Best Low-Calorie Beverages

Drinking lots of liquids is essential in your everyday diet. Considering your body is made up of 83% water, you can imagine how much liquid you need in your diet to keep that percentage as high as it needs to be. We all know the feeling of dehydration—thirsty, tired, and sluggish. By drinking enough beverages throughout the day, you’ll keep yourself alert and high in energy, and at the same time you pump low-calorie goodness into your body. Tea and coffee are both high in antioxidants, which help to reduce your risk against many diseases. Here are some recommendations from nutrition whiz Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth.

Calorie-free! And essential to life. Think about it: Your body is 83% water. Your muscles are 75% water. Your brain, for goodness’sake, is 74% water, and your bones are 22% water. You need you water for every single metabolic process in the body. Water is necessary to digest and absorb nutrients and vitamins. It carries away metabolic waste. It helps “flush” fat and toxins through the liver and kidneys. And it’s the ultimate “low calorie” food!

After water, tea is probably the most consumed beverage in the world. Not counting water, it’s also probably the healthiest. The key to the health benefits of tea can be found in a large group of protective plant-based chemicals generally known as phenolic compounds, or polyphenols. These polyphenols are powerful antioxidants, many of which have anticancer activity. Note: all four kinds of nonherbal tea—green, black, white, and oolong (red)—come from the same plant, a warm-weather evergreen know as Cannellia sinensis.

Coffee has more antioxidant activity than cocoa or tea. Two of the antioxidants responsible for coffee’s health benefits are chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid. Both are strong antioxidants, and coffee beans are one of the richest dietary sources of chlorogenic acid in the world.

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