3 No-Alcohol Cocktails That Fight Inflammation
By: Stephanie Clarke | 7/8/2021 | SOURCE ConsumerReports.org
These summer sippers are all under 100 calories and pack powerful antioxidants
Why do boozy drinks have all the fun? No-alcohol cocktails can be just as interesting and special—something to relax with at the end of the day or even to serve to guests. But as you’re contemplating what you’d like to drink, keep in mind that although zero-proof cocktail recipes may not contain alcohol, that doesn’t automatically make them good for you. Many are loaded with added sugars and calories.
The three recipes below aren’t, plus they have an extra benefit: they’re made with whole food ingredients that contain compounds thought to have anti-inflammatory benefits, such as tart cherry juice concentrate, chia seeds, blueberries, green tea, and turmeric.
Low-level inflammation in the body can negatively affect your organs and organ systems, and increasingly, research shows it’s an underlying cause of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other health problems.
• Tart cherries are different from sweet cherries and have been studied for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Some research shows tart cherry juice concentrate used in the cherry spritzer recipe below may help muscles recover after a workout, and may improve sleep because it naturally contains melatonin, a sleep aid.
• The mango-green tea refresher is equal parts thirst-quenching and flavorful. Chilled green tea with a dash of turmeric is used as the base, a combination that is loaded with antioxidants, catechins, and polyphenols that help prevent chronic disease. Plus, tea has a calming effect that’s a wonderful quality in a no-alcohol cocktail. The mango puree adds vitamin C, fiber, and sweetness.
• The chia seeds in the blueberry, lemon, chia fresca are hydrophilic and soak up the liquid they’re in to form a gel-like consistency, which promotes gut health and helps stabilize blood sugars. These tiny seeds are also a good source of anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids. And while all fruits are nutrient-dense, blueberries stand out for their high concentration of anthocyanins, compounds that fight inflammation. Studies have linked eating blueberries to better heart health and cognitive function.
(shown at top)
This drink is best made in single servings.
1-2 tablespoons tart cherry juice concentrate (adjust the amount depending on how tart you like it)
¼ cup orange juice, preferably freshly squeezed
½ cup seltzer
½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Twist of orange or orange slice for garnish
Add ice to a cocktail glass. Pour the cherry juice over the ice, then add the orange juice, seltzer, and lime juice. Garnish with an orange twist or slice.
Makes 1 serving
Nutrition information per serving: 44 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 10 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 8 g sugars (0 g added), 0 g protein, 28 mg sodium
Mango-Green Tea Refresher
2 cups filtered water
1 green tea bag
⅛ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon agave syrup
1 large ripe mango, peeled and cut into chunks, or 1 cup frozen mango chunks, thawed
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lime juice
Lime wedges and fresh mint for garnish
1. Bring the water to a boil in a medium pot. Remove the pot from the heat and add the green tea bag, turmeric, and agave syrup to the water. Stir to combine the ingredients and let steep for 2 to 3 minutes (no longer, or the tea may become bitter). Remove the teabag. Set aside to cool.
2. Add the mango, lime juice, and 3 tablespoons of water to a blender or food processor and blend until puréed. Set aside.
3. Once the green tea has cooled, pour it into a pitcher or large jar then stir in the mango purée until combined. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for an hour or up to three days. Serve over ice and garnish with a lime wedge and a sprig of fresh mint.
Makes 2 servings
Nutrition information per serving: 62 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 15 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 13 g sugars (2 g added), 1 g protein, 4 mg sodium
Blueberry, Lemon, and Chia Fresca
2 cups filtered water
1½ tablespoons chia seeds
1 cup fresh blueberries, plus 6 berries for garnish
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon agave syrup or honey
Twist of lemon or lemon slices for garnish
1. Add the water and chia seeds to a pitcher or mason jar with a lid. Shake a few times to mix. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes, stirring or shaking once or twice. (This mixture will last for 3 days in the refrigerator.)
2. Add the blueberries, lemon juice, and agave syrup to a blender and purée until smooth. (Smaller blender containers work well for making this portion of purée, but you can also use a food processor or regular blender.) Refrigerate the blueberry purée in a sealed container until ready to use.
3. When ready to serve, divide the chia water between two cocktail glasses. Add half the blueberry purée to each glass. Garnish each with a lemon twist or slice and fresh blueberries.
Makes 2 servings
Nutrition information per serving: 97 calories, 3 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 16 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 10 g sugars (2 g added), 3 g protein, 0 mg sodium