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Lemonade, Anyone?

lemonadeIn the United States, the month of June is generally associated with abundant sunshine. The refreshing beverage lemonade is also known to help people stay cool during warm summer months. The recipe is easy to make from scratch and the beverage offers some health benefits. Lemon water is known to keep people hydrated, helps aid in digestion, supplies a healthy dose of vitamin C, provides a potassium boost, helps prevent kidney stones, and more. Additionally, lemon juice has been used medicinally for hundreds of years and is a rich source of beneficial phytochemicals. When making lemonade, one must watch sugar levels. Traditional granulated sugar can lead to weight gain, blood sugar issues, and increase the risk of medical conditions such as heart disease.

Some traditional recipes call for a ratio of one cup of sugar to one cup of water to make a simple syrup. Then, more water and lemon juice are added to dilute the syrup. Since lemonade is often highly sweetened, it’s important to reduce amounts of cane sugar due to the negative effects associated with its intake. Many newer recipes call for powdered stevia, a natural and leaf-derived sweetener, to replace standard granulated cane sugar. While FDA approved forms of stevia are generally considered safe for consumption when used in moderation, it’s best to check with a doctor before use of the product if food allergies, gastrointestinal issues, or other medical conditions exist.

Refreshing summertime lemonade
Serves 4

Ingredients:

• 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 8 lemons)
• 4 cups cold water
• 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of powdered stevia (depending upon sweetness desired)
• A few sprigs of fresh mint (optional)
• Ice

Directions:

Mix the first three ingredients in a pitcher to dissolve stevia. Add the sprigs of fresh mint. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Serve in individual glasses over ice.

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