5 healthy hot drinks to warm you up this winter

5 healthy hot drinks to warm you up this winter

When the weather outside is awful, it’s only natural to reach for a steaming cup of something delicious. The right hot drinks can hydrate you and provide bonus nutrients to support your hard-working dancer body – all while keeping you warm and delicate.

Green tea

Green tea – and to a lesser extent black tea – is rich in compounds that can reduce muscle soreness and limit oxidative stress on your cells. Try it brewed traditionally, or whip up a matcha latte. “Just do not go crazy with added sweeteners,” adds Emily Cook Harrison, registered dietitian and founder of Nutrition for Great Performances.

Herbal tea

“Herbal tea is definitely my best choice for dancers to drink in the winter,” Harrison says. A tasty, decaffeinated blended brew will hydrate you, while providing the health benefits that happen to come with your chosen ingredients. For example, studies have suggested that hibiscus tea may support the management of a healthy weight. There are also peppermint teas, as anecdotal evidence says, improve focus, and chamomile or lemon balm, which can help relax your mind.

Coffee

The athletic performance-enhancing benefits of coffee are well established by research, Harrison says. Caffeine helps you work harder by reducing how difficult an activity feels. “One to two cups of coffee a day is considered safe and appropriate as long as you do not use coffee as a substitute for food,” says Val Schonberg, a registered dietitian nutritionist specializing in sports nutrition and eating disorders.

Hot lemon water

First the bad news: Drinking boiled water with lemon juice early in the morning will probably does not deliver most of the “detoxifying” benefits that “Wellness” Instagram claims. But there is also nothing wrong with scoring some immune-boosting vitamin C while hydrating, Harrison says.

Turmeric golden milk

While Schonberg notes that research is far from conclusive, some studies suggest that curcumin in the turmeric spice in “golden lattes” has anti-inflammatory properties. That would mean less muscle soreness and faster recovery time. To enjoy a cup, whisk milk or a non-dairy substitute, turmeric and other optional spices (cinnamon, black pepper, ground ginger) together in a saucepan over medium heat until almost boiling.

Treat yourself

By the way, some more decadent hot drinks can also be part of a healthy diet.

Warm apple cider:
“For relatively few calories, a hot cider can really nourish your mind and spirit,” says Emily Cook Harrison. “In addition, it contains vitamin C to support the defenses of your immune system.”

Holiday lattes:
The smart way to approach a peppermint mocha or gingerbread latte, says Val Schonberg, is “not like coffee, but like dessert in a cup.”

Hot chocolate:
Hot cocoa can simply be a sweet treat or a useful recovery drink – it depends on how you make it. Schonberg notes that calcium, protein and vitamin D in cow’s milk or fortified soy milk are the key to dancers’ health. Harrison suggests skipping whipped cream and added sugar and replacing raw cocoa powder with maximum antioxidants.

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