Summer beverages, while delicious, tend to be sugar traps and calorie bombs.

Introducing three recipes that are neither: Ginger beer lemonade, strawberry-mint lemonade and cucumber basil sparkling limeade.

Find the recipes here at UC Irvine Health’s Live Well.

All of these beverages make use of honey simple syrup, a more natural sweetener that requires less processing than table sugar.

That said, it is still sugar, says Katie Rankell, director of the UCI Health Weight Management Program, so it should be used in moderation.

However, because it’s higher in fructose than glucose, you can use less for the same sweetening effect as processed white sugar.

Other benefits from the ingredients in these beverages, according to Rankell:
  • Tart lemons and limes are loaded with vitamin C, which has been shown to have anti-aging properties and aid in digestion.
  • Strawberries are rich in flavonoids, which have anti-inflammatory effects and can help lower blood pressure.
  • Cucumber contains tannins, which prevent the accumulation of free radicals and may have a role in reducing the incidence of chronic disease. If you eat them with the skin, you’ll also get more fiber, vitamins and minerals.