Just about every natural healthcare professional will recommend for their patients to drink plenty of purified water when following a natural thyroid treatment protocol. Although I grew up drinking plenty of soda, pasteurized cow’s milk, and fruit punch, I have no problem drinking water most of the time. But some people have a difficult time just drinking water, and so one of the common questions I get asked by my patients is whether or not they can drink anything else besides water. So I’ve decided to list some of the different beverages which are okay for many people (although not everyone) to drink. And I of course still would recommend to primarily drink water.
Just out of curiosity I went to Google and performed a search for the “healthiest drinks”, and came across an article entitled “The 8 Healthiest Drinks”. This is what it listed:
1. Green Tea
2. Mint Tea
3. Skim Milk
4. Soy Milk
5. Hot Chocolate
6. V8 Tomato Juice
7. Cranberry Juice
8. Orange Juice
While some of these are indeed healthy to drink (i.e. Green Tea), others you want to be cautious about drinking (i.e. soy milk). In any case, let’s take a look at some beverages that in most cases are fine to drink. Keep in mind that I’m not suggesting that every single person can drink all of the beverages I’ve listed below, and also remember that water still should be the main liquid you consume each day.
Green Tea. Green tea has antioxidants called catechins, and so drinking this can potentially help with free radicals. Many people are aware that these free radicals can cause damage and potentially lead to conditions such as cancer and heart disease, as well as other health issues. And studies have shown that drinking green tea can help to prevent cancer (1), and can also be beneficial against type II diabetes and could reduce the risk of coronary disease (2). One thing to be aware of is that green tea (as well as black tea) does contain a small amount of fluoride (3), and so while green tea has a lot of health benefits, I would still minimize your consumption of this beverage, or drink green tea that is fluoride-free.
Herbal Teas. Drinking herbal teas can be beneficial. Some examples of herbal teas include chamomile tea, which is a calming tea that can help people relax, and can also help with insomnia. Ginger tea can help with digestion, milk thistle tea can help with liver detoxification. And some of my patients with hyperthyroidism take lemon balm tea, which can potentially help to decrease the production of thyroid hormone. These are some of the more common herbal teas, but there are many more to choose from.
Coconut Milk. This can be beneficial to drink, although it probably is a good idea to make your own coconut milk. While you can find this beverage pre-made at your local health food store, there most likely will be some additives. An example is carrageenan, which is used as a thickener and emulsifier. Although one study demonstrated that carrageenan is a safe additive (4), another study showed that it has carcinogenic properties in mice (5), while another study suggested that carrageenan may contribute to the development of diabetes (6). This is controversial, but at the very least I would minimize your consumption of products which include this ingredient.
Almond Milk. This also can be okay to drink in moderation. Just as is the case with coconut milk, if you purchase almond milk then there’s a good chance it will have carrageenan, and so you can also make your own almond milk. Some brands of organic almond milk are free of carrageenan. Someone who has gut issues will want minimize their consumption of almond milk, as almonds are healthy but just like most other nuts are difficult to digest.
Kombucha tea. This is a fermented drink, and so drinking this can be beneficial for the gut. As a result, someone who is following a gut repair protocol usually can drink this beverage without a problem, and many times they can benefit from the good bacteria in this beverage. This is something else you can make on your own too, although you’ll need to get live kombucha culture. One study I came across shows that Kombucha tea has potent antioxidant and immunomodulating properties (7). Another study demonstrated that Kombucha tea can be considered as a potential strong candidate for future application as a functional supplement for the treatment and prevention of diabetes (8). However, I did come across one study where someone developed lactic acidosis and acute renal failure within 15 hours of Kombucha tea ingestion (9).
Raw Milk. Although you should try to avoid drinking pasteurized cow’s milk (yes, even if it’s organic), many people do fine drinking raw milk, which also has some health benefits. The problem is that not every state sells raw milk. For example, I live in North Carolina, where raw milk can’t be legally sold. However, I’m close to the border of South Carolina, which does allow the sale of raw dairy products. Even though raw milk is much healthier than pasteurized milk, if I recommend for someone to go dairy free I will still advise them to avoid raw dairy products as well.
Juicing. Rather than list fruit juice or vegetable juice, I figured I’d just put this under the category of juicing. One of the main problems with purchasing commercial juices is the high sugar content. Of course in order to create your own fruit and vegetable juice you’ll need a good quality juicer. But juicing has many health benefits.
Smoothies. I’ve always preferred smoothies over juicing, but both have health benefits. I always start my day with a smoothie consisting of a couple of cups of purified water, 3/4 cup of organic berries, about a plateful of organic vegetables, and I also add some whole food powder. If you want some more smoothie ideas check out the blog post I created called “What’s Your Favorite Smoothie Recipe?”
In summary, while water should be the primary beverage you drink, I realize some people want some variety. So if you’re not satisfied with just drinking water then perhaps you can choose one or two of the beverages I listed and include them as part of your daily routine. As I mentioned in this post, with some of these beverages it is a good idea to make them on your own, rather than purchase them. The downside of doing this is that it takes more time, and you will usually need to consume them quicker due to the lack of preservatives. But the benefit is that you will know exactly what you’re adding to them, and so you don’t need to be concerned about carrageenan and other additives which might have a negative impact on your health.