Bright, sunny days and a sharp increase in temperature bring about a whole new need to stay cool, calm and collected during the summer. Even on the hottest days, dehydration is no joke. If you get a sudden urge to quench your thirst, or you feel achy, tired, dizzy or confused, chances are you could use a nice cold glass of water.
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Not only is water lifesaving, but it also has other benefits like increasing your blood pressure. For older generations, this is particularly helpful as we tend to lose water content in our bodies as we age and become dehydrated more quickly.
But what if you’re bored with water? Even after you’ve added lemons and limes to the mix, you might want to occasionally shake up your concoctions with the help of other fresh fruits, veggies or herbs or by looking to sparkling water instead. You can also chill out with homemade fresh fruit slushies or perk up your favorite iced teas, too — without added sugar or preservatives.
Not sure where to start on the creative front? Registered dietitian Julia Zumpano, RD, LD, shares some fun recipes to cool you off when just plain old water isn’t cutting it.
Mint leaves are chock full of antioxidants and can help with an upset stomach. Add one to three sprigs of mint to your sparkling water, and you’ve got one heck of a hydrating digestive aid that cools you off and keeps you coming back for more.
When we think of basil, we probably think of a fresh green salad or pesto on pasta or pizza. But did you know it’s a great additive for sparkling water, too? Basil has anti-inflammatory properties — plus two tablespoons of chopped basil leaves supplies around 22% of your daily recommended dose of vitamin K. Add one to three basil leaves with two to four sliced strawberries and you’ve got one delicious twist on a cold drink.
Sure, you’ve heard about adding lemon to your water, but what if you paired it with ginger, too? The spice carries some kick but it also has a number of other health benefits that provide pain relief, improve blood sugar regulation, reduce nausea and more. Keep in mind that a little ginger goes a long way. You’ll just want to grate or slice a tiny piece into your water and then add more to taste alongside 1/4 to 1/2 sliced lemon.
Adding just three to five slices of cucumber to your water can make all the difference — and keeping a reserve of cucumber water in the fridge can make a great addition to any summer gathering. Cucumbers contain a specific antioxidant known as lignans, which has health benefits that lower the risk of heart disease, menopausal symptoms, osteoporosis and even breast cancer. For added benefit, leave the skin on when soaking the cucumbers in water.
Tiny but powerful, blueberries have a lot of great traits. They’re rich in antioxidants, full of vitamins and minerals and are high in soluble fiber, which can help manage your cholesterol. Adding 1/4 to 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries can also reduce your need for ice.
By now you’re probably thinking: Enough with the water already. We hear you! Blending water-packed fruits to create smoothies can also cool you down when you need it the most, while also providing other health benefits along the way. For the best smoothies, you’ll want to rely on fresh fruits. Puree 1 to 1 1/2 cups chopped watermelon, mango, kiwi or strawberries with 1 cup ice plus a few drops of water. All of these fruits are great sources of water and contain folic acid, vitamin A and fiber.
Teas come in all kinds, and there are quite a lot of them that work just as well when they’re steeped and chilled. Peppermint tea can help with an upset stomach, while a tangy hibiscus tea has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Even a good spicy chai offers similar benefits to ginger. And green teas have more antioxidants than all other teas. Garnish these drinks with mint, ginger or sliced fruit for added taste, texture and benefit and you’ve got yourself one heck of a cooldown.