Take a look at these five healthy, natural drinks which are perfect for summer gatherings and aren’t filled with artificial sugars and calories!
Hot summer days call for some healthy drinks as a refreshing way to cool down. We have chosen our top 5 drinks we like to have throughout the Summer to help stay hydrated.
One of the easiest drinks to make with simply some freshly squeezed lemon, sugar to taste and a pinch of salt in a cool glass of water, lemonade is an excellent way to load up on vitamin C. Lemonade has multiple health benefits for our body which are supported by science. For example, some research has found that fibre and plant compounds found in lemons can significantly lower some of the risk factors associated with heart disease (1, 2). The plant chemicals hesperidin and diosmin found in lemons are also known to lower cholesterol levels (3, 4). Although lemons do also contain some iron, they can also protect you against anaemia by improving your absorption of iron from plant based foods (5). Some observational studies also cite that people who eat a lot of citrus fruit have a low risk of developing cancer (6).
Prepared by blending fresh mint leaves with some coarse brown sugar, cumin powder, lemon juice and water into a smooth paste, mint juice can have numerous health benefits. Mint has been shown to aid digestion by reducing abdominal bloating – a common symptom of digestive issues (7). Some studies also show that peppermint can relieve some pain in patients of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) by relaxing the smooth muscles in the colon (8). Mint leaves are known to be a rich source of vitamin C, vitamin B, calcium, zinc and many other important nutrients.
Not just refreshing and tasty, coconut water is excellent for your health and is loaded with several important minerals, vitamin C and fibre. Some studies on animals which have been exposed to toxins, have found that coconut water contains certain antioxidants which can modify free radicals meaning that they no longer cause harm (9, 10). Coconut water is also highly effective in replenishing fluids and electrolytes after some exercise, to the extent that it is comparable to other high-electrolyte sports beverage (11).
Green tea is undoubtedly one of the healthiest beverages available in the world; it is known to be loaded with nutrients and antioxidants which all have powerful and beneficial effects on the body. Green tea does not just keep you awake; it is also a known stimulant which contains the active ingredient caffeine. Caffeine has been studied in depth and can improve brain function, mood, vigilance, reaction time and even memory (12). Green tea is also known to increase fat burning by boosting the resting metabolic rate in humans (13, 14). This is why it makes sense that green tea can also help you lose weight, in fact several studies have demonstrated that consuming green tea regularly can lead to decreases in body fat especially in the abdominal area (15, 16).
Pineapple juice has both a great aroma and taste that it is a popular healthy drink everyone enjoys. One glass of pineapple juice is rich in vitamin C as well as a strong source of manganese, potassium, calcium and vitamin B6. It also contains a mixture of enzymes known as bromelain, which has anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to digest protein (17). Some animal studies have found that bromelain has a role in protecting against cancer and tumour growth (18, 19).
For more information on which drinks are healthy, see our nutrition and weight management course
1. Joshipura, K.J., Hu, F.B., Manson, J.E., Stampfer, M.J., Rimm, E.B., Speizer, F.E., Colditz, G., Ascherio, A., Rosner, B., Spiegelman, D. and Willett, W.C., 2001. The effect of fruit and vegetable intake on risk for coronary heart disease. Annals of internal medicine, 134(12), pp.1106-1114.
2. Chanet, A., Milenkovic, D., Manach, C., Mazur, A. and Morand, C., 2012. Citrus flavanones: what is their role in cardiovascular protection?. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 60(36), pp.8809-8822.
3. Choi, G.S., Lee, S., Jeong, T.S., Lee, M.K., Lee, J.S., Jung, U.J., Kim, H.J., Park, Y.B., Bok, S.H. and Choi, M.S., 2004. Evaluation of hesperetin 7-O-lauryl ether as lipid-lowering agent in high-cholesterol-fed rats. Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry, 12(13), pp.3599-3605.
4. Srinivasan, S. and Pari, L., 2013. Antihyperlipidemic effect of diosmin: A citrus flavonoid on lipid metabolism in experimental diabetic rats. Journal of functional foods, 5(1), pp.484-492.
5. Ballot, D., Baynes, R.D., Bothwell, T.H., Gillooly, M., Macfarlane, J., MacPhail, A.P., Lyons, G., Derman, D.P., Bezwoda, W.R., Torrance, J.D. and Bothwell, J.E., 1987. The effects of fruit juices and fruits on the absorption of iron from a rice meal. British Journal of Nutrition, 57(3), pp.331-343.
6. Lv, X., Zhao, S., Ning, Z., Zeng, H., Shu, Y., Tao, O., Xiao, C., Lu, C. and Liu, Y., 2015. Citrus fruits as a treasure trove of active natural metabolites that potentially provide benefits for human health. Chemistry Central Journal, 9(1), p.68.
7. Khanna, R., MacDonald, J.K. and Levesque, B.G., 2014. Peppermint oil for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of clinical gastroenterology, 48(6), pp.505-512.
8. Cappello, G., Spezzaferro, M., Grossi, L., Manzoli, L. and Marzio, L., 2007. Peppermint oil (Mintoil®) in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a prospective double blind placebo-controlled randomized trial. Digestive and liver disease, 39(6), pp.530-536.
9. Bhagya, D., Prema, L. and Rajamohan, T., 2012. Therapeutic effects of tender coconut water on oxidative stress in fructose fed insulin resistant hypertensive rats. Asian Pacific journal of tropical medicine, 5(4), pp.270-276.
10. Manna, K., Khan, A., Das, D.K., Kesh, S.B., Das, U., Ghosh, S., Dey, R.S., Saha, K.D., Chakraborty, A., Chattopadhyay, S. and Dey, S., 2014. Protective effect of coconut water concentrate and its active component shikimic acid against hydroperoxide mediated oxidative stress through suppression of NF-κB and activation of Nrf2 pathway. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 155(1), pp.132-146.
11. Saat, M., Singh, R., Sirisinghe, R.G. and Nawawi, M., 2002. Rehydration after exercise with fresh young coconut water, carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage and plain water. Journal of physiological anthropology and applied human science, 21(2), pp.93-104.
12. Ruxton, C.H.S., 2008. The impact of caffeine on mood, cognitive function, performance and hydration: a review of benefits and risks. Nutrition Bulletin, 33(1), pp.15-25.
13. Bérubé-Parent, S., Pelletier, C., Doré, J. and Tremblay, A., 2005. Effects of encapsulated green tea and Guarana extracts containing a mixture of epigallocatechin-3-gallate and caffeine on 24 h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in men. British Journal of Nutrition, 94(3), pp.432-436.
14. Diepvens, K., Westerterp, K.R. and Westerterp-Plantenga, M.S., 2007. Obesity and thermogenesis related to the consumption of caffeine, ephedrine, capsaicin, and green tea. American journal of physiology-Regulatory, integrative and comparative physiology, 292(1), pp.R77-R85.
15. Auvichayapat, P., Prapochanung, M., Tunkamnerdthai, O., Sripanidkulchai, B.O., Auvichayapat, N., Thinkhamrop, B., Kunhasura, S., Wongpratoom, S., Sinawat, S. and Hongprapas, P., 2008. Effectiveness of green tea on weight reduction in obese Thais: A randomized, controlled trial. Physiology & behavior, 93(3), pp.486-491.
16. Wang, H., Wen, Y., Du, Y., Yan, X., Guo, H., Rycroft, J.A., Boon, N., Kovacs, E.M. and Mela, D.J., 2010. Effects of catechin enriched green tea on body composition. Obesity, 18(4), pp.773-779.
17. Rathnavelu, V., Alitheen, N.B., Sohila, S., Kanagesan, S. and Ramesh, R., 2016. Potential role of bromelain in clinical and therapeutic applications. Biomedical reports, 5(3), pp.283-288.
18. Matagne, A., Bolle, L., El Mahyaoui, R., Baeyens-Volant, D. and Azarkan, M., 2017. The proteolytic system of pineapple stems revisited: Purification and characterization of multiple catalytically active forms. Phytochemistry, 138, pp.29-51.
19. Chobotova, K., Vernallis, A.B. and Majid, F.A.A., 2010. Bromelain’s activity and potential as an anti-cancer agent: current evidence and perspectives. Cancer letters, 290(2), pp.148-156.