9 Homemade Drinks for Health and WellnessArticle posted in: Nutrition
As you scroll through Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook, you’ve probably seen DIY smoothies for everything from better hair and skin to hangover recovery. Some also come with outrageous weight loss claims and tout the ability to help you lose 10 pounds in three days. Here at South Beach Diet, our ultimate goal—100 percent of the time—is to promote health and wellness. While some juices and smoothies are real winners, others (like that last example) are definitely not healthy. That’s why we developed nine wholesome drinks that contain ingredients with science-backed benefits. All you need is a blender (or juicer) to create these beautiful beverages filled with nutrition.
Tasty Additions: Pump up the flavor in any of these drinks with some low carb additions. Check out the list below for some delicious ways to spice up these homemade drinks:
- Sweeten up your sips with a zero-calorie sweetener like stevia, monk fruit or erythritol.
- Add lemon, lime or another citrus juice.
- Throw in extra greens or flavorful herbs.
- Add a sprinkle of ground Ceylon cinnamon, ginger, turmeric or other spices.
- Make your smoothie a slushie with extra ice.
- Add creaminess with a scoop of nut butter, yogurt or coconut milk.
Keep in mind that certain ingredients are unable to be juiced (dairy products, nut butters, oils, powders, avocados, oats, etc.). Therefore, some of these drinks are best enjoyed as smoothies. If you’d like to make a juice, make sure to read your juicers instructions to find out what you can put in it. Be sure to also remove peels and seeds before juicing. If you don’t have a juicer, you can use a blender and a fine strainer to remove extra fiber. Feel free to adjust the quantities of each ingredient to your taste buds. Refer to the Grocery Guide to find out how to count your drinks.
Please note that on the South Beach Diet, we recommend limiting fruit on our low-carb plan due to the amount of carbohydrates and sugar. Your daily net carbs are limited to 50 grams per day. If you’d like to add a small amount of fruit to your drinks, be conscious of your carb and sugar intake to stay within your net carb limit. According to Healthline, berries tend to be relatively low in sugar. Count berries toward your allowed Extras for the day. Use our Grocery Guide for recommended serving sizes and check out the link below to learn more about juicing on the South Beach Diet:
Here are nine homemade drinks to keep you healthy:
1. Electrolyte Boost
Ingredients: Spinach, Peanut Butter & Greek Yogurt
Electrolytes are essential minerals in the body that have an electric charge, explains Healthline. Examples include sodium, calcium, magnesium and potassium. They are used in many bodily functions, such as the nervous system, muscle contraction, hydration and pH balance. According to Medical News Today, leafy greens are rich in potassium, dairy products contain calcium and peanut butter provides you with magnesium and sometimes sodium. To replenish your electrolytes, mix up a creamy green smoothie with spinach, peanut butter and full-fat Greek yogurt.
2. Think You Need a Cleanse?
Ingredients: Cauliflower, Spinach, Avocado & Strawberries
You really don’t—your liver and kidneys have that covered if you eat a balanced diet! However, there’s nothing wrong with loading up on fiber in some healthy drinks. Fiber absorbs water and expands as it passes through the digestive system. From calming irritable bowel to promoting regularity, fiber decreases pressure in the intestinal tract, preventing little things like bloating and big things like diverticulitis, says Harvard Health. Don’t forget that fiber also keeps you full and satisfied. Try a fiber-packed smoothie with cauliflower, spinach, avocado and strawberries. If desired, sweeten with stevia or erythritol.
3. Drink to Your Eye Health
Ingredients: Kale, Orange Juice & Carrots
Vegetables rich in lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin A have been shown to promote general eye health and also prevent cataracts and macular degeneration. “Lutein is the dominant component in the peripheral retina,” says the American Macular Degeneration Foundation. According to the British Journal of Ophthalmology, dark leafy greens like kale are loaded with lutein. Unsweetened orange juice contains lutein and zeaxanthin and can tone down the bitterness of kale. Combine those ingredients with some fresh carrots for high amounts of lutein and beta-carotene (a precursor to vitamin A), says Healthline. This combination can be made into either a smoothie or a juice for a naturally sweet sip that’s easy on the eyes.
4. Time for a Detox
Ingredients: Olive Oil, Tomatoes, Cucumber, Basil, Arugula & Tomato Juice
Alcohol, refined carbohydrates, sugar and high-fructose corn syrup can all cause inflammation, says Healthline. While some fruits like strawberries, blueberries, cherries and oranges can help reduce inflammation and the diseases they cause, there are lots of lower carb veggies that can also do the trick, says Harvard Health Publishing. Try blending up this savory smoothie that’s reminiscent of chilled gazpacho. Combine olive oil, tomatoes, cucumber, basil, arugula and tomato juice for a zesty drink filled with inflammation-fighting ingredients.
5. Go, Immune System, Go!
Ingredients: Ginger, Kefir & Blueberries
Most of the foods touted to bolster immune system health have also been shown to prevent inflammation. So, if our last savory smoothie isn’t your thing, try one with ginger, kefir and blueberries. In addition to its legendary tummy-soothing claims, ginger may also protect us from sickness due to an anti-inflammatory compound called gingerol. According to the peer-reviewed journal, Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, gingerol seems to be especially helpful for people with arthritis. When shopping for your ginger, make sure to choose fresh ginger root. In a 2013 study, published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, researchers studied the effects of fresh and dried ginger on a respiratory virus in human cells. They found that fresh ginger staved off the bug but dried ginger did not.
Kefir, a fermented probiotic-rich drink, is typically able to be tolerated by people with lactose intolerance. According to ScienceDaily, research from Ohio State University shows, “drinking fermented milk either eliminated or drastically reduced symptoms related to lactose intolerance.” They further explain that specific microbes found in kefir may contain the enzyme needed to digest lactose. Numerous studies have also found that kefir has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, increases antioxidant activity and has healing effects, says Nutrition Research Reviews.
Blueberries contain a powerful flavonoid called anthocyanin. Research published in Advances in Nutrition, found that flavonoid supplementation decreased upper respiratory infection incidence by 33 percent and also decreased the duration and symptoms. Blend together a creamy kefir, blueberry and ginger smoothie that’s delicious and satisfying.
6. Mood Booster
Ingredients: Oats, Cacao Powder, Spinach & Almond Butter
This creamy, chocolate beverage contains ingredients that have been shown to help boost mood. According to Mayo Clinic, insufficient iron in the diet can lead to anemia, which imparts symptoms similar to depression. Enter: iron-rich oats. A 2014 study, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, shows cocoa flavanols can help boost mood and sustain clear thinking during periods of intense studying or concentration. Enter: unsweetened cacao powder. Without a diet rich in folate (especially if you’re older), you’re more likely to feel depressed and less likely to respond to antidepressant treatments, says the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Enter: spinach. According to Psychology Today, nuts are a great source of mood-boosting vitamin E. Enter: almond butter. Make a healthy “milkshake” with these ingredients by adding some sugar-free chocolate chips, a sprinkle of cinnamon and some ice.
7. Sleepy Time
Ingredients: Almond Milk, Banana & Oats
On top of heart-healthy fat and lean protein that helps keeps hunger at bay all through the night, almonds contain a sleep-regulating hormone called melatonin, says Healthline. They also contain magnesium, which is thought to reduce inflammation and reduce stress hormones like cortisol that prevent good sleep. Mix almond milk with half of a magnesium and tryptophan-rich frozen banana. Add a handful of oats and you’re adding more melatonin and satisfying fiber. Looking for some extra creaminess in your drinks? Throw in a scoop of almond butter.
8. Flat Tummy
Ingredients: Cucumber, Lemon & Jicama
According to Health magazine, cucumbers contain flavonoid antioxidant quercetin, which naturally reduces swelling and bloating. A squeeze of lemon will add some brightness. Lemon is a “natural diuretic” and may help relive bloating, says Silver Sneakers.
Never heard of jicama? One taste of this sweet veggie and it will quickly become your new favorite low-carb snack. Freshly sliced jicama is the perfect crunchy, low carb dipper. However, we use it for sweetness and its nutritional powers in this refreshing juice. Medical News Today explains that jicama is rich in prebiotic fiber that promotes healthy digestion and may aid in weight loss. Feel free to throw some fresh mint into this refreshing combo.
9. Happy Heart
Ingredients: Beets, Grapefruit, Raspberries & Turmeric
Add this beautiful red juice to your lineup of healthy drinks! It contains nutritious ingredients that have been shown to promote cardiovascular health. According to Healthline, research shows that beets may help to decrease blood pressure and improve exercise performance by optimizing the use of oxygen. The bittersweet citrus fruit, grapefruit, has also been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease by “regulating blood pressure and cholesterol levels,” says Healthline.
Throw in a handful of raspberries and a small piece of turmeric root for extra antioxidants. Healthline explains that antioxidants fight off free radicals and protect your cells from damage that leads to chronic diseases like heart disease. Curcumin, the main active component in turmeric, has its own benefits for a happy heart. “Perhaps the main benefit of curcumin when it comes to heart disease is improving the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of your blood vessels,” says Healthline.