10 Indian healthy summer drink: alternatives of soft drinks
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Soft drinks are the most popular, non-nutritious drinks, widely consumed in India and many other countries. We waste a considerable amount of money on purchasing these colored and flavored, sugar-sweetened carbonated water [1].

The sweetener may be sugar, or high fructose corn syrup, fruit juice, or some combination of these sweeteners. In the case of diet drinks, a sugar substitute is used instead of sugar [1].

Soft drinks are of 2 main types –

(i) Caffeinated Soft drinks like Coca-Cola, Thums-Up, Pepsi, Mountain Dew etc.

(ii) Caffeine-free Soft Drinks like Limca, Fanta, Sprite, Mirinda, 7UP etc.

Soft drinks also contain various types of other chemicals like acidity regulators, stabilizers, and preservatives. They are an empty source of calories without supplying any essential nutrients like proteins, vitamins, or minerals. So excessive intake of these beverages invites many health problems like weight gain, obesity, dental carries, etc.

There are several healthy alternatives of soft drinks which can be prepared in your home with minimum effort and investing little time from your busy routine. These homemade drinks are based on locally available nutritious fruits and vegetables (plant foods) and dairy products (animal foods).

10 Indian healthy summer drink: alternatives of soft drinks : say no to soft drinks

Why homemade drinks are healthier alternatives to soft drinks?

Home made refreshing drinks are always a better option of soft drinks due to several reasons which are summarized in table-1.

Table-1: Comparison between Home-made drinks vs commercially available soft drinks

Sl. No.Point of DifferencesHome-made drinksSoft drinks
1.Sugar content5 g of sugar is present in 100 ml drinks. Depending on the drink, sugar content may be adjusted10 to 15g of sugar is present in 100ml of
soft drinks. Sugar content is fixed in every
drink but its amount varies from one to
another brand.
2.Artificial sweetenersThese drinks do not contain any artificial sweeteners.Diet soft drinks or zero calorie drinks or
sugar free drinks contain artificial sweeteners.
3.Calorie valueSupply comparatively less amount of energy.Supply comparatively higher amount of energy.
4.Added artificial chemicalsNo artificial chemicals are added.Usually contain many types of artificial
chemicals like- Flavouring agentsColoursPreservativesStabilizersAcidity regulatorsCaffeine
5.VitaminsHome made drinks are loaded with vitamins like beta carotene, vitamin-C, folic acid etc.Soft drinks are devoid of vitamins.
6.MineralsHome made drinks supply many minerals like potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium and zinc.They do not contain minerals except sodium.
7.AntioxidantsThey are good sources of natural antioxidants.Most soft drinks do not contain antioxidants
but few of them contain added antioxidants.
8.PhytonutrientsPlant foods like fresh fruits and vegetables contain several phytonutrients.They do not contain any phytonutrients.
9.ProbioticsCurd based drinks like chass, lassi, ghol and buttermilk are an excellent source of probiotics.Soft drinks do not contain any probiotics.
10.Medicinal valueDepending on the ingredients used, they have many medicinal properties.They have not any medicinal value, rather
they are harmful to our body.

Today, I like to suggest few home-made alternatives of soft drinks which are easy to prepare, tasty and healthy.

Few Healthy Alternatives of Soft Drinks

Tender Coconut water is a healthy alternative of soft drink

10 Indian healthy summer drink: alternatives of soft drinks: coconut water

Tender coconut or green coconut is the most commonly used, healthy alternative to soft drinks. Healthy as well as sick persons can drink it without any adverse effect.

How to Prepare

Tender coconut water is a ready-made natural drink. No need for preparation. Just cut the green coconut and serve the water as it is. No need for adding anything.

Health Benefits [2], [3], [4]

  1. Tender coconut water supply ample electrolytes (like potassium, magnesium and zinc), vitamins and phytonutrients.
  2. Coconut water helps to reduce oxidative stress.
  3. It is effective to detoxify the body.

Nimbupani is a refreshing drink for all

10 Indian healthy summer drink: alternatives of soft drinks: Nimbupani

Nimbupani is the most common refreshing drink.

How to Prepare

Lemon water or nimbupanican be prepared by adding little sugar and salt and a spoonful of lemon juice in a glass of water.

Health Benefits

It is rich in vitamin-C which help to boost immunity [5], [6].

Citrus Fruit juice / Sweet lime (Mousambi) juice is effective to boost immunity

10 Indian healthy summer drink: alternatives of soft drinks: citrus drink

How to Prepare:

Freshly prepared sweet lime (mousambi) or orange juice is not only yummy but also full of nutrients. This is an immune boosting drink. You may also use orange instead of sweet lime.

Health Benefits[7], [8]

  1. Sweet lime (mousambi) is a rich source of vitamin C, copper, zinc, iron, calcium, potassium etc.
  2. This fruit is rich in antioxidants like flavonoids.
  3. It helps to flush out toxins from the body.
  4. Intake of sweet lime improves digestion and boost immunity.

Watermelon juice for Sick Individuals

10 Indian healthy summer drink: alternatives of soft drinks: watermelon juice

Watermelon is an excellent summer fruit loaded with several nutrients. Water melon juice is an excellent summer drink.

How to Prepare

Just peel the watermelon and cut it into small pieces. Take the pieces on a big strainer and apply pressure on it using a spoon, the juice will be extracted.  Serve the juice. It is sweet in taste due to its natural sugar content, so no need to add any extra sugar to it.

Health Benefits [9], [10], [11]

Watermelon is a good source of minerals like potassium and many other electrolytes and antioxidants like beta carotene and lycopene.

Probiotic Based Drink for those suffering from digestive problems like hyperacidity, intestinal gas formation etc.

10 Indian healthy summer drink: alternatives of soft drinks: :probiotic drink

Probiotics are friendly bacteria that help to maintain good gut health and overall general health. Chaas, buttermilk or lassi are a healthy choice of drinks in summer which can be consumed by anyone.

How to Prepare

Chaas or lassi can be prepared by diluting curd or yoghurt with water and adding little salt, sugar, cumin powder etc. according to your personal choice.

Health Benefits[12], [13], [14]

  1. Probiotics also help to boost immunity and prevent viral infections.
  2. A glass of buttermilk ensures better digestion, gut health, and immunity.

Yogurt watermelon smoothie for anemic persons

10 Indian healthy summer drink: alternatives of soft drinks: watermelon smoothie

How to Prepare

Remove the peel and seeds of the watermelon and crush them in a household juicer. Now add yoghurt (2 tablespoons), black salt (a pinch) and a teaspoon of sugar. Mix well. Serve the smoothie to your kids. If you like you can add few ice chunks to it but it is optional.

Health Benefits[9], [15]

  •  This smoothie is a low-calorie, low fat, low carbohydrate healthy drink.
  •  It is loaded with several minerals like calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, and magnesium.
  • It is a good source of B vitamins, especially B1 and B6.
  • It a rich source of antioxidants like lycopene.
  • It is a good choice of food for anemic individuals.

Raw Mango peel Panna for Diabetic Patients

How to Prepare

Cook the raw mango peel in a pressure cooker for 5 minutes and cool them. Strain the water using a strainer, add little sugar and black salt and mix well. Garnish it with fresh mint leaves and serve the drink with ice.

You may prepare raw mango panna, in the above-mentioned recipe using raw mango instead of mango peels.

Health benefits[16], [17]

  • This drink is a healthy alternative to soft drinks. It will quench your thirst by supplying not only water but also vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
  • It is a good drink for diabetic patients.
  • Mango peel is an excellent source of polyphenolic antioxidants.

Refreshing drink for anemic patients

10 Indian healthy summer drink: alternatives of soft drinks: gardencress drink

How to Prepare

Garden cress seed drink is an iron-rich refreshing drink that can be taken at any time of the year. It is very easy to period. Soak the garden cress (halim) seeds in a glass of water for an hour. Now add one teaspoon of lemon juice and a pinch of salt to it. Stir well. Your refreshing drink is ready to serve.

Health benefits[18], [19]

Garden cress seed is the richest source of iron, providing 100mg of iron per 100g of Halim seeds. Moreover, added lemon is a very good source of vitamin C which ensures good absorption of iron. This drink is beneficial for anemic persons. It helps to increase hemoglobin levels and blood formation.

9.      Bael Panna a healthy drink for constipation patients

Bael or wood apple is the most commonly available fruit in India. This fruit is used extensively in our traditional medicine system “Ayurveda”. Bael panna is a fruit-based traditional summer drink. This beverage is easily digestible, highly refreshing, thirst-quenching, appetizing, and nutritionally far superior to many synthetic drinks and cold drinks.

How to Prepare

  • Bael panna can be prepared within 5 minutes in your kitchen.  Break the hard covering of wood apple using a hammer, and then remove the ripe, yellow coloured pulp using a teaspoon.
  • Add 2 cups of milk to the pulp and one teaspoon of sugar, mix well and strain the mixture through a strainer. Now your wood apple beverage (bael panna) is ready.
  • Serve the freshly prepared, home-made, fruit beverage to your family members in hot summer and enjoy.

Health Benefits[20], [21], [22]

  •  Wood apple is a very good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, and phosphorus.
  •  It is high in dietary fiber making it a suitable fruit for constipated persons.
  •  Bael fruit pulp is an important source of bioactive compounds like carotenoids, phenolics, alkaloids, pectins, tannins, coumarins, flavonoids, and terpenoids.
  •  Bael is good for your important organs like the heart and liver.
  •  It helps to reduce blood pressure. So, it is a good choice of fruit for those suffering from hypertension.
  • Wood apple is effective for reducing blood glucose levels, making it an ideal fruit for diabetic individuals.
  •  Bael Panna is a good summer drink for the elderly because it is useful to reduce blood lipid levels.
  • Wood apple help to improve our digestion.

 Channa sattu sherbet is a protein drink for growing children

10 Indian healthy summer drink: alternatives of soft drinks: sattu sarbat

Channasattu sherbet is a high protein nutritious drink ideal for our kids.

How to Prepare

This sherbet can be prepared within 2 minutes.  Take two teaspoons of channa (Bengal gram) sattu in a glass of cold water. Stir. Now add one teaspoon of sugar, a pinch of black salt and roasted cumin seeds powder, and one teaspoon of lemon juice to it. Mix well by stirring. Your protein-rich summer drink is ready. Serve it.

Health Benefits[23]

  •  Bengal gram sattu is a high protein, high fiber powder which can be consumed in many forms.
  •  It is a good source of iron, making it a suitable food for anemic persons.

References

  1. https://www.britannica.com/topic/soft-drink
  2. https://ijpsr.com/bft-article/health-benefits-of-tender-coconut-water-tcw/?view=fulltext
  3. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/315999406_Antibacterial_Efficacy_of_Tender_Coconut_Water_Cocos_nucifera_L_on_Streptococcus_mutans_An_In-Vitro_Study
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1995764511600783
  5. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/340085271_A_Critical_Review_on_Nutritional_and_Medicinal_Importance_of_Lemon
  6. https://biomedgrid.com/fulltext/volume3/nutritional-benefits-of-citrus-fruits.000681.php
  7. http://internationaljournal.org.in/journal/index.php/pjpps/article/view/171/167
  8. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/299536530_Phytochemical_and_pharmacological_properties_on_Citrus_limetta_Mosambi
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30756297/
Dr. Sagarika Chakraborty was awarded her doctorate in Food and Nutrition from University of Calcutta (C.U.) in 2017. She is an experienced Researcher, working in the field of Food Science for more than 12 years and published papers in international and national journal. She has also presented papers in national conferences.

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