5 Drinks to Sip on for a Longer Life, Say Dietitians
What you eat (and don’t eat) can add years to your life, but your drink of choice may be just as important for longevity. While there are no guarantees in life, we can all make choices to feel our best today and well into our old age. So while you’re filling your plate with foods for longevity, keep your glass half full of these health-promoting drinks for a healthier and longer life!
It’s no surprise that water tops the list. While it’s not the most exciting beverage, it’s arguably the most important. Women need approximately 11.5 cups of fluid per day while men should be drinking closer to 15.5 cups each day.
Keep in mind that anything that has water in it, including the other drinks on this list and foods with high water content, counts towards fluid intake. Water is calorie-free, sugar-free, and hydrating – making it the obvious first choice.
Staying hydrated is associated with a decreased risk of kidney stones, urinary tract infections, high blood sugar, constipation, hypertension, and other heart-related diseases, per a 2011 article in Nutrition Reviews.
If you start your day with a piping hot cup of life-giving bean juice (aka coffee), you could be adding years to your life. While too much coffee may not be a good thing for your nerves or sleep, two to three cups a day seems to be the right amount for a long and healthy life.
“A recent study of over 449,000 adults found that those who drank two to three cups of either instant, ground or decaf coffee experienced a lower risk of death overall when compared with people who don’t drink coffee,” explains Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD, owner or Sound Bites Nutrition.
When it comes to coffee, just be mindful of added sugar. A large “coffee drink” from your favorite coffee shop can have as much as 70 grams of sugar. Researchers in Sweden studied the diets of over 48,000 people and found that sugar intake of over 20% of total calories was associated with a 30% increased risk of death compared with people who had sugar intakes of 7.5% to 10% of total energy.
3. Green tea
All tea, but green tea, in particular, is rich in tea catechins and other bioactive compounds associated with several health benefits, including a lower risk of stroke, depression, heart disease, some cancers, and dementia.
Green tea does have caffeine to give you a quick boost of energy, but it also has a compound known as L-theanine, which improves focus and is associated with improved mental health in people with stress-related diseases and cognitive impairments.
While drinking green tea can give you a mood boost and help lower your risk of several diseases, it could also add years to your life. Researchers studied the tea habits of over 9,000 Chinese adults over age 80 and found that those who drank tea frequently from at least age 60 had a 10% reduction in risk of death compared to people who were infrequent tea drinkers.
4. Red wine
Too much alcohol can cut years from your life, up to an average of 29 years per a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. But, if ending your evening with a glass of red wine over dinner is how you enjoy your alcohol, you could be adding years instead.
“In the Blue Zones, the areas of the world where people live consistently over the age of 100, it’s common to drink 1 to 2 glasses of wine daily,” says Justine Chan, MHSc, RD, CDE, founder of Your Diabetes Dietitian. “Regular wine consumption is part of the Power 9, a set of evidence-based principles that the world’s centenarians believe will help you live longer.”
The key is to make 1 to 2 glasses of wine at a time just one part of your longevity lifestyle. Regularly drinking more than that at once is likely to increase the risk of earlier death, not decrease it.
5. Tart cherry juice
Getting a good night’s sleep can help you feel more focused and ready to tackle the day, but it can also lead to a longer life. Getting seven to eight hours of sleep is ideal. Researchers found that those who got less than seven hours a night had a 24% higher risk of death than those who got seven to eight hours.
Creating a relaxing bedtime routine, avoiding caffeine late in the day, and using blackout curtains are a few ways to improve your sleep. If that’s not helping, try adding a nightcap of tart cherry juice.
“Just a small amount of tart cherry juice concentrate added to your glass of water can help promote improved quality and duration of sleep,” says Sharon Puello, MA, RD, CDN, CDCES. Tart cherry juice increases melatonin, reducing sleep disruption for a better night of rest.
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