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Summer Sipping: Cold Treats for Hot Days

Red wine, smoothies, and iced treats are healthy summer drinks, especially when fruit is in the recipe.
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WebMD Feature

Forget the soft drink or boring bottled water. On hot days, it's easy to improvise. You can create thirst-soothing, yummy summer drinks that are packed with disease-fighting antioxidants.

Start at your local fruit stand: Mangos, papayas, peaches, berries, watermelons, cantaloupes, kiwis, and grapes are among summer's choices.

Keep things low-tech: try the blender, the sun tea jar, the ice cube tray. Soon you'll be making fruity smoothies, slushes, icy teas, and even vitamin-packed ice cubes.

To help us create these healthy thirst-quenchers, WebMD turned to two dietitians who like to keep things simple.

Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, is WebMD Weight Loss Clinic's "Recipe Doctor," and author of The Flaxseed Cookbook. Tiffany Barrett, MS, RD, LD, is a clinical dietitian at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.

Starting Simple

Instead of plain water, try a sparkling water. "Just make sure it's not sweetened," Magee tells WebMD. Seltzer water has less sodium than club soda; dress it up with a fruit wedge. "Or submerge a strawberry in bubbly water," she suggests.

For the classic iced tea, why not try green tea? By one estimate, both green and black teas have 10 times the antioxidants found in fruits and veggies. Experiment with different tea blends. Try adding a bit of 100% fruit juice for extra antioxidants.

Want an exotic touch? Brew green tea leaves with spearmint leaves -- the traditional Moroccan mint tea. You'll need a teapot for this. According to custom, the brewed tea is served hot in a small glass (like a shot glass). Add a tiny bit of sweetener, if you wish. For iced tea, dilute the brewed tea and chill.

Just keep this in mind: "If tea is decaffeinated, you're really hydrating," Magee tells WebMD.

Red Wine Tastes Fine

Red wine is an antioxidant-packed alcoholic drink. "I never advise people to start drinking wine if they don't already -- but if you're a wine drinker, be happy that it's good for you," Barrett tells WebMD.

Red wine is the inspiration for Spanish sangria. It's easy: Start with a hefty jug of red burgundy wine, then a cup (or so) 100% fruit juice, plus cut oranges and apples. Add some rum (or brandy) plus soda water (or ginger ale) for fizz. Let the flavors blend overnight in the refrigerator. Sangria is a great punch-bowl drink.

Wine spritzers also dilute wine's alcohol content. Diet ginger ale or soda water is all you need to add, says Barrett.

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