The benefits of drinking water rather than sugary beverages like soda or “juice” are pretty obvious. It’s natural, it’s pure, and your body requires it to function healthily. But when it comes to downing the required amount of H20 to stay healthy and hydrated…well, as thirst quenching as water may be, sometimes it’s nice to have a boost of flavor to keep things interesting.
So what’s a person to do who wants a little flavor in their drink but doesn’t want to sacrifice their health for it?
Try water infusion recipes.
Herb and fruit infused water recipes are a delicious and healthy alternative to sugary drinks and will help you power through the day without the ill effects of chemically processed sodas and juices. But you don’t have to take our word for it. Check out what these health experts had to say about the benefits of drinking fruit infused water and learn some of their favorite recipes while you’re at it.
Save Your Skin!
Not only can water help you to stay hydrated to blast through your day and avoid fatigue. It can also help you look better and feel better, too. Sugar can raise insulin levels, which also increases inflammation throughout the body. Kicking off a chain reaction, inflammation adversely affects collagen and elastin in the skin, contributing to premature aging, wrinkles, and crow’s feet.
Health consultant, Diane Randall, states, “I drink water because it's good for me. I have evolved from the sugary drinks because they are bad for my health. I have spent many years figuring this out. I drink fermented drinks like kefir and Kombucha, green tea (decaf), and if I want orange juice, I may squeeze it periodically because it takes a lot of oranges for one glass of orange juice. Water has helped me and others to clear the toxins from my body, I have beautiful clear skin and you can shed the pounds because the water helps to keep one full. I teach a class called ‘Addicted to Sugar! How to Kick the Habit’ where I educate the public on switching the can of soda for more water and drinks that contain natural sugars (honey, real plant agave, brown rice syrup) all in moderation---- I encourage drinking water for the most part.”
Simple and Citrus-y
Citrus fruits offer a whole host of health benefits, but let’s face it, it’s a little difficult to consume a lemon or lime on their own without puckering up. However, diluted with water, they add a zesty boost to your water’s flavor. By far and away, lemon is probably the most popular fruit used to infuse water.
Marian Rothschild, author of Look Good Now and Always, shares, "Gotta admit, I am a health food junkie. I drink water all day long while working at my desk and at the gym while working out, but my favorite way to drink filtered water is with a slice of Meyer's lemon. That particular fruit has such a delicious flavor, it makes drinking water more like a treat. Couple that flavor with the benefits of drinking lemon water and I’m happy and hydrated!”
Simple, healthy, refreshing, and best of all – easy! You can mix this one up in the time it takes to slice a lemon and pour a glass of water – and she isn’t lying about the benefits of drinking lemon water. She’s not the only one who touts the benefits of water, too. Holistic health coach, Kimberly Petrosino, from Happy Healthy Hearts, also recommends adding lemon to your water:
“I recommend adding fruit, especially lemon, to water any time of day. Many people in the wellness industry say it's important to start the day with a glass of lemon water because I revitalizes them for the day to come. I actually feel like lemon water at the end of the day helps me relax. Every person is different. I also find that adding mint to my lemon water helps me digest a big meal and eliminates that bloated feeling.”
Lemon also pairs well with a number of different fruits – and vegetables and herbs – to make for a delicious, refreshing beverage:
Jordan McMullen from Skinny in the City, a NYC-based vegan food and fitness blog, recommends adding more to your lemon water. “I always drink water with lemon, lemons are not only a great resource for vitamin C, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium but they are also great for keeping your body alkaline, aiding in digestion, and boosting the immune system. My favorite lemon water recipe is with lemon, cucumber, and mint which addto the many benefits of drinking lemon water alone.”
"Doctor" Your Water
You’ve heard the phrase, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”? Well, they may not recommend infusing your water with apples, but several doctors and naturopaths strongly recommend the benefits of infusing water with fruit and other natural additives.
Jennie Ann Freiman, MD says, “I am a gynecologist and healthy lifestyle junkie. I would say hands down, the best healthy alternative to sugary drinks involving water is coconut water. It's low in sugar, carbs and fat. Being isotonic, it's nature's Gatorade, and boosts immunity. For DIYers, add slices of any citrus fruit or cucumbers to add a nice taste.
Water figures in prominently in natural medicine, too. Hydration is the key to staying healthy and sprucing up your water with natural sweeteners can provide you with hydration and quell that sweet tooth, too!
An ANCB Board Certified Traditional Naturopath, Cammi Balleck says, “I recommend my patients drink a lot of water. One way is to add Sweet Drops (liquid Stevia, a natural, calorie-free sugar-substitute. You can get it in many flavors, my favorite is the berry or watermelon in my water. Kids love the root beer one and it’s a great way to get them to drink more water too.
"Honey," I Drank My Water
Man (and woman) cannot live on fruit alone. Sometimes, you can get a sweet assist from honey to add some more flavor to your beverage – and some nutrients, too!. According to Jessica Schindler at the National Honey Board, “Honey is an all-natural ingredient produced by bees from the nectar of plants and flowers. You can’t get any more natural than that. And more than ever, consumers are finding ways to utilize this all-natural sweeter throughout their day. Not only does honey provide a unique flavor note to delicious beverage, but because honey is slightly sweeter than sugar, you are able to use less, reducing the number of total calories. In addition to honey tasting great, it also has functional benefits that it can provide to your drink. Whether you need to boost your energy for a workout or beat an afternoon slump at the office, honey can be your go-to energy source.
With approximately 17 grams of carbohydrates and just 64 calories per table spoon, honey is an effective, all-natural energy booster that’s ideal for a quick pick-me-up. Simply add honey to your water bottle for a little extra energy throughout the day.”
Need further proof of honey’s super-charging powers when mixed with water? Jessica’s colleague at the National Honey Board, Katie Valentine noted that, “Honey provides a great alternative and even has natural energy boosting properties which makes it a great substitute to other beverages. Athletes such as Gold Medalist Kerri Walsh use honey to get a quick surge of energy during a match! Next time you reach for a simple bottle of water, add some honey to it – it might give you that much-needed athletic boost!”
The National Honey Board has also created a number of recipes that may be awesome to try out should you have a hankering for honey with your water:
Creative Conconctions: Exotic Ideas for Infusing Your Water
Looking for something a little more exotic and unusual? Try out these anti-oxidant treats offered up by experts that will have you feeling refreshed and hydrated all day long.
Ginger Snap Your Day
"Infuse/marinate four cups of water with slices of fresh organic cucumber, mint leaves, and sliced fresh ginger root.Marinate over night, strain and sip all day long."
Recommended by Janet E Verney, CHC
Festive & Fun
"In a pretty flute, add a splash of white grapefruit juice, add sparkling lemon or lime water, drop in a fresh strawberry. It is like having champagne without the alcohol."
Recommended by Janet E Verney, CHC
Spice Up Your Day
"Add some basil, cayenne pepper, grapefruit and cucumber to water. Basil for anti-oxidants, cayenne pepper helps boost metabolism, grapefruit adds some sweetness, potassium and vitamin C, and cucumber helps promote collagen growth in skin."
Recommended by Seth Maynard, Fitness & Cycling Instructor, SWERVE Fitness in New York City