cancer. Try it with spices, a celery stalk and no vodka for a cocktail any time of day!
Black tea may help fend off skin cancer. The classic brew is loaded with flavonoids, antioxidants that carry anticancer perks. Research suggests that downing a cup or more of tea a day may lower risk for squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer, by 30 percent. Hot or iced, black tea is a delicious addition to your skin care regimen—and a lovely way to wake up thanks to its caffeine content—so put on the kettle each morning!