Written by: Julia Travers
Tasty cold drinks are a must when you’re spending time in the summer sun. It is very easy to become dehydrated in the summer heat, so having healthy and yummy drinks on hand is both pleasurable and important to your well-being. Here are three suggestions for refreshing and natural summer drinks, as well as some tips on their health benefits and on how to make them:
Lemonade is a well-loved summer choice for a delicious, cooling beverage. By adding cucumber to the mix, you can revitalize the traditional lemonade flavor and add a boost of additional vitamins and minerals. These include magnesium and potassium, which are great for your skin as it braves the months of hot sun. Because cucumbers have a high water content, they are naturally cooling, hydrating, and detoxifying.
To make cucumber lemonade,
- Peel and thinly slice one cucumber and then blend or process the slices into a puree.
- Strain the puree over a bowl with a fine strainer for at least 30 minutes, pressing it down with a spoon occasionally to encourage the straining process.
- Save the resulting cucumber “juice.” Make a simple syrup with turbinado sugar— because it is processed very little, experts consider turbinado sugar a healthier substitute to white sugar.
- You can use 1/4 to 3/4 cup of this sugar, depending on your sweetness preference.
- Heat the sugar with 1.5 cups of water until it begins to boil, and then remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to cool.
- After it cools, stir it up with the juice of eight to ten lemons and the liquid you’ve extracted from the cucumber in a pitcher, and you’re good to go.
- Add a few fresh rosemary or mint leaves to experience even more taste variety.
This delicious mixture can even be frozen and enjoyed as popsicle! It’s also a good idea to drink water or rinse your mouth out with water after consuming lemonade or other lemony treats, because the ascorbic acid in lemons is a bit rough on your enamel.
If you are looking for a fun but still healthy alcoholic beverage, a light cherry and orange sangria might be just the thing for you. At an afternoon picnic or a warm evening get-together, sangria can offer the perfect blend of cool uplift and warm comfort to your mood. The red wine that is traditionally used in sangria is one of the healthiest alcohol choices you can make because it contains resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant. This sangria variety also contains cherries. According to Naturopathic Doctor and author Natasha Turner of The Huffington Post, cherries contain melatonin, which can help you to sleep well. The included oranges are rich in Vitamin C and fiber and this recipe uses sparkling water instead of sweeteners to make an even healthier sangria.
To make this delicious, yet healthy, drink,
- Choose a bottle of red wine that you love (Pinot Grigio is a common choice for sangria).
- Combine it with these additional ingredients: 2 sliced oranges, 3 cups of frozen (pitted) cherries and 2 cups of cherry juice.
- Red grapes, lemons, and apples are other popular additions.
- Let your vibrant mixture cool for a few hours and serve it with ice!
Some versions of sangria with higher alcohol contents also include brandy and/or Curaçao triple sec.
Coconut and Watermelon Smoothie
Smoothies are magical because they manage to provide the childhood pleasure of Slurpies or Icees with healthy, nourishing fruit ingredients that you can feel good about. This smoothie includes watermelons, which are of course full of water and very hydrating. Watermelons also provide vitamins A, B, and C, as well as plenty of lycopene, which the National Watermelon Promotion Board tells us is a powerful antioxidant.
To make this yummy, all-natural smoothie,
- Combine seedless watermelon puree or juice, light coconut milk, lime juice, frozen watermelon slices, and honey.
- For a thicker smoothie, use pureed watermelon, or for a finer texture, juice the watermelon.
- You make watermelon juice in much the same way that the cucumber juice straining is described above—through pureeing and then straining one small to medium sized watermelon.
- Cut another small to medium watermelon into slices or cubes and put them in the freezer for several hours.
- You will also need about ½ cup of light coconut milk. The lighter variety of this milk has about 1/3 the fat of the regular variety while still offering the boost in energy and fiber associated with coconut products.
- Once the watermelon pieces are frozen, combine them with the coconut milk, a tablespoon of honey (optional), the watermelon puree or juice, and one juiced lime in a blender.
- You can also add ice cubes if you’d like a slushier smoothie.
- Some people enjoy the flavor of basil with watermelon, and if you’re a banana lover, you can throw one in the mix to boost your potassium intake.
With any of these summer refreshers, you can experiment with adding other fruits and herbs that suit your fancy, and create your own favorite healthy summer drink.
On to You!
What’s your favorite healthy, yummy summer drink? Please leave a comment.