DRINK healthy when you're young and busy — and enjoy it, too!

Water: the cheapest, most guilt-free way to quench thirst

Better breath, more energy and, sometimes, lower weight are among the many benefits of water, according to various health stuidies.

Replacing water with other sugary, carbonated beverages can save you 100 or 200 calories, depending on the beverage. Getting water with fast food meals or at any restaurant, really, also can help save money as well. Health-wise, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a simple recommendation for water: Drink it when you're thirsty. Forget that outdated eight-glass-a-day recommendation. Some experts have since dismissed it. Drink water with meals and whenever you feel the need.

Is coffee really that bad?

Compared to people who do not drink coffee, coffee drinkers can be less likely to have type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease and dementia, according to WebMD. Coffee drinkers also can have fewer cases of certain cancers and fewer heart rhythm problems, according to the website, which consults experts for health information.

Still, there's such a thing as too much of a good thing. Shannon Delaney, a registered dietician and a health promotion specialist at GatorWell, says caffeine consumption recommendations vary. That's because each person reacts differently to different amounts of caffeine, she says. However, Delaney, who works at the health counseling center at the University of Florida, says moderation is key.

According to the Mayo Clinic, if you consume 500-600 mg. of caffeine on a regular basis, it may be time to reduce the habit. The Mayo Clinic provides online advice from health experts. FYI, students: One grande Starbucks Pike Place Roast coffee has 330 mg. of caffeine, according to the Starbucks website.

Energy Drinks: Are they good or bad when it comes to health?

According to Delaney, there are no such things as "good" and "bad" foods and drinks. Eating and drinking well is all about the big picture.

That's why energy drinks, and coffee as well, can be OK — in moderation, Delaney says. However, energy drinks can have as much as 500 mg. of caffeine per seving, which is two or four times the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee and almost 12 times as much as is in a can of Coke.

Video credit: Melinda Carstensen


Consuming alcohol and maintaing health is possible — if consumption is in moderation

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which is listed on the Centers for Disease Control website, drinking in moderation varies depending on gender.

For women, moderate drinking means having no more than one drink per day. For men, moderate drinking means consuming no more than two drinks per day. "This definition is referring to the amount consumed on any single day and is not intended as an average over several days," the CDC website says.

As anyone who has an ocassional drink, consuming alcohol in moderation can be a great way to end a busy day. Drinking alcohol can be relaxing and a nice reward to give yourself for accomplishing something at work or getting a good grade on a test.

And, according to some health studies, certain types of alcohol — wine in particular — offer a whole host of health benefits. The antioxidants found in red wine specifically can help protect the lining of red blood cells in your heart, according to the Mayo Clinic website. These antioxidants also can help "prevent heart disease by increasing levels of 'good' cholesterol and protecting against artery damage," according to the CDC website.

Alcoholic Drinking for the Calorie-conscious

A 5-ounce glass of red wine has about 125 calories, according to multiple health-related websites.

A few tips for mixed drink lovers: Replace customary mixers like Coke and Sprite with club soda and lemon or lime juice.

A scrumptious, low-calorie drink, comparatively?: A gimlet. See how to make one with the video on this site. One ounce of the mix has only about 50 calories.

This mixer trade-off also can work with vodka-cranberry lovers, who can replace the cranberry juice with club soda and add only a splash of cranberry juice.

Other tips to trim calories off alcoholic beverages include sticking with light beers and, of course, having just one or two drinks. Binge drinking does not a healthy body make, according to the CDC.

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This website is maintained by Melinda Carstensen.