May 25, 2024


Cooking Is My World

Switch Up Your Hot Drinks This Winter

If you’re having trouble letting go of those massive sodas and juice bottle drinks, the winter season can help you. The incentive is already there, with a typical can of soda delivering nearly 40 grams of sugar. That’s 10 teaspoons of sugar in just one small can. On truly hot days, your thirst might drive you to go for the super-sized 44-ounce Big Gulp soda. With that one drink, you down 128 grams, or a whopping 32 teaspoons of sugar!

If that’s not bad enough, the sugar used in these drinks is high in fructose, which is highly available to your digestive system. This amount of sugar will cause massive insulin spikes and add on the pounds of fat as fast as you can drink it. The knock-on effect of this leads to glucose resistance, diabetes, inflammation and more. Yes, the incentive is there all right.

The obvious healthy alternative to sugar-laden drink for staying hydrated is simply to drink pure water. When the weather is cold, a hot beverage seems preferable and, if you choose correctly, may provide health benefits you did not anticipate. A warm mug warms the hands and the hot drink warms your whole body with each sip.

Surprisingly, a nice cup of tea may do more than warm you up. Drinking green or black tea consistently over a period of at least three months can lower blood your pressure. This benefits your cardiovascular system and helps to keep your heart healthy.

Lowered blood pressure is just the beginning for these highly beneficial brews. Black tea is rich in antioxidants that are believed to lower the risk of ovarian cancer, and green tea can lower the risk of pancreatic cancer. Indeed, the antioxidants in tea are shown to reduced risks of heart disease, cancer and health problems affecting both men and women. The polyphenols (antioxidants) in green tea are also known to help regulate blood sugar, making tea a helpful agent in fighting diabetes.

Tea is not the only healthy option. Brewed coffee also supplies antioxidants that provide anti-inflammatory properties and other benefits. Some of the antioxidants in coffee also help to regulate blood sugar and can therefore help to lower the risk of diabetes. The only side effects of drinking coffee or tea might be the buzz from too much caffeine after several cups and the diuretic effect of coffee driving you to empty your bladder. Supplement your tea and coffee intake with an occasional glass of water to stay well hydrated.

Whether you choose tea, coffee or both, don’t ruin the benefits by dumping loads of sugar into each cup. That will only counteract the benefits and put you back where you began. Try to avoid the bottle tea products available on many store shelves. Many of these bottled tea and coffee products are loaded with sugar and other chemicals. More importantly, they may not deliver the same intense antioxidant benefit. The American Chemical Society suggests that you may have to consume twenty bottles of store-bought tea to get the same benefit as one cup of brewed tea. Brew up a hearty beverage this winter to get your diet on track for better health.