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With summer ready to blaze its time to stock chilled beverages. Over the past few years, aerated drinks have become the favourite beverages due to the influence of advertising, convenience and the rise of 'fizz' culture. But now rising awareness about the health hazards of colas and other soft drinks has prompted a search for alternatives. Look no beyond for answers than our very own traditional summer drinks such as mango panna, nimbu paani, kokam sherbet etc. Filled with natural goodness, taste, health benefits and free of any toxins, our traditional summer beverages are ideal summer coolers.

During summer, our body looses a lot of water in the form of sweat and hence gets dehydrated quickly. Fluid intake helps rehydrate the body and maintain its temperature. Doctors therefore recommend increasing fluid intake as an important way to beat the heat. However, drinking fluids with excess sugar, toxins and empty carbohydrates is not the ideal way of quenching thirst. Indian food culture is rich with season specific foods and drinks that burst with good health. Our traditional summer drinks are a treat to the taste buds, full of nutrition, cost-effective and ecologically safe.

The easiest to make natural summer drinks would be nimbu paani and buttermilk. Nimbu paani has a great rehydrating effect and the goodness of Vitamin C. Buttermilk tempered with jeera and coriander leaves is an excellent cooling and digestive drink; it helps maintain the balance of digestive tract. Raw Mango panna, kokam sherbet and amla sherbet are fruit based drinks that taste great and are nutritious. Raw mango is high in Vitamin C and beta carotene. Kokam, a fruit grown in Konkan area of Maharashtra, Goa and in some parts of Southern India is rich in Vitamin C and anti-oxidants, it has cooling properties, aids digestion and is a blood purifier. Amla is known to have the richest Vitamin C content in the fruit kingdom. It is a good source of iron, phosphorus, carotene, B complex and fiber. Amla is known to prevent and cure sun strokes, acidity, nausea and weakness. Thandaai (milk based dry fruit drink), lassi (yoghurt based drink), jal jeera (cumin, mint and herbs based drink) are some other quintessentially Indian summer drinks.

Home made fruit juices, ice teas and milk shakes are other healthy options for summer. Using the season's fruits, mango and different types of melons, you can rustle up a variety of drinks such as watermelon juice, fruit smoothies, mango lassi and mango milk shake.

Natural ingredients such as khus (vetiver), mint, lemon, jeera (cumin seeds) have cooling and medicinal properties. Khus is a blood purifier and is good for calming nerves. Mint and cumin aid digestion and relive nausea. Khus sherbet and natural drinks with mint, cumin and lemon ingredients make excellent summer drinks. Another refreshing option is coconut water. Coconut water is rich in vitamins and minerals, and acts like a tonic for the sick, old and the malnourished. It is a natural isotonic and aids in maintaining the body's natural fluid levels.

Natural drinks cost as much as or even less than aerated drinks. You can easily make them at home in bulk and keep the entire family refreshed at a much lower cost. As natural drinks are free of artificial flavours, empty carbohydrates and debatable ingredients they are safe for you and also for the environment. So this summer make a wise choice and go natural.


  • Make thandai, kokam, mango panna concentrates and refrigerate them. Whenever you are thirsty, just add water and your refreshing drink is ready. Making in bulk saves you money and time.
  • Carry nimbu paani or other sherbets in a bottle with you whenever you go out. Sip on these whenever you feel thirsty and exhausted.
  • Rather than drinking canned or sweetened fruit juices opt for fresh juices.
  • Make your own flavoured water with mint, lemon or khus.
  • Make date-tamarind chutney and use it as an accompaniment to snack items like chat and vegetable cutlets. The chutney will not only add a tang to your dishes but will also deliver all the goodness of dates.
  • Drinking Vitamin C rich juices like amla, kokam and lemon along with an iron rich break fast to improve iron absorption and over all well being.

Health Initiative from KS Oils