Most of us may have water on tap and milk chilling in the fridge, but did you know these budget-friendly bevs (and more) could do more than quench your thirst? We’ve rounded up 21 drink suggestions for every type of situation and need. From pickle juice to whiskey to cherry juice, these drinks can boost endurance, ease colds, and even help beat upset stomachs.
Fitness In A Glass
To Build Muscle: Milk
Milk can get you jacked. Bro or not, milk contains the proteins whey and casein (both have all the essential amino acids) that help build muscle.
To Lose Weight: Green Tea/Grapefruit Juice
Turn to the world’s most widely consumed beverage, green tea, which can help control weight by slightly enhancing metabolism (with four cups a day). Grapefruit juice has also been shown to have weight loss benefits, and eating half a grapefruit with each meal showed greater benefits than juice alone.
To Recover: Water/Chocolate Milk/Sports Drink
Most important after a workout: Drink water to replace water or sweat losses. Chocolate milk can also help the body recover after exercise because of its carb-to-protein ratio (four to one). Or, try making your own sports drink — with carbs, sodium, potassium, and sometimes a hint of protein — for a cheaper, more natural (less fluorescent alternative).
For a Run: Water/Tart Cherry Juice/Coconut Water
Water should be the first go-to, but longer runs (90 minutes or more) may require a sports drink like Gatorade to replace lost sodium and other electrolytes. Drinking tart cherry juice for a week before a strenuous run can minimize post-run muscle pain, too. But, it doesn't always have to take that long. Tart cherry juice can also improve muscle recovery when it's consumed immediately after a workout. Coconut water has been found to offer the same hydration and exercise endurance support as the leading sports drink, but with fewer calories.
For Muscle Cramps: Pickle Juice
If you can stomach it, pickle juice might help alleviate Charlie horses — painful muscle spasms, usually in the legs. Those same cramp-fighting properties can also help people prevent painful contractions from even occurring. Research suggests the juice may even help our muscles and brains communicate better when fatigued.
For an Upset Stomach: Ginger Ale
Sick to your stomach? Maybe drinking all that pickle juice to quell muscle cramps did you in. Even though kicking back fluids may be the last activity on the want-to-do list, stick to clear liquids — like water and ginger ale — and sports drinks to get the body some much-needed hydration. Ginger ale may also do the trick since ginger root can help treat nausea. (Pro tip: Flat soda will be easier on the stomach without that carbonation.)
For a Head Cold: Lemon and Honey Tea
Drinking fluids can generally help loosen up the gunk that makes us congested (hot tea or broth may be especially helpful). It may be best, however, to steer clear of milk and other dairy beverages when you’re all stuffed up. Some people might be more susceptible to an increase in phlegm production (ew) when loading up on dairy. A hot toddy — whiskey, lemon, and honey — may alleviate a cold (and there’s liquor, so it’s got to make us feel better, right?).
For a Cough: Honey
Honey can help treat coughs associated with upper respiratory tract infections because it coats the back of the throat and the sweetness may cause us to salivate. Drink plenty of fluids in general, because they help thin the mucus lodged in the throat and make it easier to cough up.
For a Sore Throat — Turmeric Tea
Drinking most fluids will help keep the throat moist. To sooth a sore throat, try Mark Sisson’s creamy turmeric tea. Warm almond milk (made from ground almonds and water), ginger, cayenne, and honey combine for a magical peacemaker to an unhappy throat. The turmeric helps because it can reduce inflammation in the throat.
For Mouth Sores: Coconut Milk
We don’t have to tell you to avoid spicy stuff. It’s gonna hurt. If you do have mouth sores or burns from hot food, try gargling (or drinking some) coconut milk because coconut oil can help treat fungal infections, like canker sores.
For Constipation: Aloe
If you’re backed up, try aloe drinks — aloe has laxative effects. A hefty glass of water with powdered psyllium (a plant fiber) can also help get you on the right track.
For Sleepiness: Coffee/Water/Spirulina
For a mid-day pick-me-up, sip on a mug of coffee (duh). Water can perk you up, too, and so can a drink spiked with spirulina powder (you can get it at most health food stores). The powder, derived from blue-green algae, is one of the most nutrient dense foods with a ton of vitamins and minerals that boost energy.
To Fall Asleep: Tart Cherry Juice/Warm Milk/Chamomile
Brandy used to be the go-to sedative in the medical community during the 19th century. A hot whiskey (or seven) before bed may soothe you into dreamland, but for an alcohol-free drink, try tart cherry juice. It ups melatonin levels, which help improve sleep duration and sleep quality. Chamomile can also help ease you into a deep sleep.
To Lift Spirits: Lemon Balm Tea
Lemon balm tea, herbs steeped in hot water, can chill us out when we’re peeved. Teatime, in general, has been found to reduce blood pressure.
For Digestion: Water/Herbal Tea
Drinking water while eating (and after eating) helps digest food, as does herbal tea (especially mint or peppermint). Add a sprinkle of cinnamon for an extra digestion aid.
For Spicy Food: Milk/Yogurt
The fat and protein in milk or drinkable yogurt (such as kefir) can ease the burn of spicy food (so nonfat milk or dairy products may not do the trick). The slightly acidic milk helps neutralize ingredients like capsaicin, which are basic.
For a Hangover: Water/Orange Juice/Banana Smoothie
Drinking water is key to avoid feeling like death the morning after. But, if it’s too late (we’ve all been there), whip up a banana-spinach smoothie. The two potassium rich ingredients up the electrolytes lost from boozing too hard. Since alcohol leads to a drop in blood sugar, a glass of OJ can also help bring us back to normal.
For Dehydration: Coconut Water
Coconut water can rehydrate, perhaps more than plain old water. The carb-electrolyte balance is great for hydrating, especially after exercise.
For Bad Breath: Water
This one’s easy. Since acids like coffee, and orange juice, as well as sugary beverages bring on bad breath, it may be best to follow the malodorous beverages with water to wash that stink away.
For Hunger: Milk
Drinking water between meals can stave of hunger. In comparison with a fruit drink, guzzling skim milk leads to increased satiety (a fancy word for feeling full or satisfied).
For Gas and Bloating: Water With Baking Soda
Not this kind of gas. If you’re out in public and afraid one will slip, mix a small amount of baking soda in a glass of water, and kick it back. Probiotic drinks may decrease flatulence, too. Also avoid sipping drinks through a straw. Inhaling all that air will cause, well, you know.
What are your go-to drinks for ailments or workouts? Share your tips in the comments below!
Full disclosure: Sometimes, we're lazy. So, whether it's seven ways to simplify our morning routine or how to make our time at the gym actually enjoyable, we're into it. And, to keep us on track, we've turned to Greatist, because they've got us excited about being healthy — and just trying to get a good night's sleep.