Soda can feel like a cool, refreshing drink on a hot day, but it’s hardly the most health-conscious option available.
A regular can of soda (12-oz) contains more than 37 grams of sugar!
According to the American Heart Association (AHA) men should limit their intake of added sugars to 37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons per day. And women should stick to 25 grams or 6 teaspoons per day(2).
If you can’t stand the taste of water alone, here’s a list of natural alternatives you should try.
Not only are these easy to prepare but they’re also loaded with antioxidants – perfect for staying cool when it’s hot outside.
1. Strawberry, Basil and Lemon-Infused Water
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- 6 fresh basil leaves
- 5 strawberries
- 1 pinch salt
- 3/4 cups water
Slice up the strawberries and set aside one slice for garnish. In a large glass, combine the lemon juice, raw honey, basil and strawberries. Mix them together until the honey has dissolved, then add ice cubes and water, stir it together, and let it sit until chilled. When it’s cold enough, strain the mixture into a large glass with ice cubes. Garnish with the remaining strawberry slice. Get the recipe.
2. Strawberry, Lime, and Cucumber-Infused Water
- 8 large strawberries
- 1 cucumber
- 2 limes
Juice the limes using a hand juicer, then slice up the cucumber and strawberries. Combine the ingredients in a large pitcher of cold water, cover, and let the mixture sit overnight in the refrigerator. Get the recipe.
3. Rosemary and Grapefruit-Infused Water
- 1 cup chipped ice
- 4 slices fresh grapefruit
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 1/4 cup water
Place the ice in a tall glass and set it aside for later. In a cocktail shaker, combine the grapefruit slices and rosemary, using the back of a wooden spoon to mash the ingredients up. Add water, then cover and shake well. Strain the mixture in the ice-filled glass. Get the recipe.
4. Blueberry and Lavender Lemonade
- 1/4 cup dried lavender
- 1/12 cups very hot (boiling) water
- 3/4 to 1 cup raw sugar or honey, to taste
- 10 lemons
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- 2 tbsp water
Pour the boiling water over the dried lavender in a bowl or teapot and let it steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain the water into a pitcher, then stir the sugar or honey into the hot water until it is dissolved. Add ice to the pitcher and let the mixture cool. While it’s cooling, juice the lemons, then add the lemon juice to the pitcher, adding cold water at the same time. Puree the blueberries with 2 tablespoons of water in a blender and immediately add the puree to the lemonade, stirring well. Get the recipe.
5. Watermelon and Mint-Infused Water
- 1 medium-sized watermelon, chopped
- 2 tbsp mint leaves
- black salt to taste
- chaat masala to taste
- ice cubes
Puree the watermelon and mint leaves in a blender – there’s no need to add water, as watermelon fruit contains a lot of water already. Pour the watermelon juice into tall glasses containing ice cubes and garnish with black salt and chaat masala, a masala made with dried mango powder, cumin, coriander, and other spices. Get the recipe.
It’s a Healthy Way To Keep Yourself Hydrated
Staying hydrated is important all year round, but cool drinks are especially important as it starts to get warmer. In addition to preventing dehydration, a nice cold beverage on a hot day can reduce your risk of heat stroke(3).
Infused waters are a great way of getting vitamins from fruit, especially if you’re not a big fruit-eater ordinarily. Lemons, which are featured in several of these recipes, are high in vitamin C, and are a powerful antioxidant(4). Mint, basil, and other herbs will not only give you better-smelling breath but help with digestion as well(5).
Best of all, there’s no high-fructose corn syrup and you can control how much sugar goes into these refreshing summer drinks.