Diet and Nutrition

Balancing the Benefits of Your Favorite Beverages

As you’re reading this you may be on your second, potentially third cup of coffee, or maybe you’re sipping on some wine, to which we say, “cheers!” But just like everything in life, moderation is the best way to take your beverages.

If you’ve convinced yourself, “I read somewhere that green tea is great for you, so adding Crystal Light green tea packets to every glass of water is actually pretty good, right?” We’re here to tell you, not quite. To get all your information straight, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite beverages and the health benefits they bring, along with just how much you should drink. So before you head for a refill, read on.



With the glorification of coffee shop culture, your healthiest option of drinking a cup of coffee is having it black and then adding a slight amount of cream or sugar to suit your liking. This will ensure you receive all the health benefits coffee has to offer without falling victim to a mid-afternoon crash or weight gain that can occur from pounding Starbucks coffee concoctions.

A moderate amount of two to three cups a day of medium or dark roast, can benefit coffee drinkers with the anti-inflammatory effects from the antioxidants found in coffee, as well as the memory boost a cup of joe provides. Coffee has also been shown to decrease rates of liver, colon, breast, and rectal cancers. According to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, drinking four or more cups of coffee daily decreased the risk of endometrial cancer in women by 25 percent compared to women who only drank one cup a day. Not to mention, research also shows moderate coffee drinkers are at a lower risk for heart disease.

So if a coworker asks if anyone in the office wants a cup of coffee, don’t worry about having that second or third cup.


We’ve all heard of it before, but do you know exactly what health benefits you’re getting with wine?

According to numerous studies, wine drinkers are at lower risk for heart disease, colon cancer, cataracts and stoke, and they also live longer and have slower cognitive decline with age. Great, get us a bottle! But not so fast, these benefits are found mostly in red wine, which contains more minerals and levels of cancer-fighting resveratrol and heart healthy polyphenols than white wine varieties.

When it comes to how much you should drink, the American Heart Association defines moderate wine consumption as one to two four-ounce glasses a day, which is the ideal amount for receiving health benefits from this beverage.


 Juicing seems like all the rage lately, but you’ve got to look a little deeper in to the process. Drinking fresh pressed juice with a combination of whole fruits and vegetables is an incredible source of vitamins and minerals, but again, everything with moderation. Fruit contains sugars that are best consumed in limited amounts, and if you’re purchasing juice from a carton, make sure it’s in fact 100 percent natural juice. When done properly, juice can assist in strengthening your immune system, aiding digestion and detoxifying your liver.

In terms of how much juice to consumer per day, if varies dependent on what’s in your juice. Just keep sugar levels and caloric content in mind when choosing what juices you drink and how often. Your body still needs whole foods to function properly, so do your research before jumping on any juice cleanse wagon.


 Being from the southern region of the United States, it wasn’t until my teens that I discovered there were other varieties of tea other than “sweet,” which, for the record, has about as many health benefits of soda, more on that in a minute.

When it comes to choosing tea varieties, green, black and white teas are a healthy go-to. These teas contain flavonoids, which are antioxidants, some of which prevent cancer, heart disease, and clogged arteries, however the more processed these teas are the less flavonoids they contain, which means that Crystal Light packet isn’t doing you any good. Green tea has gotten the most “health benefits” attention since green tea has been shown to prevent mental decline, growth of certain cancers, reducing stress and boosting metabolism, however research on black tea has shown it may reduce the risk of stroke, and white tea has the highest level of anticancer properties.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, to maximize the health benefits of these teas they recommend drinking 2 to 3 cups daily.


Sorry, we couldn’t fool you on this one; there are no benefits here. Zero servings of soda a day has been shown to support a healthy weight, balanced blood sugar levels, strong bones and numerous other benefits. Drinking soda, on the other hand can only lead to weight gain, diabetes, and cancer among other things. For example, brominated vegetable oil is a common ingredient in citrus-flavored soft drinks that is used to prevent flavor separation from the drink. However BVO is also used as a flame retardant in plastics, and has been shown to cause nerve disorders in addition to memory loss. Scary stuff.

And don’t think diet sodas are any better. University of Texas Health Science Center researchers studied 475 adults for 10 years, and found that those who drank diet soda had a 70 percent increase in waist circumference over the 10-year study, compared with those who didn’t drink any soda.


Now that you might be left feeling a little parched, go refill that mug or glass with something that will benefit your body!

If none of the above sounds appealing, you can never go wrong with drinking a tall glass of water, and you can have as much as you want. The more the better!

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Elle Michels

Elle Michels

Based in Washington, D.C., Elle Michels is a contributing writer to