When it comes to staying healthy, what you drink can have just as much of an effect on you as what you eat.
Proper hydration is essential for all of your body functions. It comes as no surprise that drinking too little can compromise your brain function, mood, energy levels, and even the health of your skin (
Whenever you reach for your water bottle, remind yourself that proper hydration promotes optimal health, from your circulatory and digestive system to your endocrine and nervous systems.
Here are 10 of the healthiest non-carbonated beverages that you can trust to keep you hydrated.
It would feel like an oversight to skip over talking about water on this list. Water earns the top place on the list of healthiest non-carbonated beverages. Consider this obvious answer as an invitation for you to add subtle citrus or cucumber flavors to your water.
The average adult body is made up of around 47–56% water. Children may be nearly 74% water, depending on their age (2).
How much water you need to drink per day depends on various factors. Needs differ from person to person.
Generally, adults aged 19–30 should aim to have a total water intake (from drinking water and consuming food) around (2):
- 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) for men
- 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) for women
However, water requirement can vary, based on physical activity, environment, lean body mass, and dietary intake.
Research suggests that adults should have a total water intake no fewer than 7.5 cups (1.8 L) of water each day. This includes water from all sources — including other beverages and your food’s water content (
If you find plain water too boring, flavored water may offer you a tasty alternative.
You can do this at home by adding a few slices of lemon, lime, cucumber, or oranges — along with a few mint leaves. You could also drop frozen berries or a splash of your favorite juice into your glass. Don’t be afraid to experiment with a slice of lemon garnish into your reusable water bottle.
Water is essential for your health. Drink water as is, or flavor it with your choice of toppings. You’ll find water in all of the other beverages on this list, as well as in the foods you eat.
Tea — whether black, green, or white — is packed with healthy antioxidants and plant compounds that may help reduce inflammation.
If these compounds can reduce inflammation, teas may be able to protect your body from diseases (
Studies suggest that regularly drinking tea may help you lose weight and lower your blood pressure. Teas may even reduce your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer (
Herbal teas are a great caffeine-free alternative to traditional tea. Unlike black, green, or white teas — which are all sourced from the Camellia sinensis plant — herbal teas can be made from a variety of other plants.
Popular herbal options include:
Just like traditional teas, herbal teas are also linked to weight loss.
Tea may also help lower your blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). However, the number of studies remain limited, and more research on tea’s relationship with PCOS symptoms is needed (
You can drink teas warm or cold, making them particularly versatile.
To keep your overall intake of added sugars low, enjoy your tea sugar-free or just slightly sweetened.
You can drink tea and herbal infusions either warm or chilled. Teas contain plant-compounds that can offer you significant health benefits.
Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world. Like tea, you can enjoy coffee hot or iced — making it a versatile choice year round.
Coffee boasts a high caffeine content and serves as a source of (
Regular coffee consumption may reduce your risk of having a stroke or developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease (
Researchers suggest you can get the most health benefits from coffee when you drink about 3 to 4 cups of coffee — the equivalent of about 400–800 mg of caffeine — per day (
However, health authorities recommend consuming no more than 400 mg of caffeine per day. So staying on the lower end of that range may be your best bet (
Keep in mind that coffee may also be habit-forming. You may find that drinking coffee makes you feel anxious, irritable, agitated, or fidgety.
All these symptoms may also indicate caffeine withdrawal when you stop regularly drinking coffee. Too much coffee can also disrupt your sleep (
If you’re trying to limit your caffeine intake, decaf coffee or herbal alternatives made from mushrooms or chicory root may offer you interesting options for your daily hydration.
Coffee is a good source of caffeine, minerals, and B-vitamins. Drinking it regularly may provide you with an array of health benefits, but overdoing it may also come with a few downsides.
An excellent option for hydration, smoothies boast an impressive array of vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds.
Plus, you can make smoothies with virtually any combination of ingredients you have in your fridge or freezer.
However, since healthy hydration remains an important priority, you may want to include at least one serving of fresh fruit, a source of calcium in milk or plant milk, and some leafy greens.
For an extra boost of protein, fiber, and essential omega-3s, consider adding a few spoonfuls of flaxseed or chia seeds.
Smoothies are an easy way to hydrate while adding essential vitamins and minerals to your diet. Consider combining fruits with leafy greens and ingredients rich in calcium, protein, fiber, and essential omega-3s.
Vegetable juice is another nutritious non-carbonated alternative to water.
Vegetable juice is a fast way to get a few extra servings of vegetables into your day. If you find it difficult to eat enough vegetables, juice offers you some of their benefits — aside from certain nutrients and fiber.
Like fruits, vegetables lose some of their nutrients when they’re cut or juiced. That’s why freshly made vegetable juice is often a better option than store-bought versions.
Keep in mind that store-bought vegetable juice tends to contain high amounts of salt. If you prefer to buy yours instead of making it, try opting for a low-sodium variety.
Vegetable juice hydrates you while serving as a source of vegetables. Homemade versions are best. However, if store-bought versions are your only choice, make sure to pick a low-sodium variety.
A great source for hydration, coconut water is the clear liquid you find inside a coconut
You can turn to coconut water during hot days or rigorous exercise thanks to all these electrolytes.
You can also use coconut water as a base for smoothies, chia pudding, or as a substitute for tap water when you desire a hint of sweetness.
If you’re lucky enough to have access to fresh coconuts, use a sharp knife, metal skewer or screwdriver to poke a hole in the black indentations — or eyes — on the top of the fruit.
Of course, store-bought bottled coconut water will also work.
Coconut water is an electrolyte-rich alternative to plain water. It’s also a good way to add a touch of natural sweetness to your smoothies, chia puddings, or other culinary creations.
You can get your protein and calcium from a glass of milk. It provides a good dose of (
- vitamin B12
- vitamin D
You can drink milk or plant-based milk on their own — or use them as the base in a smoothie.
Fortified soy-based beverages are a nutritious alternative to cow’s milk for those who follow a plant-based diet (
It’s important to pick fortified options, as non-fortified options contain virtually no calcium or vitamins.
Milk and fortified plant-based alternatives to milk are a hydrating and nutrient-rich alternative to water. Drink them on their own, or use them for added calcium or protein in your smoothies.
You can make watermelon juice, or watermelon water, by blending the flesh of a watermelon until it’s completely liquified.
It also contains virtually no sodium — the main electrolyte you lose when sweating profusely. So if you live in a very hot climate, or if you wish to use watermelon water as a sports drink, consider adding a pinch of salt per cup (240 mL) (
Watermelon water is a simple, refreshing, and electrolyte-rich alternative to water. However, you’ll need to add a pinch of salt to it if you wish to use it as a replacement for a sports drink.
Some people consider fruit juice as unhealthy as sugary soda.
Unlike the processed sugar that’s added to sodas, fruit juice gets all its natural sugar from its fruits. Fruit juice also contains an array of vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds that soda lacks.
This may explain why processed soft drinks like soda have been linked to higher risks of type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease — while natural fruit juices don’t have this reputation (
Some research suggests that drinking small amounts of juice every day — fewer than 5 ounces (150 mL) per day — may lower your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease (
Keep in mind that this doesn’t apply to larger servings or sugar-added fruit beverages. For best results, stick to small amounts of 100% fruit juices or press your own.
Fruit juice is a hydrating, nutritious alternative to water. Still, fruit juice contains a lot of sugar, so try limiting your intake to fewer than 5 ounces (150 mL) per day.
Although you might not think of them as beverages, soups and broths can be a great way to keep your hydration levels up.
Comprised of mostly water, soups and broths also contain additional vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes.
They’re a particularly interesting option to consider during the colder months of the year. However, you may consider cold soups, like gazpacho, as a hydrating summer fare.
Vegetable broth, mushroom broth, and tomato, cauliflower, carrot, broccoli, and zucchini soups are all hydrating options.
Making your own soups and stews provides more nutrients. However, if you’re strapped for time, store-bought versions can provide a good alternative, as long as you pick a lower-sodium version.
Soups and broths are tasty alternatives to other beverages, especially during the colder months. Make your own, or warm up a low-sodium store-bought version.
For your body to function at its best, you need to drink enough fluids. Water forever reigns as your ultimate source of hydration, but you have other options.
Fruit and vegetable juices, soups, broths, (plant-based) milks, coconut water, watermelon water, and even tea or coffee are suitable and tasty alternatives to water.
For best results, pick the options you enjoy most.
Just one thing
The color of your urine is a simple way to tell if you’re drinking enough water throughout the day. If it’s the color of lemonade, you’re good to go. If it’s closer to apple juice, you may need to drink more.