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Feed Your Face: Skin-Friendly Summer Drinks

By Dr Jessica Wu

Balmy weather and outdoor gatherings call for light, refreshing summertime drinks. But be careful -- fruity cocktails and nonalcoholic drinks are often loaded with sugar, which can throw your blood glucose out of whack and aggravate acne, wrinkles, and rashes. If you’re at a bar, ask the bartender to go easy on syrups, and to skip the sugar rims. Similarly, if you’re ordering lemonade or iced tea, ask if you can have it unsweetened. Better yet, make it yourself at home. Here’s what I’ll be drinking this summer:

Cranberry juice and club soda. Pour equal parts cranberry juice and club soda over ice in a tall glass. Most cranberry “juices” have added sugar or are mixed with grape juice for sweetness. (Check the labels.) Mixing the juice with club soda cuts down on both sweetness and calories. An added benefit is that cranberries are high in ellagic acid, a strong antioxidant that's been shown to reduce sun damage topically and when ingested.

Starbucks Iced Green Tea Lemonade. Order it unsweetened or ask for less syrup. This is a modern twist on the Arnold Palmer. You can make it at home by substituting green tea for black tea. I like to add a sprig of mint.

Sangria. Pour one bottle of a light red wine (merlot, Shiraz, or zinfandel) into a large pitcher. You can also use white wine, but I like red because it has more antioxidants and looks more festive. Cut two oranges into wedges. Squeeze the juice into the pitcher and add the wedges. Add two apples and two firm peaches, cut into chunks, with the skin on. I prefer green apples for the color and crispness. You can also add raspberries or strawberries. Chill for at least two hours before serving. For a lighter drink, or if you like bubbles, add two cups of club soda before serving. Pour into large wine glasses, or short glasses over ice, and add a few pieces of fruit.

What’s your favorite summer drink? Send me your recipe so I can try it and share. Happy first day of summer!

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