Healthy drinks to start the day

water

Starting the day off with your healthiest foot forward begins with breakfast—including what you drink in the morning.

Best option: Water

You can’t really go wrong with water. If you need just a little something to make it more interesting, try lemon or cucumber. Use these recipes from Community magazine for more creatively infused water.

Tea

Antioxidants+caffeine: Tea or coffee

Tea offers antioxidants and less caffeine than coffee. Keep it healthier by avoiding sugar and milk.

Learn all about the benefits of tea from a recent Community feature.

Most research regarding coffee seems to show no harm and potentially some benefit to moderate daily coffee consumption. Official recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health and leading public health research universities typically suggest children, those who are pregnant or nursing and those with cardiovascular risk including hypertension avoid caffeine.

If you do drink coffee, avoid adding sugar, artificially flavored creamers and too much milk. Harvard also recommends using filters to remove some of coffee’s cholesterol.

However, one recent recommendation from the World Health Organization suggested hot drinks might increase the risk of esophageal cancer.

Shake it up: Turmeric latte

While the jury’s still out on whether turmeric is the secret to great health we wish it would be, some evidence does suggest the spice, long a staple in Indian and other Asian cuisines, carries anti-inflammatory power. Add it with ginger, cinnamon and honey (all of which contain antioxidant properties of their own) to hot milk and you’ve got yourself a treat—one that’s certainly a step up from sugary sodas or energy drinks if nothing else.

Smoothie

Nutrient-dense option: Smoothie

For a more substantial start to your day, try a smoothie. As a more calorie-laden beverage, smoothies are best for breakfast replacements and if not consumed everyday. Made mindfully, they can be a good way to power up if you have a tiring day coming or morning exercise planned.

Keep smoothie drinks cleaner by following these tips:

What about juice?

Health experts seem to be changing their tune on juice. Where it was once touted as a good source of vitamins and hydration, doctors are now wary of its high sugar content and link to excessive calorie intake and dental issues later in life. Juice does contain vitamins and is preferable to drinks with little nutritional value such as soda. But the vitamins are best consumed along with the fibrous flesh of whole fruits.

If you are drinking juice, stick to 100 percent fruit juice. Doctors recommend no juice before age 1 and only a small glass per day after that. Recommendations are similar for vegetable juice, because of high sodium content.