Heat-busting beverages that can benefit our health

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AS THE heat increases, so does the amount of liquid we consume and we don’t just drink water to quench our thirst.

There are a variety of beverages to which we turn to hydrate and enjoy throughout the day in our leisure time with family and friends, but many of us are unaware as to how the most popular summer drinks can contribute and benefit our health.

Beer, one of the most widely consumed beverages in Spain, lowers the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by increasing good cholesterol (HDL) and polyphenols, protects against neurodegenerative diseases and improves bone health because it contains silicon. It also has an anti-inflammatory and antibiotic effect thanks to hops, one of its essential components. It is highly recommended for athletes – Carolina Perez, Nutritionist at Quironsalud Hospital Torrevieja:

‘Consumption of a moderate amount of beer after intense activity regains rapid rehydration and helps prevent muscle aches. Beer for its taste, aroma and being carbonated, more so served cold, is accepted better than water in situations where thirst is not present.’

Slush is one of the most popular summer drinks, not to be confused with sorbet. The main component of slush is water, representing about 85-90 per cent of its composition meaning its calorie content is not very high, at around 60-70 calories per 100 millilitres. In its preparation, no fats are used (unlike ice creams), so slush boasts no added fat or cholesterol. However, the consumption of slush should not be abused because, although it has no fat, it has significant amounts of sugar.

‘The absence of fat and cholesterol in the composition of slush can be a positive for people with high blood cholesterol levels who want to indulge occasionally. However, it is important that consumption occurs sporadically to avoid excess sugar in the diet’ advises Dr. Honorio Martinez, a Specialist in Sports Medicine at Quironsalud Hospital Zaragoza.

Another irresistible drink is horchata, consumed in two versions, liquid and slush with the basic ingredients being water, tiger nuts and sugar. Horchata is a rich sugary energy drink with healthy fats ‘highly recommended for all ages but especially for patients with cardiovascular disease who do not suffer from being overweight’, says Dr. Carina Gimeno, nutritionist at the Obesity Unit at Quironsalud Hospital Valencia.

‘It also has a significant calcium content, much needed during periods of breastfeeding, pregnancy and growth in children’, she adds. Horchata is low in sodium and high in potassium which makes it perfect for high blood pressure patients. It aids in the recovery of diarrheal diseases due to its astringent properties and having no cholesterol, gluten or lactose, is suitable for those with intolerances.

‘However, horchata is not advisable for diabetic patients because of its high sugar content’, advises Dr. Gimeno.

Gazpacho is regarded as another of the ‘kings of summer’ as it retains all the nutritional benefits of each and every one of its ingredients without suffering any degradation by heat that is caused by cooking. ‘Vitamin C in the peppers and the tomatoes, vitamin E in the tomatoes and the extra virgin olive oil, antioxidants such as lycopene from the tomatoes, vitamins for summer sun and taking care of our skin’ lists Nutritionist Carolina Perez.

Gazpacho is full of fibre, which promotes intestinal transit and promotes cleansing of our body. It also contains minerals such as phosphorus, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, potassium and sodium and is regarded as an isotonic drink because of its water content and mineral salts.

Gazpacho helps reduce blood pressure – ‘consumption of the main natural ingredients of gazpacho is linked to a reduction in blood pressure. High blood pressure is a condition that affects 25 per cent of the adult population and is the main risk factor for heart attacks and strokes’.

Quironsalud is the largest hospital group in Spain and the third largest in Europe. It is present in 13 autonomous communities and has the most advanced technology with more than 6,200 beds in the 80 centres, as well as large teams of highly specialized professionals.

Seven of Quironsalud’s hospitals are universities and they work in promoting and teaching medical and scientific research. They also run the Health Research Institute of the FJD, a unique private research centre accredited by the Ministry of Research, Development and Innovation.

Quironsalud’s healthcare service is organised into units and transversal networks to optimize the experience and clinical translation of their investigations. Currently, Quironsalud is developing more than 1,600 research projects throughout Spain, pioneering in different specialties such as cardiology, endocrinology, gynecology, neurology and oncology.

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