Let's be honest, a nice cold glass of water really hits the spot sometimes, but it gets old. Water is the perfect drink, health-wise, but in terms of flavor it can really leave people wanting. That's why we often forgo water for acidic drinks like cola and easy-to-make powdery lemonade that, while refreshing at the time, always leaves an awful after taste in your mouth and a guilty feeling lingering in your mind.
But never fear!
While nothing can be healthier than water, during the hot days this summer, you can always give some of these not quite as healthy, but better tasting, drinks a try.
This definitely doesn't mean you should go out and buy some Brisk or any of those many iced tea powders. For real iced tea, it not only tastes better, but it is better for you to just make your own. When you have more control of what is going into your iced tea, it can be as healthy and flavorful as you want it to be.
Boil about three tea bags in a gallon of water, let cool, and begin adding in ingredients. While less sugar is best, unsweetened iced tea can be a bit tasking on the palate. Try using less sugar and instead adding fresh fruit like peaches, strawberries, or raspberries that will impart their own flavor and natural sweetness. It cuts down on the need for white sugar without sacrificing that sweet taste, particularly when it comes to a nice ripe peach.
Barley tea has been the drink of choice in Japan to keep cool during those hot summer days. Created by boiling water with whole roasted barley to produce a rich, earthy, and roasty flavored tea that is good with or without sugar added. However, the taste isn't for everyone. Yet, for those that find it to their liking, they can reap health benefits that include antioxidant, anticoagulative, and antibacterial properties that help aid in digestion.
For a boost in flavor, consider adding fresh peach juice or raspberries to the mix.
Cold Brew Matcha
Another prized summer drink from Japan is matcha. Typically, matcha is served hot during Japanese tea ceremony and at home, but this variation of green tea is quickly taking the world by storm. Made from whole green tea leaves that are powdered and mixed into water, opposed to steeping like regular tea, matcha drinkers are actually drinking the leaves and getting more of their health benefits. Not only is matcha a more powerful antioxidant than regular green tea, it has less caffeine than coffee, but the caffeine is actually longer-lasting thanks to the L-theanine amino acid that creates more of a timed release effect.
As matcha doesn't need to steep, if properly mixed, it can be enjoyed cold. The earthy flavours and subtle natural sweetness combined with ice cold water make matcha the ultimately refreshing drink on a hot day.
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Miss the bubbly love of a good soda? Ginger ale can help. A can of ginger ale is probably the best canned soda you can buy, but it is still not great. Again, ginger ale is another drink that you can easily make at home by adding grated ginger, sugar, and a little salt to boiling water to make a syrup, then mixing it into some bubbly seltzer water or club soda. It is easy to do, and once you make a batch of syrup, you can have it whenever. The ginger and bubbles will help to sooth questionable stomachs, but it is important to be mindful of how much ginger you use in the syrup. Too much and the natural spiciness can be overwhelming.
Ah, coconut water. It seems to be the "it" drink of choice lately for health nuts, but that doesn't change the fact that it is good and good for you. Well, providing you like coconut flavor, anyway. There are a lot of bottled coconut water varieties out there now, and unlike sports drinks and vitamin waters, many of them are not loaded with sugar. Just in case, be sure to check the back before committing to a brand that you like. With a lot of natural potassium, if you have a particularly active summer, coconut water can be great for replenishing your body.
If bottled coconut water is still a little questionable for you, it is best to practice your coconut cracking skills on whole young coconuts. Open the coconut and get busy sipping. The young flesh can also be a great addition to that morning smoothie.
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Aloe water is kind of a tricky subject. Many people have gotten on the aloe train because they believe drinking it makes their skin better. While aloe is packed with vitamins like B, C, and E that can help promote a healthy immune system (something that can reflect on your skin), it is probably not helping your skin by drinking the stuff. However, one thing that aloe water can do is help treat an upset stomach. Just like it can sooth a bad sunburn, the aloe in aloe water can help sooth an inflamed stomach from ulcers or a really heavy night of drinking.
Unfortunately, the truth behind aloe water is that you have to be very particular about which brand you buy. The easiest place to find it (that I have found) is in the Latin foods section of your local grocery store. However, those brands, most of them have three different kinds of sugar inside to make it taste really, really good. While the aloe chunks inside are tasty and likely helpful to your gut, the huge sugar content inside is not.
Before buying, check the back to make sure there is a low sugar content, checking for ingredients that don't include fructose, glucose, and sucrose, which are all sugars in their fancy scientific name form.
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Not a fan of all those other drinks? Well, there is always watermelon! Unsurprisingly, watermelon is made up of around 92 percent water with natural sugars and a really nice taste to it. You can eat it off the rind or pain-stakingly remove all the seeds and make a great natural slushie with it to slurp down. It is a great way to hydrate for those who are sick of water and can't find a healthy drink alternative that they want to commit to.