6 Healthier Sodas That Are Easy to Make at Home

For a fast and easy wellness makeover, skip the sugary store-bought stuff and make your own healthy soda at home. Not only lower in sugar, but sparkling water flavored with fruit juices and botanicals also 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. 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 2017 study published in the journal Stroke, people who drank diet soda daily were nearly 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:

1

Ginger

Ginger juice soda
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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 and cooking it down to your desired consistency.

2

Grapefruit Juice

Grapefruit juice soda
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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 reduce the incidence of the common cold in people who are physically active by half, 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.

3

Berries

Blueberry juice in soda
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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 2013 study published in the journal Circulation, 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) and reducing it down.

4

Watermelon Juice

Watermelon drink
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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 2014 study published in the American Journal of Hypertension, for instance, the consumption of watermelon appeared to 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

Pineapple juice
Diana Miller/Getty Images

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.

Research has suggested that bromelain 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

Cherry juice
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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 2016 study published in Antioxidants, 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.

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