It’s the time of year when colder weather drives people indoors, where a crackling fire and warm beverage can help thaw the winter chill. But beware! Some hot beverages are healthy, and others aren’t.
Beverages to Avoid
A go-to beverage on a cold day, especially if you’ve been outside in the crisp air for an extended period, is hot chocolate. Although this beverage is irresistible to many, especially chocoholics, many commercial brands of hot chocolate are loaded with sugar, unhealthy fats, artificial chemicals with names too long to pronounce, and excessive calories (and let’s not even get started on marshmallows). All these unhealthy elements can negatively affect your health and weight.
Another common beverage trap during the winter season is coffee. In addition to its high caffeine content, coffee becomes less healthy the more you put in it. Though tempting to purchase on a chilly day, seasonal beverages offered at popular coffee shops typically consist of a small amount of coffee with a large amount of sugar, dairy, syrup, artificial sweeteners/flavors (which also contain those long names you can’t pronounce), and other unhealthy fillers.
Beverages to Embrace
A hot beverage that’s been enjoyed for thousands of years is still one the healthiest…tea. Many teas are high in antioxidants and have calming effects (like chamomile). Most teas are low calorie, low in caffeine and sugar-free. Many teas are created by adding natural citrus flavors (orange, lemon, etc.), oils (peppermint), or flowers (hibiscus) to dried leaves of medicinal herbals.
Drinking a cup of warm tea can help relieve stress and lift the spirits. Its many health benefits make tea an ideal alternative to coffee. If you rely too heavily on coffee to get you through the day, gradually wean off coffee and introduce tea into your diet.
If you’re looking for an alternative to coffee and hot chocolate this winter season, here are 8 healthy and delicious teas you should try…