By Editors at Natural Wellness
Keep hydrated and cool this summer by drinking the right beverages. You don’t want to be too hot and humid to relax and enjoy the great weather. Hydration is important all of the time, but especially crucial in hot conditions. Keep cool this season with these healthy drinks.
It goes without saying that water is one of the best drinks to cool off with and stay hydrated. It is essential to everyday life. It gets your metabolism going, burns calories and, of course, cleanses your body. However, the colder it is the quicker it goes through you, making it harder for your body to digest foods. It may sound a little odd, but drinking lukewarm or hot beverages can be better for you in warmer weather. The hotter the drink, the longer the liquid remains in your body absorbing unwanted fats and helping to release them from your body.
Believe it or not, drinking a warm beverage helps you cool down in hot weather. As soon as you start drinking, the nerves on your tongue communicate to your brain that your body is getting hotter. This makes us sweat, which is basically water on our skin.
The hotter you are the faster your skin molecules move, which causes heat. This heat is transferred into water, or sweat. Your sweat begins to evaporate into the air, which lowers the activity of your skin and sweat molecules and, in turn, lowers the temperature of your body. Good drinks to have, besides warm water, are teas and coffee (just don’t add too much sugar and creamer).
Don’t drink too many hot beverages and sweat too much because then you will be dehydrated. Don’t dismiss cold drinks either, but they can cause chills and raise your body temperature. People seem to love iced coffees in the summer but, as stated before, watch how much milk, sugar and processed ingredients are added. They are in no way beneficial. Try making your own at home with natural sweeteners.
Five Drinks to Help You Keep Cool
- Chrysanthemum Tea: Clears your system and has numerous health benefits, including cooling your body from the inside out. It has been used as a medicinal herb in Chinese medicine for heatstroke, headaches, eye infections, colds and clearing of the liver. Recently, it has been known to help with hypertension and coronary heart disease. You can find pre-made tea bags of chrysanthemum or you can buy the flowers and boil in water. Let it steep about 5 minutes and sip. It is a tradition in China, after all the tea has been consumed, to boil more water and reuse the flowers, until all the flavor and benefits are drained from them. Recycling is always a good thing.
- Smoothies: There are so many combinations of ingredients to make smoothies and living juices (or “green juices”) that you can’t really get bored with them. Chain stores, and even some local cafes, that make them tend to add lots of additional sugar. Read the nutritional facts and you’ll more than likely choose to make your own. It’s also cheaper and healthier to make them. You can get creative and cater to yourself. When making a smoothie start with water, and milk or yogurt as a foundation. Use any milk you want; we suggest trying coconut milk since it’s delicious and nutritious! Add whatever fruits – apples, bananas, berries, watermelon and mango. They all have vitamins and minerals to fill you up and make you feel great.
- Living Juices: The same goes for living juices, which are primarily vegetables, and not fruits like smoothies. Great greens for juices are kale, spinach, celery, cucumbers and sprouts. Either way you’ll get some or all of your daily servings, depending on what you’ve added. You can mix it up too, and use fruits and veggies in the same mixture. We find it even more beneficial to add some chia seeds and ground flaxseed. Chia seeds are full of protein, fiber and all necessary amino acids. Flaxseeds have omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium and B vitamins. Another great advantage of most smoothies and living juices is that they are raw. There is nothing done to the ingredients that drain the vitamins and minerals from them.
- Kefir: This is a good drink to start the day with or you can use it as a base in a smoothie. It can be enjoyed year-round because of its fantastic health benefits. It has live and active probiotics and, although it is a fermented milk product, it is good for people with lactose-intolerance; the molecules are smaller and easier to digest than in milk. The high levels of calcium, protein and probiotic bacteria keep your immune and digestive system clear and working properly. You can make your own or find it at your local health store. Kefir is good to drink in hot weather (and cold) because it helps maintain the temperature of your body. The health benefits of Kefir are practically endless as it helps with overall body health. Here are some of the other valuable offerings of Kefir: Vitamins B12, B1, and K, biotin, minerals and essential amino acids.
- Kombucha: A fermented tea, kombucha has been used medicinally for over 2,000 years. It is basically made up of yeast and bacteria. Full of amino acids, antioxidants and probiotics, it helps give you a boost and cleanses the body. There are so many benefits from kombucha that there’s not enough time to list them all – but here are a few – detoxifies your liver, relieves headaches, cell regeneration, rids body of free radicals, reduces blood pressure and can put you in a great mood! The taste is bitter and can take some getting used to, but it is worth it. It’s great to make your own, as with smoothies and living juices, you can adjust the taste yourself. And save money! Try enjoying kombucha at room temperature.
Of course this is not a comprehensive list of all drinks that can help you cool off this summer. Sometimes it’s fun to get creative and make your own concoctions. Here are some great ingredients to play around with, whether in a smoothie, juice or cocktail:
- Natural juices, with no added sugar or preservative
- Ginger ale (the real kind, not the soda)
- Fresh mint
- Seltzer, tonic water
- Natural fruit syrups
- Spices, like Chai
- Berries – don’t blend, just throw them in whole
One last thing that amps up a drink is to make ice cubes with things like juices or coffee. You can add them to a drink to cool it or, while halfway frozen, add a popsicle stick for a refreshing treat.