Hot, hot, scorching hot,” thought LJ as the summer sun beat down on him. He paused and wiped the sweat from his brow. He had gotten up early, planning to get work done in the vegetable garden before the heat got unbearable. With each passing hour, the ground got drier, making it harder to turn the soil. It was as if the moisture had retreated deeper underground. “But isn’t that what water is supposed to do, thought LJ. “Head down to the roots?” By 10:00, he knew it was time to stop; continuing to work in this temperature could mean trouble.

Annie called from the kitchen, “Hey sweetheart, how about a cool quencher after all that manual labor?” She brought a tray of colorful drinks outside and set them on the table. “It’s comfortable here under the umbrella. Come over and help me evaluate my latest concoctions.”

“You are right on time. I could use a cool libation,” LJ threw his gloves and hat on the table and sat down. “Another new project?” He laughed.

Annie smiled as she handed him a glass filled with ice and a deep rich red drink. Its color was enticing.

“I’ve been developing summer coolers that are low calorie and include fruits and vegetables that combined provide a powerful nutritional punch. The summer sun and heat can zap your energy and cause other types of damage, especially to skin, hair, and eyes, so I am concentrating on drinks that help reduce that damage and boost the immune system. Since we know a healthy immune system is ultimate protection against free radicals that accelerate aging.

This must be a Blackberry Kiwi cooler. I can tell by the blackberry kiwi garnish,” he winked. “This is refreshing, Annie. What else is in it?”

“Thanks for the wink because this one is good for your eyes. I added apple juice, too, which is calorie and fat-free. Apple provides vitamins A, E, C & K, which support eye health. Blackberries and Kiwi also have the same vitamins.

“Now, this emerald beauty is a delicious detox. It consists of Kale, Green Apple, Cucumber, and Ginger,” said Annie as she handed him a sparkling glass of green goodness. “The luscious green color indicates carotenoids, a potent phytonutrient that protects the health and appearance of skin. Recent research shows carotenoids protect the skin against Ultraviolet light exposure, so drink up!”

LJ laughed as he drank, “This one is good too. What’s in the orange drink?”

Annie poured it over ice and handed it to him, “let’s toast to your immune system health with this Strawberry Grapefruit cooler. It’s packed with tons of vitamin C, which aids iron absorption that strengthens our ability to digest food efficiently. And Vitamin B1 in grapefruit improves blood circulation-boosting our immune system’s ability to fight viruses.

Now, I substituted the strawberries in this recipe and replaced them with one peeled grapefruit to make this Tomato, Grapefruit, Watermelon concoction. It is great for after a workout when you’re sweaty. It will cool you down, and the amount of water from the trio helps rehydrate. All three fruits are loaded with vitamin C, which supports our body’s ability to make collagen, an important hair and skin protein. Tomatoes and Watermelon are a source of lycopene, a phytochemical that protects the skin from harmful UV rays. Grapefruit contains spermidine, a compound that slows cell aging.”

“That cools you off, and it’s good too. Which one is next? LJ held out an empty glass.

Annie wrapped her hand around his as she poured the Cantaloupe, Pineapple, and Watermelon drink. “This one might be my favorite because I used honey instead of sugar for this recipe. Cantaloupe has Inositol, a form of vitamin B which helps prevent hair loss and promotes its growth. Pineapple also contains vitamins B1 & 6, like cantaloupe. The presence of vitamin C in Watermelon helps the body use the iron needed for red blood cells to oxygenate hair follicles. All three fruits are fiber-rich and support a healthy immune system.”

LJ nodded, “It might turn out to be my favorite too, but I want to try this lime cooler before I decide. It looks refreshing.” He took the glass from Annie, “This is light and fresh. What’s in it?”

Annie nodded, “I may have saved the best for last because any time you add citrus to a drink, it is going to be refreshing. This Lemongrass and Ginger drink cools you down. Lemongrass has antifungal and antibacterial properties, which support healthy skin. And ginger is rich in antioxidants that support collagen production.”

LJ thoughtfully paused, “They call them coolers for a good reason, and I like all of them. Each is delicious, healthy, and low-calorie. I read recently; Nature is smart; it put the medicine inside the food. These coolers are the perfect example.”

Annie and LJ  are a fictional couple. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.


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