When I was a child, I resented drinking water and tea. I associated tea with sickness, as my mom forced me to drink tea whenever I had a cold, cough or stomach bug. As for water – it simply was the most boring thing to drink on earth, at least for me! I was literally addicted to orange lemonade; the bubblier, the better.
Fast-forward twenty-something years, today tea and water is all I drink. I have banned all lemonades, sodas and conventional juices from my diet and I barely ever drink milk. However, until last year I still enjoyed a glass of apple juice with sparkling water during meals, especially my parents’ homemade apple juice from homegrown organic apples. Until I realized that I was addicted to even that bit of sugar, which in fact, is not “a bit”…
While it’s not breaking news anymore that sodas and sweet drinks with added sugar and preservatives aren’t healthy, the notion that fruit juices are healthy still persists.
Fruit juices with no added sugar or other ingredients have a naturally high amount of sugar (around 100 grams per 1000 ml). However, the process of heating fresh juice destroys a remarkable amount of its vitamins and nutrients. Most fibers and enzymes get lost through the process of pressing and heating, which is why eating a piece of fruit is not the same as drinking the equivalent amount in the form of juice. When it comes to calories, apple juice is no better than regular soda – a single glass contains up to 90 calories.
It’s a little different with fresh juices. While you do lose some fiber by juicing the fruits, there are still plenty of vitamins in the juice, which makes them definitely a better option than conventional juices from supermarket shelves. But even fresh juices contain a lot of fructose, the natural sugar in fruits. If we don’t drink five glasses of freshly squeezed juice every single day, then the amount of fructose is well digestible. But people do drink a couple of glasses of regular juice from the supermarket during the day, which means they consume more sugar and less vitamins – just through a couple of drinks.
The exception are freshly pressed lemons or limes – for a couple of reasons. For one, the quantity of the fruit content is much lower, compared to apples or oranges for example, since the flavor is significantly stronger. You need about three to four apples for a glass of apple juice, but only half a lime mixed with water for a glass of lime juice. The quantity of the fruit content is much less with citrus fruits, since their flavor is so much stronger, compared to apple juice for example. Given their low sugar amount and high alkaline benefits, squeezing citrus fruits is a great and healthy alternative to other fruits.
But how about the “light” versions? People are often blindsided by diet drinks, as they think they are saving calories. However, most light drinks contain artificial sweeteners, like aspartame, which is not only harmful and known to trigger cancer, but also very likely to boost your appetite. Eventually, diet drinks also contain various chemical additives and artificial flavors that have little to do with the original fruit or flavor you wanted to taste.
Imagine you would substitute your daily glass of juice with plain water. What would happen to your body? To your brain? To your skin? Let me share some of the most vital and probably some surprising facts on how drinking water positively affects your overall health:
- Hydration. Nothing hydrates your body better than pure water. Hydration is needed for all functions of the body to work properly and to transport nutrients throughout your cells.
- Improved kidney function. Your kidneys need water to flush out toxins and renew your blood circulation. Help them to do a better and cleaner job with more water.
- Weight control. I’ve mentioned it before, but remember that most drinks, other than water, always contain unnecessary calories. Don’t let yourself be fooled by fancy water bottles with flavors – they almost always contain sugar or other harmful sweeteners.
- Digestion. Who hasn’t had some sort of digestive issues one time or another? Water flushes our intestines and helps to digest our food better, thereby preventing flatulence and constipation.
- Fatigue prevention. Ever wondered why you are so tired in the afternoons? It might be what you eat, but it might also be what you drink. Given that our brain consists of 90% (!) water, we need plenty of it to think and concentrate. If we get enough water, it is likely that we won’t get too tired throughout the day.
- Clearer skin. Yes, we’ve all heard the stories of how some people’s skin looks brighter, clearer, healthier and younger when they drink more water. No wonder – water is the perfect moisturizer and makes our skin silk and smooth, while at the same time reducing the risk of wrinkles and pimples.
- More energy. Our body consists of 70% water, which is a lot. By filling up on this wonderful liquid, we help our body functions to work properly in every single aspect.
There are many reasons why we should always aim for a glass of water instead of coke, juice, ice tea and the likes.
Before I started drinking more water myself, I was literally addicted to sweet drinks – which is only natural, since we know that sugar is a highly addictive substance. I always felt there was something missing when I drank pure water. It took me a while to change my habits but now I am fastidious about drinking water and avoiding sugary drinks.
I know that it’s not an easy transition to make but for me it has been a life changer to quit drinking juices and sodas and fill up on water exclusively. I feel so much better, lighter and more energetic without missing anything whatsoever. In my view, there is absolutely no need to get calories from liquids. And despite sounding a bit lame to fancy water, there are still many ways to jazz up your water by adding some fresh lemon or herbs like mint, basil or thyme. It adds zero calories, but all the more freshness and taste. Have your water still or bubbly, hot or cold, just the way you like it and experience how your body feels better day by day. Happy drinking 🙂