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Summer Drinks to Cool the Body and Calm the Mind

07/27/2013 10:31 am ET | Updated Sep 26, 2013

Are you finding yourself beyond parched on these desperately hot days? With the temperature in the upper 90s, we are all savoring cool drinks to keep from overheating. There are ways that you can cool down and calm the mind, without using A/C, though the cool air certainly helps every now and then, especially in these scorching temperatures!

Having recently quit coffee, I am determined to drink healthier beverages that don't leave me crashing in the afternoon or vibrating through meetings. Here are some healthier favorites.

1. Iced Green Tea. My go-to beverage year round is green tea, so it is a no-brainer to satiate my unending need to quench my thirst with this crisp drink. I like to brew a pot of Harney Organic Green Sencha Tea for a strong, green vegetal flavor. I steep it for a couple minutes and then pour it into a glass jug and save it in the fridge for hot afternoons when my brain goes into sleep mode. There are potential health benefits from green tea, including boosting energy levels, providing antioxidants, and reducing inflammation. If I am running in high-energy mode, which I often am, I add chamomile to my steeping pot to cut the edge. Chamomile soothes the nerves and can ease anxiety.

2. Iced Herbal Tea. Being a picky tea consumer, I had a strong aversion to rooibos but was recently seduced by an herbal rooibos blend. I drink this on ice at lunchtime, and it is a nice digestive aide -- fruity, but not sweet. Many different brands carry rooibos, but I am partial to this flavor.

3. Iced Chai. Our local cafe makes iced chai with almond milk and plenty of coriander, and I love this creamy beverage when I am fading into the woodwork. I also make this at the office by steeping fresh-brewed chai and adding cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, allspice, ginger, a bit of turmeric and clove. After brewing, I pour it into a big mason jar and fill it with ice. I add milk at the end, to avoid the drink getting too milky. Often, I find cafés add too much milk, diminishing the spice flavors. Chai can stimulate, especially if caffeinated, so I only drink it in the late morning/early-afternoon as a pick-me-up and have it before 3 p.m. to avoid being wide awake at 11 p.m., wondering what to do with myself. (Yes, I am an on-the-go mother of twins who typically needs to be in bed by 9:15 p.m. if any part of me is going to function the next day.)

4. Raw Juice. I love to partake in freshly-juiced vegetables and fruits, especially early in the day to jump start my morning. I am not a big breakfast person, especially on scorching hot days that top 96 degrees. Fresh juice helps get the digestion moving and the brain working, without loading my belly. My latest favorite is kale, beet, carrot, apple, lime, ginger, spinach, and cucumber. I don't juice a lot because I tend to digest cooked foods better than raw, but on hot summer days I can feel this one livening my complexion and brightening my outlook. Here is a delicious recipe from Healthy Crush that incorporates coconut into the recipe. Adding coconut water adds a delectable richness along with increased hydration. It might go without saying, but using organic produce is best, especially for juicing, since some juicers incorporate the pulp into the final product.

5. Warm Water With Lemon. This may be the shocker on the list, but as many of you know, lemon water is a popular elixir in many circles, including Ayurvedic medicine. In Ayurveda, the warm lemon water is thought to help stimulate digestion. Some say that drinking icy beverages actually forces the body to work harder, thereby heating the system. Warm drinks have actually been found to activate the sweat response, which cools the body faster than a big, icy beverage that tricks the system into thinking it is already cool. On a particularly fiery day, I feel I actually need ice to cool down, but I have just started warm lemon water and I do find it to be satisfying, mostly in the morning before reaching peak midday heat.

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