The Best & Worst Summer Drinks
Enjoy the healthiest sips this summer by finding out some of the best and worst summer drinks.
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Best: Iced Coffee
Coffee is loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants, which may be part of the reason coffee has been linked to lower rates of heart disease and diabetes. Enjoy it black or with a splash of milk for the healthiest sip (loading it up with sugar, syrup or whipped cream does not a health beverage make).
Worst: Blended Coffee Drinks
Blended coffee drinks take coffee to a whole other, way-less-healthy plane. A bombardment of sugary syrups, a large quantity of whole milk and whipped cream drives up the calories of this beverage — if you go for the largest size available, you’ll be downing at least 530 calories. To make this a treat you can indulge in with less guilt, order the 12-ounce size with skim milk and no whipped cream for 200 calories.
Best: Iced Green Tea
Green tea is a great choice anytime, but research shows it has an extra benefit in summertime: It helps absorb UV rays, minimizing sunburn risk. (It's no substitute for sunscreen and avoiding the strongest rays at midday, though.) Add fresh herbs for an extra-special drink.
Worst: Italian Soda
Don't be fooled by the fancy sounding name (it's Italian — it can't be bad for me!). To keep sugar and calories in check, ask for just one pump of syrup, or, better yet, get a juice spritzer: seltzer with a little juice.
Best: Hibiscus Drinks
Hibiscus is a caffeine-free flower that makes a tart, ruby-red infusion when brewed. Its brilliant hue means it's filled with anthocyanins — antioxidants linked to a host of health benefits, including a lowered risk of cancer, plus a 2011 study suggests they may help lower blood pressure. It’s also versatile: It makes a delicious iced tea on its own, or you can use it as a mixer in lemonade or cocktails.
Worst: Pina Colada
This icy sweet blend of pineapple juice, coconut milk or cream, sugar and rum is a calorie disaster. It has about 300 calories per 6 ounces (and sometimes this is a drink that gets supersized).
Best: Rose Wine
A glass of rose wine offers many of the same polyphenols that give red wine its cancer-protective benefit. (Keep in mind that drinking alcohol can increase the risk of some cancers, such as breast cancer, so drink responsibly.) At 120 calories per 5-ounce glass, wine has fewer calories than most mixed drinks.
Worst: Fast-Food Smoothies
Don't get me wrong, a homemade smoothie can be a very healthy beverage. But many fast-food chains turn this healthy-sounding food into a sugar bomb. Portion size is key in smoothies — at one smoothie chain, the smallest size is 16 ounces, meaning smoothies start just under 300 calories and go up to 600. Make your own smoothies at home, using fresh fruit and a little bit of juice, milk or milk replacement, or water.