If you tell a person to take six to eight glasses of water every day, he might not take it. But, if you tell him to take six to eight glasses of any fruit juice, he would probably take ten glasses of it! Beverages are appreciated for their flavour and for the action of certain ingredients, which some may contain. Some are also a source of energy and a few provide significant amounts of minerals and vitamins. Certain drinks like milk shakes and cold coffee have protein in the form of milk in them.
Since the hoardings by the road are heralding summers by pointing out to us that ‘thirsty times’ have come and ‘refreshing drinks’ are needed to cool off, let us see what exactly these cold drinks have in store for us.
The market is absolutely flooded with synthetic soft drinks. Every now and then there is a fresh addition to the already expanding list of such drinks. The labels lime, lemon and lemonade are often used for products that have never seen a lemon. Indeed there are many synthetic ‘ades’ and ‘colas which often contain little more than glucose or sugar, some citric or tartaric acid and colouring or flavouring agents. For appearance or flavour a certain minimal amount of fruit pulp may be added. Soft drinks usually contain little or no vitamins or minerals. In general, they are scarcely more than an agreeable - but often an expensive - way of taking fluids. But then there are some new ‘health’ drinks that have entered the market – the contents are listed and you can decide what vitamin or mineral you need! For the weight conscious, there are ‘diet’ drinks as well.
Fresh homemade nimbu paani, squashes and fruit or vegetable juices are good sources of mainly vitamins C and A. Milk based beverages have nearly all the nutrients. So it follows that any cold drink made from them would be a nutritious one. Good examples would be lassi, thandai and milk shakes.
Jal jeera is yet another very well liked beverage in the scorching heat of summer afternoons. This drink neither costs much nor does it provide much nutrition. It is tasty, satiates the thirst, and has a carminative action. Likewise for saunf sherbat. Bael sherbet is good for constipation (a common problem in the summers) too, apart from providing all the nutrients like energy, vitamins and minerals. This is true for all the vegetable and fruit juices prepared at home.
Lastly, we come to coffee and tea. These beverages, though more consumed in winters, do get a certain amount of importance in summers too. Cold coffee is very well known and well liked. The cold version of tea is the iced lemon tea. Both these drinks have a stimulating effect on the human system, which includes relief from the fatigue.