September is about bringing awareness to your eating (and drinking!) habits. As mentioned, the best place to start is by keeping a daily journal of what you are consuming including beverages. Don’t try to make any changes straight away, at first just reflect.
Your body is made up of 50-75% water, let us start with 8 fluids that have the potential to enhance your health:
You have heard this one a million times, but have you stopped to think about the quality of the water you are drinking? We know that less chemicals on and in our food is better, the same is true for our water. The water that comes through our taps contains chlorine, heavy metals (like lead, copper, mercury), pesticides, herbicides, chlorine, fluoride, VOCs, THMS and more. It is not great for our planet to drink bottled water, the best option for our planet and our bodies to to drink filtered water. Three levels of filters:
These can be applied to a jug, tap, or whole house. There are plenty of different options that reduces pesticides, herbicides, VOCs, MTBE, chlorine.
Although fluoride may be good for our teeth, it can be harmful for the rest of your body. Fluoride can only be removed by using a separate filter. First the water would go through the carbon filter, then fluoride filter.
Mineralise & Alkalise Water
Even once water has been filtered, it can still have a low pH and low mineral level. A third filter can add these to your water and bring it to a neutral pH. You can also add drops to your water to have a similar effect.
2. Sparkling (Fizzy) Water
This is created by adding carbon dioxide to still water, and when the carbon dioxide is dissolved it deposits small amounts of carbonic acid. This means fizzy water is more acidic than still water but only slightly. Studies have found that carbonic acid can indeed have a mild erosive effect on your teeth over a long time, however, you would have to drink a lot to have an impact.
Our interpretation is that non-sweetened sparkling water is a great alternative for one or two glasses a day but still water should still be your major source of hydration each day.
Check out some ways to ‘Fancy-Up’ your sparkling or still water without adding a heap of sugar.
3. Herbal Tea/ Iced Tea
Herbal teas (which when it is chilled can be called iced tea) are also hydrating and can have other good health and healing properties. Depending on the type of tea, they can also contain caffeine and oxalic acid, neither of which are great for us in large quantities. A few cups of herbal tea a day can be great for hydration and health.
Beware of cheaper herbal teas, they often have added ‘natural flavours’ which make them a lot sweeter. Good quality teas made in NZ include T2, Tleaft and my latest favourite Bestow (and there are plenty more). Better quality herbal teas generally do cost more and the extra expense is well worth it for enhancing your overall health.
4. Fermented Drinks
Fermented drinks are typically made from fruit juices, herbal infusions, soaked grains, green and black tea that have been allowed to culture or ferment for a period of time. As a result, these drinks are generally a good source of probiotics, beneficial bacteria and yeasts for your gut. Eight percent of your immune system comes from your gut, consuming fermented drinks can improve gut health which is thought to help overall health. As the sugar in these drinks is fermented it isn’t as detrimental as regular fizzy drinks. Fermented drinks should still be consumed in moderation and therefore not a significant source for hydration.
A cold fermented tea, which you make by adding a SCOBY to sweet tea. The SCOBY is a rubbery, gelatinous, odd-looking thing that floats on the surface of the tea while it ferments. Left like that, the SCOBY acts as a cosy home for all sorts of good bacterias and yeasts, and seals off the fermenting tea to protect it from any bad bacteria in the air. Crazy stuff! Kombucha is tangy, naturally fizzy and packed with helpful enzymes and antioxidants. This can very easily be made at home, ask us at Chirobalance and we can give you a SCOBY to start your own brew.
Similar to yoghurt, this fermented milk drink is tart, with a sour taste and a slight fizz. It’s made with something called kefir grains, which aren’t actually grains at all but little gelatinous beads that contain a mixture of bacteria and yeasts. To make it, soak the kefir grains in whole milk at room temperature for at least a day. The bacteria and yeast converts the natural sugars in the milk into lactic acid, turning it into the tangy milk drink, known and loved across eastern Europe and Turkey. Strain the milk and reuse the grains to make more kefir. Naturally high in protein and calcium and full of essential vitamins (including B12 and B2), kefir is stuffed with billions of gut-friendly bacteria
I bet you didn’t expect to see coffee on this list however good quality freshly ground actually has very high levels of antioxidants! It can help us be more alert and physically perform better.
In high amounts it can cause dehydration as caffeine has a diuretic effect. It can also cause digestive issues, anxiety and addiction. Many people rely on coffee to be able to function, or replace drinking water with coffee.
Our interpretation is that one or two coffees per day with freshly ground quality beans can be beneficial to overall health as long as you still drink your water! If you think you might be addicted, try cutting it out (or reducing) for a day or two each week to help break the pattern.
6. Bone Broth
Bone broth is a nutrient dense broth created from boiling various animal bones such as chicken, beef, pork, fish, goat, turkey, lamb.
A slow boil of bones (which include ligaments, and tendons) extracts collagen and gelatin into the broth. The typical western diet is deficient in collagen, gelatin, and bone marrow nutrients. Collagen and gelatin are two of the most critical proteins vital for maintaining healthy bones, and gut lining integrity. Drinking bone broth regularly (or adding it to your cooking) is a great way to load your body with essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
In our household after we have eaten meat off the bone, we keep the bones in a bag in the freezer. Once we have a whole bag, it is put in the slow cooker with water, celery, carrot, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, bay leave and importantly a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (this helps leach the nutrients out of the bones). We turn in on for 8 hours, and ideally do this three times (total 24 hours). The liquid is drained from the solid food and bones, and stored in containers in the freezer for when we need it. Some people store it in ice-cube trays to be able to have small amount regularly. Another option is buying a good quality powder like Nutra-Organics. For more on the Paleo diet or benefits of bone broth.
7. Lemon Water or Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Many people start their day with a glass of warm water, with either lemon or ACV added to it. Many restaurants serve ‘lemon water’ before a meal.
Ayurvedic medicine says the sour lemon taste helps stimulate your ‘agni’. A strong agni is said to jump-starts the digestive system, allowing you to digest food more easily and helping to prevent the buildup of toxins.
Research suggests the citric acid of the lemons or the acetic acid of the apple cider vinegar provides a cleansing antimicrobial effect.
The best way to achieve digestive and anti-microbial effect is to add the juice from a fresh lemon (can be as little as a slice or as much as half a lemon) to your glass, then 100ml of cold water, then 100ml of boiling water (adding boiling water first denatures the lemon juice. Consume this 10-30 minutes before eating. Lemon juice can be frozen in cubes for later use, this is much better than using juice out of a bottle. Alternatively add a teaspoon of ACV, this can be a little tougher taste wise and can upset some sensitive stomachs however it may be more beneficial.
8. Coconut Water
Coconut water contains various bio-active enzymes and electrolytes that aid digestion and various metabolic processes. It is loaded with potassium to balance out the sodium in our body. This thirst quencher strengthens your immune system, eliminates toxins and breaks down kidney stones. The plant hormones called cytokinin, present is in this beverage, exhibit anti-cancer and anti-ageing properties. Obviously coconuts aren’t grown locally so our coconut water is usually from bottles or cans. Be sure to read the ingredients to verify you’re getting 100% coconut water. Some bottled brands contain added sugar or flavouring agents.
This tropical liquid can be used in smoothies, chia seed pudding, vinaigrette dressing or substituted for plain water whenever you want a bit of natural sweetness. It is a fantastic choice for after exercise to restore electrolytes (in my opinion it is a much better choice than commercial sports drinks). As with all alternatives to water, they should not be the main source of hydration for the day (we aren’t designed to have 2L of coconut water a day!)
As you can see there are plenty of different beverages to keep your body hydrated, full of nutrients and avoid toxins and chemicals. With a little bit of effort you can turn most of your fluid consumption into health enhancing elixirs!
At the end of this week, reflect on your beverage consumption to see where you could make simple changes to benefit your health and longevity.
Make sure you like our facebook page (click here or search @chiropracticbalance) to get weekly updates to Spring Clean Your Eating Habits during September.