We should all know by now the health risks associated with soda due to its highly acid forming recipe of sugar, carbonated water and additives like salt and phosphorous.

But a recent Gallup poll reveals that 48 percent of surveyed Americans  – nearly half! still drink soda on a daily basis. What’s more, among those who drank soda, the average daily intake was 2.6 glasses per day.

Here are 3 super healthy alternative to soda that still have a hint of refreshing fizz!

Kefir

Like yogurt, kefir is a probiotic food, containing lactic acid bacteria (LAB). It is famous for its longevity properties, as some of the oldest living people in the world, from Bulgaria and the northern Caucasus, use it as a staple in their diet.

Nobel Peace Prize winning scientist Dr. Metchnikoff had a theory that the lactic acid bacteria in the fermented milk were responsible for these populations’ exceptional health and longevity. He believed that there was a connection between disease and the microorganisms in the digestive tract, and believed that bacteria in the fermented milk products consumed by these populations competed with the harmful microorganisms in their digestive tract. His studies regarding the contribution of LAB to the functions of the digestive and immune systems may have laid the foundations for the field of probiotics.

Kefir contains, in addition to beneficial bacteria and yeast, contains many vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes – particularly calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, B2 and B12, and vitamins K, A and D.

Tryptophan, one of the essential amino acids abundant in kefir, is well known for its relaxing effect on the nervous system. Because kefir also has an abundance of calcium and magnesium, important for a healthy nervous system, kefir can have a particularly calming effect on the nerves.

Kefir grains are white lumps that resemble something out of horror movie rather than something you should eat. When you add them to milk or fruit juice, they cause the liquid to ferment, producing a large quantity of beneficial bacteria.

You can buy kefir grains and make your own beverage with it, or you can purchase ready-made versions of the drink. But be a wise consumer, as different brands may vary in their concentration of the beneficial bacteria.

 

Kombucha

Kombucha is a fast becoming a famous beverage among health freaks like me, and the ancient Chinese called it the ‘Immortal Health Elixir’ having used it for over 2000 years for preventing illness, boosting energy and keeping a healthy digestive system.

Kombucha is made from a tea that has been specially sweetened and fermented by a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, called a Scoby. Scoby has a strange mushroom like appearance that reproduces fast in the right conditions releasing beneficial nutrients in the process.

The Russians first began scientific research on Kombucha when they found large regions of their population who consumed Kombucha regularly seemed to be immune to chronic disease. Not much research has been done since, mainly because of lack of funding from the Big Pharma dominated research community.

However Kombucha is rich in  B-vitamins, antioxidants, and glucaric acids – it also comes in different mixtures and flavours, such as combined with ginger, orange and other well known healing teas and herbs with ingredients that have proven health benefits.

 

Lemon/Lime Drink

When I was working as a community pharmacist I asked people to do a simple swap for a week, getting people to drink lime or lemon juice with still or slightly sparkling mineral water, with a hint of honey for taste.

The results were astonishing:

This guy pretty much just changed his coca cola habit in favour of this drink and the results speak for themselves!

Shows how bad just drinking soda can be, even if the rest of your diet is ok!

To your best health,

Niraj, The Renegade Pharmacist

 

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