Beverages to Limit
Just because it’s liquid, doesn’t mean it’s helpful. Every time you choose a glass of soda or a cup of coffee, for example, you are robbing your body of valuable nutrients. For example, caffeine leaches calcium from your bones. Plus, depending on the drink, you might be adding more risks to your digestive health.
Kick the Caffeine
Coffee has well-documented side effects: anxiety, insomnia, tremors, and irregular heartbeat. It can also irritate the digestive system, bladder, and prostate. Coffee consumption of more than one cup per day appears to increase the risk of hypertension. Even decaffeinated coffee has some caffeine in it. Keep your intake to no more than 300 mg of caffeine per day.
Ayurveda recommends avoiding cold drinks at meals and ice cold foods in general. Iced water, normally served at restaurants, extinguishes the digestive fire. Even juice or milk right out of the refrigerator is too cold for the digestion. Juice should be taken at room temperature and water without ice.
For most people, an occasional drink of alcohol is not harmful. However, there are few benefits, and some people with digestive health issues should avoid it entirely. Many people with GERD and IBS find that drinking even small amounts of alcohol can be irritating. Alcohol can affect the lining of the gastrointestinal tract and cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
National health guidelines call for men to have no more than two alcoholic drinks a day and women to have no more than one. One alcoholic drink is the equivalent of 4 ounces of wine, 10 ounces of a wine cooler, 12 ounces of beer, or 1¼ ounces of distilled liquor, such as whiskey, vodka, or scotch.
If you choose to drink, avoid mixed drinks with sour mixes or strong juices like tomato, orange, or grapefruit juices. They can lead to reflux. Although the potential benefits of red wine for the heart have been widely touted, most people are not aware that some grapes provide the same apparent benefits. Plus, you don’t have to take the risks involved with consuming the alcohol.
In addition, grapes are better for you. They contain the beneficial polyphenols found in wine that are linked to a preventive role for the main chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular and all inflammatory disease.
Juices provide nutrients in a form from which they are readily absorbed by the body. They are also a healthy way to get the water your body needs. Fruit juices have benefits, like vitamin C in orange juice and fiber in prune juice. However, fruit juices also tend to be high in sugar. If you can adapt to the somewhat stronger flavors, vegetable juices are better for you and much lower in sugar. If you drink juice, buy organic, because the same pesticides found in grapes and apples don’t go anywhere when made into fruit juice.