We give you the low-down on beverages believed to help improve everything from your physical to mental health. By LYDIA KWON.
The gut is linked to our digestive health, so it’s no surprise many of us think a healthy one is limited to a working bowel system. In fact, keeping your gut in tip-top condition can contribute to a plethora of benefits, including better heart and mind health, as well as a stronger immune system.
The disadvantages of an unhealthy gut aren’t just contained within our bodies: evidence of a lacking one shows up in how we look and behave as well. Poor gut health can lead to bad skin, weight gain, and even mood swings due to imbalanced hormone levels. If you’re experiencing difficulty getting quality sleep, that could also be attributed to your gut.
Thankfully, maintaining gut health is pretty easy, as long as you take note of what you’re consuming on a daily basis. Here are some drink choices that could help improve your digestive system.
Kefir is a drink that tastes and looks similar to thin yogurt, except it bodes better for your gut than the latter. It’s made from kefir grains, a mesophilic symbiotic culture that’s jam-packed with probiotics––good bacteria in your gut that ensures everything in your body works as it should. Not only do these probiotics fight off bad bacteria in the body and boost one’s immunity, they can also help to combat diarrhoea. Good news for the lactose-intolerant: lactose-free kefir is easily available these days; but if the taste of dairy puts you off, here’s a recipe for water kefir.
It’s lactose-free, trans-fat free, gluten-free, vegetarian, and hypoallergenic. Plus, it’s found islandwide at NTUC Fairprice supermarkets.
You might have already heard of kombucha, owing to how popular it’s become over the past year or two. Kombucha is concocted from a base of black or green tea, and fermented with bacteria, yeast and sugar. The fermentation process produces acidic compounds that cause it to be naturally effervescent, allowing it to taste like a carbonated drink. It’s also often mixed with fruit, which gives it extra flavour and sweetness. The base of tea and the fermentation process is touted to produce lots of good bacteria that aid in digestion, as well as other potential health ailments like heart disease or cancer, although these have yet to be substantiated. If you’d like to try kombucha, you’d be happy to know there are many kombucha businesses within Singapore, and it’s probably on the menu of your favourite hipster cafe.
Kombynation combines its kombuchas with superfruits like ginger and superfoods like chia seeds, maximising the benefit you get from a bottle.
Kvass is a fermented effervescent drink that reminds us of kombucha––except it’s made from stale bread. Before you go wrinkling your nose at the thought of consuming bread that’s past its best-by date, read on. Immensely popular and common in Russia, the drink is concocted from dry black rye bread, sugar, fruit, and yeast cultures. After a fermentation process, the result is a sweet, fruity, and naturally fizzy drink that is surprisingly easy to drink. The type of Kvass most associated with gut health is the beet kvass, which gets its name from its addition of beetroots. Kvass on its own is great for its rich level of probiotics, but the addition of beetroot provides an extra kick of nutrients and ingredients that benefit your cardiovascular, metabolic and brain health.
Organic, gluten-free, vegan, and paleo-friendly, the Loving Foods Beet Kvass has a long shelf life of six to nine months so you can stock up for friends and family.
Tea has long been known as a blessing to mankind, with whole range of benefits that include detoxification, heart health, bone protection, and maintenance of the digestive system. Combine the wondrous effects of tea with that of ginger and lemongrass, and you get a soothing pick-me-up that calms you inside out. Do you wonder why ginger helps to reduce gas? The answer is in their compounds, which encourage stomach contractions to reduce bloating, nausea, and indigestion. Lemongrass on the other hand, can help to promote sleep and reduce anxiety while fighting free radicals.
Why choose one when you can have both? Established tea brand T2 combines the wondrous properties of both lemongrass and ginger in their finely brewed tea.
Celery wipes out toxins that have gathered in your body over time and by flushing out bad bacteria and viruses, can keep your health in mint condition when consumed regularly. One of the most extraordinary qualities of celery is its ability to stimulate stomach acid. Stomach acid is essential in breaking down food, helping you digest faster and better while protecting your stomach lining––the result is a healthy gut that will give you less health problems. Celery juice is easily accessible, fuss-free, and inexpensive, making it great even for those on a budget.
Try: Make it yourself.
If you can’t stand the taste of celery, mix things up a little by blending them with your favourite fruits for a drink that’s chock-full of vitamins.
Is water the answer to everything? We think it could be. On top of its expansive benefits, from better skin to stabilising the heartbeat, water also balances good bacteria in the gut. The general rule of thumb is to consume 3.7 litres of water daily for men, and 2.7 litres for women, although this greatly differs based on how active your day gets. Our trick? Consume enough such that you never feel dehydrated. If you’re one of those who find water too flat-tasting for your liking, try adding citrus fruits like lemon or refreshing ones like cucumber to spice things up a little.
Gut health can be easily achieved and maintained by instilling some good drinking habits. The next time you’re craving something carbonated, reach for a bottle of kvass; or swap your coffee for a warm cup of lemongrass and ginger tea. A little goes a long way—and your mental and physical health is always worth the distance.