• NOURISHMENT

    Refresh and Restore With Agua Fresca

    By Elle Penner, RD MPH

With heat and humidity on the rise, staying hydrated these hot summer months can be a challenge, especially if you like to take your workouts outdoors. Lucky for you, staying hydrated this summer just got a whole lot tastier thanks to this refreshing, subtly sweet watermelon agua fresca! Traditional agua fresca typically contains added sugar, but this version requires only the natural sweetness of ripe watermelon, which at nearly 92 percent water is ultra-hydrating on its own. A little water, ice, a squeeze of lime and a few fresh mint leaves transforms this favorite summertime fruit into a refreshing summertime drink everyone will enjoy.

Not only is this agua fresca hydrating and low in sugar, but it’s also full of antioxidants like lycopene, vitamin C and vitamin A, all of which fight free radicals, which wreak havoc on cells and lead to inflammation. Lycopene, the potent carotenoid that gives watermelon its beautiful color, is also found in our cell membranes. Studies suggest this important compound can be protective against everything from heart disease to cancer to premature skin aging. Watermelon comes in a variety of colors but ripe, red-fleshed watermelon contains the most lycopene, so make sure your fruit is vibrant red and fully ripe inside to get the most nutritional benefit.

Half of a medium-size watermelon will make a generous batch, about 8 cups or six to eight adult servings. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to a few days, or freeze into popsicles for a subtly sweet treat on a hot day!

Makes: 8 cups
Serves: 6-8

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ medium watermelon cut into chunks (about 6-8 cups)
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups ice
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • 4 sprigs fresh mint

DIRECTIONS

Combine watermelon and water in a blender and pulse until the chunks of watermelon are pureed. Add ice and lime juice, cover and blend on high until smooth. Just before serving, add 3 to 4 torn mint leaves to the bottom of each glass. Fill glass two-thirds full with agua fresca and top with crushed ice. Garnish with small slice of watermelon, lime wedge or additional mint, if desired. Leftover agua fresca can be stored in a covered pitcher in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Photo/video credit: Elle Penner, RD MPH

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Author

Elle Penner, MPH RD

Elle Penner is a registered dietitian and former lead dietitian at MyFitnessPal, turned full-time writer, recipe creator, photographer, blogger and mama. Her favorite things include her camera, carbs, sweaty workouts and her son.

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