The summer is upon us, and with it comes sweltering heat and the need for hydration. While wonderful year-round, summer is the ideal time for infusions that naturally hydrate, ward off inflammation and boost metabolism. We need extra fluids when we sweat or are in air conditioned environments that zap moisture.
Don’t reach for iced coffee or diet soda. Even though they’ll help you feel momentarily energized and alert, these drinks will lead to crashes and dependency. Here are some healthy drink alternatives that are sure to naturally energize and refresh you during the hot summer months.
You have likely heard that starting the day drinking a full 8 ounces of water with the fresh juice of one lemon is the ideal start to any day. Lemon water is just an unbeatable way to start the day and to help stay hydrated throughout. It jump starts your metabolism, is packed with nutrients and has plenty of inflammation-fighting benefits. Lemon water can be sipped or swilled from morning until evening to quench thirst, boost digestion and even freshen breath. My favorite way to enjoy this drink is to squeeze the fresh lemon juice directly into warm water and take my morning supplements with it 30 minutes before I start my day and head out for my commute. I carry a reusable container that keeps lemon slices dancing in the water for prolonged flavor.
Spicy Root Concoctions
Ginger and turmeric are packed with cleansing and nutritious benefits and infusing herbal teas or simply fresh water with these flavorful roots will keep you cool and invigorated. Served hot (yes, hot drinks can actually cool you down!) or cold, these spices unleash a treasure trove of flavor and nutrients that lingers and can even stave off hungry moments. Simply slice up an inch of the root of your choice, pop into your travel tumbler with compartment for ingredients and even add some shards of cinnamon stick, a few cloves and allspice, then cover with cool water. Here are more infusion ideas using summer’s most naturally cooling herbs.
Fermented drink and kombucha fans are likely to embrace Switchel, a beverage created by North American colonists, that marries the health benefits of honey, ginger and apple cider vinegar. Here’s a wonderful recipe with creative variations from Wellness Mama. This drink is nature’s Gatorade, filled with nutrients to promote gut health, blood sugar stabilization and loads of other good-for-the-body benefits.
If you are looking for a drink that will boost your energy, alkalize your body and make you feel cleansed and refreshed, try a superfood powder. One of the best on the market is Enerfood Organic Green Superfood. It is a green powder that can be blended into a normal smoothie, or any non-acidic juice. It is a non-GMO and gluten-free product that gives you natural energy and other immediate health benefits such as strengthening immunity and helping with calcium absorption. Nutritionists swear by superfoods for not only boosting energy but providing the extra supplementation in our diets that most people need.
Smoothies can be wonderfully satisfying meals in a glass. If you prefer something with a sweeter flavor in smoothies, try the omega-3 packed Coconut Milk Powder, from the same brand. Looking for a superfood with more protein? Try the Biochem 100% Greens vanilla powder. It has all the benefits of a superfood, and if you are constantly active, add an extra boost of protein. Berries are a great addition as well. They’re rich in nutrients, antioxidants and phytochemicals which may help prevent (and, in some cases, reverse) the effects of aging, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and certain types of cancer.
Craving energy and a sweet drink? Try a banana milkshake. The ingredients are simple as all you need is a banana, one cup of yogurt and ice. You can even add some extra flavoring to it such as vanilla extract, or chocolate syrup, depending on your preference. The potassium in the banana will provide you with natural energy, help you recover from a workout, and replenish your electrolytes. Make this milkshake as a pick me up during the day, or use it as a healthier dessert alternative.
There are so many homemade smoothies you can make for yourself that will instantly boost your energy. The ingredients you need are most likely already in your pantry or refrigerator. Here are three distinct smoothies to fit any taste.
Kale and berry smoothie: Packed with iron, phosphorous, folate, calcium and other nutrients, Kale is a superfood which blends beautifully with sweet and savory concoctions. Combine kale with banana, pineapple, almond or coconut milk, and pineapple juice for a tropical twist on a traditional kale smoothie. A handful of berries adds more nutrients, antioxidants and phytochemicals.
Orange smoothie: To boost your energy and brighten your day, try a delicious orange smoothie. Combine one peeled orange with orange juice, low fat yogurt and ice for a healthy way to energize and cool off in the summer heat. The vitamin C in oranges is a natural hydrator and immune system supporter.
Next time you start to reach for a highly caffeinated or sugary beverage, try a healthy alternative. Whether you enjoy a light smoothie or a green alkalizing drink, there are endless possibilities for summer drinks that will cool you off, and keep you from crashing. Improving your drink choices is the first step to a healthier diet, and with a healthier diet comes natural energy, improved brain function and better digestion.