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Many people enjoy the light refreshing flavor of lemonade, especially on a hot summer day. While it is a refreshing drink, traditional lemonade recipes are laden with sugar which negate any of the nutritious and healing benefits of this amazing fruit.
Lemons are a great source of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Lemon also has numerous health benefits including:
Stimulating bile production to relieve constipation, bloating and improve digestion
Helping reduce cravings due to the pectin fiber content
Lowering blood pressure
Improving heart health
What’s in store bought lemonade?
Conventional store bought lemonade can contain a number of unhealthy ingredients. It’s always important to read labels to see what you’re really buying. Minute Maid Lemonade, for example, contains only 12% lemon juice, filtered water, high fructose corn syrup, lemon juice from concentrate, lemon pulp, natural flavors and sugar.
An 8 ounce serving of this drink contains 7 teaspoons of sugar. Excess sugar is linked to numerous health problems including, diabetes, obesity, and cancer. PubMed has over 400 studies on the negative effects of high fructose corn syrup, the second ingredient listed on the Minute Maid Lemonade label.
Crystal Light contains citric acid, potassium citrate, sodium citrate, aspartame*, magnesium oxide, maltodextrin, contains less than 2% of natural flavor, acesulfame potassium, soy lecithin, artificial color, Yellow 5, BHA (Preserves Freshness) *Phenylketonurics: Contains Phenylalanine and soy. Yellow 5 is known to cause allergic reactions such as asthma. Aspartame is linked to numerous side effects including headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, confusion, tremors and depression.
What about homemade lemonade?
Homemade lemonade is definitely a healthier option, especially if you use fresh organic fruit and a healthy sweetener option. While homemade lemonade is easy to make, most recipes contain large amounts of sugar. High amounts of sugar are added to cut the tartness of the lemon, but there are many healthier options. My favorite healthy sweetener is Lakanto, a zero calorie sweetener.
What is Lakanto?
Lakanto is made from Non-GMO erythritol and the supersweet extract of the luo han guo fruit, also known as monk fruit. Unlike sugar and the other sweeteners, Lakanto does not feed the harmful yeast (candida) and bacteria in your body. Lakanto is also safe for diabetics.
Lakanto all-natural sweetener, has:
Zero glycemic index
No influence on your blood sugar and insulin release
A one-to-one ratio with sugar — so it’s easy to measure and use
There are two varieties of Lakanto available Golden and Classic. Golden Lakanto has a flavor similar to brown sugar or molasses. Classic Lakanto has a flavor similar to table sugar. Lakanto is available online and in health food stores.
4 Healthy Lemonade Recipes
Homemade lemonade is easy to make and there are many wonderful fruits and herbs you can add to your lemonade to boost its nutritional profile and flavor. So enjoy the healthy benefits of lemons and try one of these great lemonade recipes.
Lemon Chia Fresca
Lemon Chia Fresca is a wonderfully refreshing drink. Per gram chia seeds contain 8x more Omega 3 than salmon, 6x more calcium than milk, 3x more iron than spinach, 15x more magnesium than broccoli, 2x more fiber than bran flakes, 6x more protein than kidney beans and 4x more phosphorus than whole milk.
1/8 cup organic lemon juice
1/8 cup Lakanto Sweetener
1/8 cup organic chia seeds
5 cup filtered water
Add all ingredients to a large pitcher. Mix well.
Leave on counter for 15 minutes and mix again.
Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes or more. (1)
Lavender has a calming effect on the body including anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, anti-fungal, antiseptic, antibacterial and antispasmodic effects as well.
3 cup water
1/2 cup Lakanto
3/4 cup organic lemon juice (about 3 large lemons)
1 tablespoon organic dried lavender flowers
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Bring 1 cup water and Lakanto to a boil. Remove from the heat; add lavender. Cover and let stand for 2-4 hours.
Strain, discarding lavender. Stir in lemon juice, vanilla and remaining water. Chill; serve over ice.
Oranges are so common that we may take them for granted. Make no mistake they are a nutritional powerhouse. Oranges are rich in limonoids, a potent cancer fighter. They also help to prevent kidney stones. Oranges contain vitamin A, C, E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, folate, pantothenic acid and choline. They are also rich in calcium, phosphorous and magnesium.
3/4 cup Lakanto
1-1/4 cup hot water
1 tablespoon organic lemon peel
1 tablespoon organic orange peel
3/4 cup organic lemon juice (5 lemons)
3/4 cup organic orange juice (2-3 oranges)
3 cup cold water
In a large saucepan, combine Lakanto and 3/4 C. hot water; cook and stir over medium heat until Lakanto is dissolved. Cool slightly.
Stir in citrus peels and juices. Let stand, covered, 1 hour. Strain syrup; refrigerate, covered, until cold.
To serve, fill glasses or pitcher with an equal amount of fruit syrup and water. Add ice and serve.
Turmeric and Ginger Lemonade
Turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant rich food. PubMed has over 4,000 studies on this amazing superfood. Some of Its health benefits include diabetes support, mood support and pain relief.
2 cup water
½ cup organic lemon juice
½ teaspoon organic turmeric powder
½ teaspoon organic ginger powder
1/8 teaspoon organic ground black pepper
Mix all ingredients in a pitcher.
Add Lakanto, stevia or other sweeteners to taste.
Each of these homemade lemonades boasts a number of unique health benefits. Try your favorite one, or even better, try all of them!
(1) McFarland, E. (n.d.) Lemon Chia Fresca & Chia Gel Recipe.