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Refreshing healthy summer drinks
2019.7.26 | Gina Anderson

Looking for some refreshment this summer? Mugi cha (barley tea) is a typical choice in Japan, but there are many other healthy caffeine-free options. It’s important to stay hydrated before, during and after yoga, especially during the summer heat. Drinking water-based beverages can help regulate your body temperature, lubricate your joints, protect your spinal cord and help your body eliminate waste. Try one of these easy do-it-yourself options!

 

Infused water

You can add herbs, fruits or veggies to your water to infuse it with more flavor. Mint and basil work well. You can also add citrus peels or cucumbers for a fresh taste. It’s best to pick organic herbs, fruits and veggies for infusing, to avoid also leaching pesticides into your water. A great infusion option is lemon or orange peel, cucumber slices and mint.

 

Rooibos Tea

Made from a brush-like plant from South Africa, rooibos is naturally caffeine free, high in antioxidants and may contribute to managing cholesterol, along with other potential health benefits. Rooibos tea is available in red and green versions. Red rooibos has a mild, slightly sweet taste while green rooibos has a stronger green tea-like taste. Both come from the same plant and are caffeine free. Green rooibos is unfermented, while red rooibos is fermented. Many brands are available at supermarkets. To make iced rooibos tea, one tea bag can be infused in 1 liter of hot water for around 5 minutes and then chilled. 

 

Honeybush Tea

Made from the honeybush plant, also from South Africa, honeybush tea is made from the fermented stems and leaves of the plant. Naturally caffeine free, honeybush reputedly helps with calming coughs and may provide other health benefits. Honeybush tea has a mild taste similar to red rooibos, but is often sweeter. Muji sells honeybush and lemon tea bags. Other brands can be found at stores such as Kaldi or Carnival. To make iced honeybush tea, one tea bag can be infused in 1 liter of hot water for around 5 minutes and then chilled.

 

Corn tea

Originally from Korea, corn tea is made by infusing roasted corn kernels. It is caffeine free and reportedly can help with digestion, is good for the kidneys and can help in lowering blood pressure. It has a very mild taste; some say it tastes like watered down corn. It is common in Korea to make a mix between barley tea and corn tea, which results in a drink that is a bit more flavorful than corn tea by itself but milder than barley tea. Typical ratios are 1/3 barley tea and 2/3 corn tea. Corn tea isn’t always easy to find in Japan, but Muji and Seijo Ishii does sell some. To make iced corn tea, one tea bag can be infused in 1 liter of hot water for 3 minutes and then chilled.

 

Soba tea

Generally served at soba noodle shops, soba, or buckwheat tea, can also be made at home. It has high mineral and antioxidant content and may help improve blood sugar control. It has a mild to strong nutty, earthy taste. Soba tea can easily be found in most supermarkets. To make iced soba tea, one tea bag can be infused in 1 liter of hot water for 3 minutes and then chilled.

 

Lemonade

This low-sugar lemonade recipe is easy to make:

  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (5 to 6 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup agave syrup (or honey, or maple syrup)
  • 1 quart of water

 

Combine the lemon juice and the agave syrup in a large pitcher first and mix together well. Then add the water and mix once again. Chill in the refrigerator or serve immediately over ice.

 

It tastes best with freshly squeezed lemon juice, but if you need to use pre-squeezed lemon juice, you may want to use a bit less lemon juice or add more agave syrup, since pre-squeezed lemon juice tends to be more concentrated.

 

I originally found this recipe on goop, which has a good selection of healthy recipes.

 

If you’re looking for more ways to hydrate, Muji has a great selection of herbal teas and non-caffeinated drinks, some specifically adapted for cold infusion. In general, for making iced herbal tea, I find that using 1 tea bag suffices for 1 liter of water; you can use the infusion time indicated on the packaging as a guideline.

 

Happy hydrating 😉

Gina discovered yoga in 2011 as a balance to the intensity of her job as a sustainability consultant in Paris. In 2018, she finally took the leap and completed a yoga teacher training. Gina currently teaches yoga and works on freelance writing in Tokyo.
She hopes to provide creative and challenging classes that help students connect with their breath and be present in the moment.
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