Health drinks are recommended for children and adults for various reasons. Some may use them as a meal replacement, while some may have them as an extra nutritional supplement. Various types of health drinks are taken for different purposes.
Types of Health Drinks:
Smoothies are the concentrated pulp of some of the fruits that can be blended in combination with other fruits and vegetables. However, watch out for the calories as some of the fruits contain high sugar that can be more harmful than beneficial. Blending fruits like banana with vegetables like spinach, cucumber, etc would be ideal as the calorie and sugar content get balanced. Such drinks are truly healthy as they contain a lot of vitamins and minerals and are also high in fiber content. Also, since they are not cooked, the loss of nutrition due to heat is prevented.
Fruit juices like those of orange, apple, mango, etc can be healthy when taken without added sugar. However, the juices are had after filtering out the fiber content. While filtering out, the fiber content may seem very less in quantity, but that is all the body needs for a healthy gut. Calorie counting is essential as fruits are high in sugar content by themselves. Juices add more bulk and water into the stomach satisfying the hunger only temporarily.
Isotonic drinks or sports:
Sports drinks are marketed as a way to boost performance during exercise and heavy physical activities. Instant energy drinks containing “glucose” can be only sugar with a few vitamins. A glass of water with one spoon of sugar and a pinch of salt can give the same energy after a physical workout or a serious game of tennis. A glass of energy drink taken about an hour before the game or exercise can help maintain consistent level of performance and prevent muscle cramps. However, these drinks cannot be had as substitutes for juices, milk or meals.
Meal replacement drinks:
Some protein drinks are marketed with the concept of replacing a meal a day. Such drinks are available as powder form to be mixed with water or milk to make a soup or a milkshake. These drinks may also provide up to 50% of daily requirement doses of carbohydrate, protein, iron, calcium and other vitamins.
Formulated Health drinks for children and adults:
Various products available in the market are formulated with added vitamins and minerals in malt base. These products are usually recommended to be taken by mixing with milk. The companies claim that the drinks promote growth in height and weight and promote optimum brain development. But in reality, the improved health conditions are due to the ideal amounts of nutrition that the formula provides. Health drinks are manufactured separately for adults as the nutritional requirements of adults is different from those of children, apart from the difference in the requirements for men and women. Most health drinks for adults replace the sugar content with other natural sweeteners. Therefore, while choosing a health drink for children or adults, make sure to go through the labels and table of contents.
People who are interested in muscle building are given protein supplements in the form of powders to be taken along with milk or water. These drinks can be had about an hour before a workout so that they can aid in delivery of amino acids to muscle cells and prevent strain. They must be had occasionally as a part of balanced diet. The notion “more protein means more muscles” is wrong and the labels must be checked for the protein content and other nutrition provided by the drink.
While health drinks do fulfill the nutritional requirements of the body, they have to be used only after making an informed choice.