A refreshing and hydrating drink you'll want to have all year long
Lemons have become an indispensable item in our kitchen. They are so versatile we can use them in just about anything. While the majority of us use them for their incredible scent and flavor addition to dishes, we can't forget what we know them most for: making lemonade.
During our trip to Mexico (read my part 1 recap here), my husband and I were served a delicious agua fresca that was perfectly flavored: it was a chia lemonade. Each sip had that fresh, acidic flavor of lemons and without being overly sweet. It was SO refreshing I kept wanting more during our meal! When we returned home, I wanted something refreshing to hydrate from our long day of traveling and all I kept wanting was this specific drink once again. So, because I couldn’t actually have that very same one, I decided to recreate my own.
Some versions of lemonade are usually clear and though there are varieties of more dense or cloudy lemonades, I wanted to make mine that had that bright color of pure lemon juice but the flavor of a refreshing agua fresca. By blending frozen pineapple chunks, it gave me the look and taste I was looking for without adding additional sweetener.
Lemons have long been reported to offer many health benefits, such as detoxifying your body and promoting weight loss. And while we all wish a simple citrus fruit can magically live up to these claims, they simply lack scientific evidence to back them up. Some of these studies demonstrate the liver’s ability to filter out unwanted toxins by stimulating the liver's enzymes but these studies just haven’t really been confirmed in humans (4). Other studies have been conducted in Japanese people and Korean woman regarding lipid metabolism and reducing body fat but due to certain controls and limitations within each study, more research is needed to confirm such effects (2, 3).
On the bright side, lemons are an excellent source of Vitamin C and provide potassium. Potassium is an important electrolyte that helps maintain water balance and regulates neuromuscular activity. It may also reduce the risk of developing hypertension. The peel of lemons also contain an antioxidant called limonene, which has been shown to have anti-carcinogenic properties, but more research is needed as this has not been conducted in humans (1).
Whether you love lemon slices in warm water as your morning ritual or simply love adding a splash of lemon flavor to your beverage, I say "Fantastic!" and continue to enjoy. And the next time you’re craving a refreshing drink, be sure to give this delicious drink a try and boost your Vitamin C intake for the day.
Chia Pineapple Lemonade
Serves: Makes about 1 Liter
Total Time: 10 - 15 minutes prep (1 - 2 hours if allow to rest in refrigerator)
- ¾ cup frozen pineapple chunks
- ½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 2 - 3 lemons)
- 4 cups filtered water, divided
- 2 teaspoons black chia seeds
- 1 – 2 teaspoons light agave nectar (per taste)
In a high speed blender, blend frozen pineapple chunks with 1 ½ cup filtered water and blend until smooth.
In a pitcher, pour the fresh squeezed lemon juice and chia seeds and stir well.
Combine the pineapple juice, agave nectar and 2 ½ cups filtered water to pitcher and stir for about 20 – 30 seconds until the chia seeds are well dispersed*.
Refrigerate for about 1 – 2 hours to allow chia seeds to expand or you may enjoy as is. Stir before serving.
* It is normal for chia seeds to sink to the bottom of the container. Some will float to the top.
- Elegbede JA, M. T. (1993, June). Effects of anticarcinogenic monoterpenes on phase II hepatic metabolizing enzymes. Carcinogenesis, 14(6), 1221-3. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8508509
- Kato, Y. D. (2014). Effect on Blood Pressure of Daily Lemon Ingestion and Walking. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4003767/
- Kim MJ, H. J. (2015, May). Lemon detox diet reduced body fat, insulin resistance and serum hs-CRP level without hematological changes in overweight Korean women. Nutrition Research, 35(5), 409-20. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25912765
- Terpstra AH, L. J. (2002). The hypocholesterolemic effect of lemon peels, lemon pectin, and the waste stream material of lemon peels in hybrid F1B hamsters. European Journal of Nutrition, 41(1), 19-26. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11990004