Not only lower in sugar, sparkling water flavored with fruit juices and botanicals lets you load up on phytochemicals with serious health-boosting power. What’s more, opting for naturally flavored sodas is a smart move for those looking to cut back on alcohol.
Even if you’re not a daily soda-sipper, there are health risks associated with soft drinks. There’s evidence that sweetened sodas may play a role in the development of major health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity, in addition to weakening bone health.
Even diet soda may spell trouble for your health, according to recent research. In a study published in the journal Stroke in 2017, people who drank diet soda daily were almost three times more likely to develop stroke and dementia (compared to those who did not).
Here are six good-for-you ingredients to add to your favorite fizzy water today:
To put a healthy twist on ginger ale, try spicing up your club soda with a splash of ginger syrup. Long prized for its medicinal properties, ginger contains a number of compounds that may help to reduce inflammation. Some studies even suggest that regular ginger consumption may benefit people with conditions like diabetes and osteoarthritis.
You can buy ready-made ginger juice or syrup at many grocery stores, or create your own juice or syrup (by boiling fresh ginger, water, and a bit of sugar).
2- Grapefruit Juice
One of the most refreshing soda substitutes, grapefruit-juice-spiked seltzer helps increase your intake of vitamin C. Along with offering antioxidant effects, vitamin C plays a key role in immune defense. In fact, research indicates that consuming vitamin C may significantly reduce the incidence of the common cold in people who are physically active, as well as shorten the duration of colds in the general population.
Preliminary research also shows that getting your fill of grapefruit juice may help curb weight gain and keep your blood sugar in check. Furthermore, breathing in the bright scent of grapefruit essential oil (found in the peel) may help lift your mood.
Another top source of vitamin C, berries are also packed with compounds known as anthocyanins. Emerging research suggests that anthocyanins may enhance heart health in a number of ways, such as by fighting the buildup of artery-clogging plaque.
In a study published in the journal Circulation in 2013, for example, researchers looked at data on 93,600 women, all of whom completed questionnaires about their diet every four years for 18 years. The study’s authors found that women who ate the most blueberries and strawberries had a 32% reduction in their risk of heart attack, compared to women who ate those berries once a month or less.
You can puree berries in a blender or create your own berry syrup by cooking up a combination of your preferred berry, lemon or lime juice, and a bit of sweetener (if desired).
4- Watermelon Juice
A perfect alternative to sugary summer drinks, sparkling water with watermelon juice is rich in an antioxidant compound called lycopene. A number of studies have shown that lycopene may help protect against prostate cancer, as well as improve heart health.
In a small study published in the American Journal of Hypertension in 2014, for instance, consumption of watermelon appeared to significantly reduce blood pressure in overweight individuals.
After pureeing a few chunks of seeded watermelon, use a strainer to remove the pulp and then add the juice to your seltzer. For extra flavor—and a bonus dose of vitamin C—try squeezing some fresh lime juice into your soda.
5- Pineapple Juice
For a tropical soda substitute, try mixing your seltzer with pineapple juice (or, if you’re seeking a frothier sip, a dollop of blended pineapple). In addition to supplying vitamin C, pineapple is the only naturally available source of bromelain: a mixture of enzymes said to reduce inflammation.
While research on the potential benefits of bromelain is fairly limited, studies suggest that it shows promise in the treatment of conditions like osteoarthritis and common infections like bronchitis and sinusitis. It may also help stimulate the immune system.
6- Cherry Juice
A popular remedy for preventing flare-ups of gout, tart cherry juice may help tame inflammation and soothe chronic pain. Research on its possible health benefits includes a preliminary study published in Antioxidants in 2016, which found that tart cherry extracts may help combat oxidative stress.
To make your own tart cherry spritzer, combine the juice with club soda and use fresh or frozen cherries for garnish. Fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice also makes a great addition for those who love that sweet-tart flavor.
Chudnovskiy R, Thompson A, Tharp K, Hellerstein M, Napoli JL, Stahl A. “Consumption of clarified grapefruit juice ameliorates high-fat diet induced insulin resistance and weight gain in mice.” PLoS One. 2014 Oct 8;9(10):e108408.
Kuehl KS. “Cherry juice targets antioxidant potential and pain relief.” Med Sport Sci. 2012;59:86-93.
Pase MP, Himali JJ, Beiser AS, et al. “Sugar- and Artificially Sweetened Beverages and the Risks of Incident Stroke and Dementia: A Prospective Cohort Study.” Stroke. 2017;48:1139-1146.
Pavan R, Jain S, Shraddha, Kumar A. “Properties and therapeutic application of bromelain: a review.” Biotechnol Res Int. 2012;2012:976203.
Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.