By Minyette Burke, Wellness Specialist at Twin Towers Senior Living Community
Summer is the time when many fruits are in season and they make fresh, delicious drinks. Many of these recipes can be combined with others spices and herbs to create refreshing combinations.
Not only are these drinks tasty, they possess some health benefits as well.
Hibiscus has a tart taste and the addition of other ingredients really make this tea infusion quite delicious.
- 2 cups dried hibiscus flowers
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Few pieces or more to taste of fresh ginger root
- 5 allspice berries (optional)
- 3 - 4 cups water (for boiling)
- 1 cup or more of raw sugar to taste ( I tend to use half agave or honey along instead of all sugar)
- Juice of 1 lime
Bring water to boil along with cinnamon, allspice, and ginger, boil for 3 -5 minutes or longer for taste. Slowly add hibiscus and stir into boiling water boil a minute longer. Remove mixture from stove and let steep for about 10 minutes covered. Once mixture has steeped to your standards, pour mixture through mesh strainer into a 2 quart pitcher, add sweetener of your choice – stir well till it dissolves. Slowly add water until the pitcher is full. Lastly add the lime juice. Serve chilled with or without ice.
Health Benefits: Small studies have shown that hibiscus can help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. It is also full of antioxidants so drink up!
Chocolate Mint Lemonade
The name sounds amazing and although no actual chocolate is used, the hint of chocolate in these mint leaves, gives this lemonade a crisp peppermint patty taste.
- 8 lemons juiced or about 1 ½ cups lemon juice
- 1 cup sugar or substitute (more or less to taste) I like a half agave, half sugar mix
- 8 cups water
- 1 handful of chocolate mint leaves (or any fresh mint) lightly crushed, muddled or use a pestle to release the flavor
In a pot gently boil 1 cup of the water with the sugar or sweetener until dissolved. Remove from stove. Pour remaining 7 cups of water into a pitcher along with lemon juice and dissolved sugar solution. Stir check taste add mint leaves stir, refrigerate to fully incorporate mint flavor and enjoy!
Health Benefit: Mint is used to treat nasal congestion, aids in proper digestion, and has been used to treat headaches. Mint also contains vitamins A and C along with folate, calcium, magnesium and other valuable minerals.
Watermelon, Strawberry & Basil Chiller
Watermelon and strawberries are sure signs that summer is here, why not take two of these favorite fruits and make them into a refreshing summertime drink!
- ½ medium sized watermelon scooped out slightly frozen
- ½ pint strawberries hulled chilled or frozen
- 4-8 basil leaves (or however many to suit taste)
- Squeeze of lime (optional)
- Honey or Agave (optional to taste)
The honey or agave added to this recipe depends on how sweet your fruit already is, if it’s sweet enough already then no added sweetener is necessary. Place basil leaves, strawberries, and watermelon (sweetener and lime if using) in blender. Blend on high until blended, and that’s it. The watermelon will make this drink frothy. Pour into glasses or into a pitcher to serve, so refreshing!
Health Benefits: Basil fights free radicals and depression, it supports liver function and helps detox the body, it is great for digestion and has anti-inflammatory properties. Watermelon helps you hydrate, it’s full of antioxidants like lycopene and vitamin c. It helps protect against diabetes and is rich in potassium.
Ginger Pineapple Zester
Many people like ginger but sometimes find it hard to incorporate into their routine. Pineapple tastes great and adds a tropical flair to any recipe that requires it. These two foods together have amazing digestive benefits.
- About 1/3 pound ginger root peeled or unpeeled
- 6-7 cups water
- ½ pineapple cut into cubes
- ½ cup raw sugar, or agave (more or less to taste)
- 1 lemon or lime juiced
Cut ginger into pieces and add to blender with 1 cup of the water, blend on high until it makes a slurry. Add this mixture to a pot on stove with another cup of water. Boil this mixture for about 10 mins or so to release the all the ginger flavor, let stand. In rinsed blender add pineapple and blend until pineapple is liquefied. In a separate pitcher, strain ginger water through a strainer or cheesecloth into pitcher add sweetener and stir until dissolved. Slowly add the rest of the water, pineapple, and lemon or lime juice, stir. Serve chilled over ice.
Health Benefits: Ginger is an anti-inflammatory that can help with joint stiffness, and may lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Ginger contains gingerol which can relieve nausea. Pineapple is high in vitamin C, manganese, and bromelain and may help reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
Minyette is a Wellness Specialist at the fitness & wellness center at Twin Towers, The Connection, where you will find a team expertly trained to create workout routines and exercises that are specifically designed for those aged 50+. The Aquatic Center includes a 75-foot heated pool, aquatic bikes, and a whirlpool.