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Summer is here and with it, a chance to explore refreshing new drinks for your health. The days are long and hot, but fresh fruits and vegetables are in copious supply. The opportunities for ice-cold beverages are endless. So, rather than reaching for a can of soda, try out some of the health-promoting drinks below.
- Infused Water
Infused water is cold water that has fruits, vegetables, or herbs immersed in it. Infused water has more flavor than plain water and almost no sugar at all. Although you can invest in a special pitcher to make infused water, that’s not necessary. All you need to do is slice up some produce and toss it into a pitcher of water.
Proponents of infused water will claim that it improves your mood, flushes toxins from your body, helps you recover better from exercise, and promotes weight loss. That may be true, but it may be that you can get the same benefits from drinking plain water. Infused water is more interesting than plain water and might encourage you to drink larger quantities.
- Seltzer Spritzers
Seltzer spritzers are sparkling water mixed with fruits, vegetables, herbs, or juices. They can be made with or without sweeteners. Sometimes called mocktails, these refreshing summer drinks offer a healthy and hydrating alternative to the alcoholic beverages they resemble.
Some people worry that carbonated water is acidic or might corrode their tooth enamel. However, there’s research to support that fizzy water may offer benefits for overall health—such as easing digestion and relieving constipation. Sparkling water might make you feel fuller and certainly promotes hydration.
- Herbal Iced Tea
Herbal iced tea is water infused with herbs. There’s no wrong way to make herbal iced tea. You can use cold-brew tea bags or loose-leaf tea, set the tea out in the sun, or brew hot tea and allow it to cool.
Herbal iced tea offers the benefit of hydration along with the health benefits of any of the infused herbs. Mint eases digestion, lemon supports the liver, and ginger calms the stomach.
- Healthy Sports Drinks
Sports drinks are a combination of water, salt, and sugar. The sugar can be in the form of maple syrup, honey, raw sugar, or fruit juice. You can use coconut water for an additional electrolyte boost.
Sports drinks are designed to replace electrolytes that are lost while sweating. They also optimize hydration. Most commercial sports drinks are laden with high-fructose corn syrup or sugar, but you can make your own healthy versions at home.
- Iced Matcha Tea
Matcha is a finely ground powder of green tea leaves. When you drink matcha, you’re drinking the entire tea leaves. Instead of brewing the tea, the powder is whisked into a frothy liquid.
Matcha offers many health benefits. It is high in antioxidants and may support liver, brain, and heart function. Matcha does contain caffeine, so it may not be best for children or for anyone sensitive to caffeine.
- Coconut Water Coolers
Coconut water coolers are a mixture of coconut water and fruit juices. They are a delicious way to mix up your beverages for the summer.
Coconut water is a good source of vitamin C and several minerals, including potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calcium. It replenishes electrolytes and supports hydration.
- Healthy Slushies
If you have fond memories of buying slushies at the corner store, maybe you should try making your own healthy version at home.
Making a slushy is as simple as blending about 2 cups of fresh fruit with 1 cup of ice and ¼ cup of sparkling water. Throw these ingredients into a blender and mix on high until you have a smooth and icy consistency.
There’s no time like summer to enjoy refreshing fruit and vegetable-inspired drinks.
For more healthy summer recipes download NTI’s free Summer Recipes ebook!
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About the Author: Sarah Cook, ND, is an instructor at the Nutrition Therapy Institute. She is also the owner of ND Pen, providing branding, copywriting, and website design services for integrative healthcare practitioners. Connect with Sarah at www.ndpen.com.
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