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Natural Beverages for Year-Round Rehydration

Natural Beverages"Drink plenty of fluids" is valid advice during both the dry winter months and those summer scorchers. You need to rehydrate from dry indoor heat and the seasonal heat of summer — even when you haven't "come down with something." Plain old H2O will fit the bill, but there are more enjoyable options for healthful beverages. Some are warm and nurturing (wrapping your hands around a toasty mug when the cold wind blows is part of the fun), others are cool and refreshing (perk-me-ups year round). Bottom's up!

Flavored Water

Enhance the appeal of water by fortifying it with fresh fruits (you might choose those high in vitamin C). Simply add washed and cut strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, melon, kiwi, guava, or any other favorites to a pitcher or glass of water. Even veggies — such as cucumbers — make for an interesting and invigorating drink. And if you prefer fizzy drinks, you can simply use sparkling water.

There are special pitchers made for these DIY waters (they have a center section to put the fruit or veggie in; the water is infused but strained when you pour it). But you can make your own simply by adding your fruits or vegetables to your water and straining when you're ready to drink.

Consider fortifying your water with other flavor enhancers, too, such as slices of ginger or fresh herbs, or flavors and extracts. Transform sparkling water with juice, such as OJ and grapefruit juice or vegetable juice. You might even experiment with the temperature of your water. Iced is always refreshing, but warm water (with lemon and honey, perhaps) can be very soothing.

Here, for example, is a Winter Warm-Up beverage made with hot water, sweetener, cloves, cinnamon, and brandy.

Teas

All manner of teas — herbal, green, or black — make ideal beverages. Serve them warm for a soothing effect or cold for refreshment.

Try this simple recipe for Lemon Herb Tea or this one using elder berries. Teas that use warming spices are especially appropriate during the winter months. Chai with Cardamom, Cinnamon, and Ginger is a perfect example, as is this Syrian Spice Drink.

Broths

If you're up to making classic chicken noodle soup to nourish yourself when the going gets tough in the winter, broth powders offer a terrific jumpstart. But broths alone are another good option for boosting liquid intake when you need to take good care. Use a broth powder for instant veggie, beef, or chicken flavor (all are vegetarian).

Mulled Drinks

Mulled ciders and juices make their appearance during the winter holidays. But they're just as enjoyable other times of the year. (Holiday extras can be frozen to be enjoyed in the spring and summer.) Concoct your own using your favorite mulling spices, or try a recipe like this one for Mulled Cranberry Juice. Or rely on a blend such as Cider Mate or Mulling Spice to quickly put together a mulled drink.

Smoothies

Whip up a smoothie for a quick breakfast or healthy snack that'll boost your liquid intake. Here's a 14-Carrot Smoothie that's "liquid gold to your taste buds." And this Sleepy Tea is actually a smoothie made with chamomile tea and orange juice/fresh oranges and spices.

With so many options for tasty beverages, it's easy to stay healthfully hydrated year round! (Here are some more ideas for cool drinks).

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