Water is not only a fundamental building block of our cells, but is also the fuel that is needed for nearly every physiological function in our bodies. In fact, over half of the human body is made up of water! Knowing this, it is no surprise that consistently staying hydrated is critical in providing our bodies the resources they need to thrive.
However, tossing back glass after glass of water can quickly become dull, which makes staying hydrated feel like a chore. But don’t worry — we have a solution! Infusing water with fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs is a game changer. By infusing the flavors of fresh produce into your water, staying hydrated is more appealing and definitely tastier. Plus, infused water introduces even more health benefits to your hydration routine.
How to Determine Your Hydration Needs
While it’s commonly believed that eight, 8 ounce glasses of water per day is the standard requirement for remaining hydrated, this isn’t necessarily the case. Everyone’s body and lifestyle is unique, and therefore the amount of water needed to remain hydrated will also vary from person to person.
Drinking eight glasses of water each day is a great start for most people, but there is a simple way to calculate a more individualized water recommendation for your body. Begin by taking your weight (in pounds) and dividing that number in half. The number that you are left with is the recommended number of fluid ounces that you should be drinking in water each day. It is important to note that this calculation is a bare minimum requirement. Be sure to hydrate even more if your day includes exercising, drinking caffeine, being in a warm or dry climate, and other strenuous activities for your body.
Ingredient Choices and Health Benefits
When it comes to infusing your water, there’s only one true requirement: creativity. The beauty of infusing your water lies in the fact that the combinations of fruits, veggies, herbs, and spices you use can be tailored exactly to your taste preferences or what health benefits you hope to achieve.
That being said, there are a few simple tips that will take infusing your water to a new, healthy level. As yummy as your infused water may be, buy organic produce to prevent any pesticides and other chemicals seeping into your water. Another tip to make the most out of your infusing is to buy in-season produce. Not only is this environmentally-friendly and budget-friendly, but in-season produce is also dense in nutrients which will maximize health benefits.
Loaded with antioxidants, key vitamins and minerals, berries are nutritionally dense fruits that provide a variety of health benefits. Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries contain incredibly high concentrations of antioxidants, which help to balance free radicals in the body, decrease inflammation, prevent cancer, and even prevent DNA damage.
Blueberries are particularly high in antioxidants. As if that’s not impressive enough, berries are also helpful in regulating insulin levels and boosting your intake of vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, and more. Just one serving of strawberries contains almost your entire daily recommended intake of vitamin C, which helps support a strong immune system and skin health.
If you’re interested in adding more berries into your diet, check out 6 Power Packed Berries You Should Be Eating and then try out one of our berry-based recipes, such as our Berry Fruit Tarts with Chia Seeds or Triple Berry Hand Pies.
Growing a Green Family/Flickr
Lemons, limes, grapefruits, oranges, kumquats, pomelos, and other citrus fruits offer a balance of sweet and tart to infused water and recipes like Raw Citrus Turmeric Shots or Citrus Carrot Loaf. While it’s common knowledge that citrus fruits are packed with vitamin C and potassium, you may be surprised to learn that the flavonoids that make citrus fruits tangy and delicious have anti-cancer and anti-coagulant properties. Citrus fruits are also shown to help with iron absorption, shorten the duration of colds, help with detoxing, and can inhibit the growth of some bacteria strains in the body. Additionally, infusing citrus into your water is a great way to energize yourself and rev up your metabolism.
Whether you’re looking to calm your digestion, reduce inflammation, relieve muscle pain, prevent memory disorders, fight an infection, or add some spice to your life, ginger can help! This root might not be the most visually appealing food, but it is certainly one of the most beneficial for your body. If the taste of ginger is a bit too bold for you, try combining it with sweeter fruits to mask the pungent flavor
of the ginger in your water.
When it comes to infusing water, integrating herbs such as mint, rosemary, sage, lavender, and cilantro is a great place to start. Mint is helpful for settling indigestion, taking the edge off of headaches, decreasing fatigue, and of course, freshening breath. Rosemary has been known to help with toothaches, relieving gas pains, and replenishing electrolytes. Sage is a natural antiseptic and contains helpful flavonoids that can aid in chronic pain relief. Lavender, the ultra-relaxing herb, of course, provides mild aromatherapy for reducing stress and regulating sleep. Cilantro, on the contrary, is quite energizing and is pumped with antioxidants and vitamins.
Uncovering The Mysteries of Medicinal Herbs is an informative introduction to understanding the diverse world of medicinal herbs and introducing these herbs into your everyday routine. To add some herb-flavored flare to your normal ice cubes, check out How to Make Colorful Ice Cubes.
High Water Content Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are the foundation for any infused water drink. Produce is often accessible, affordable, and multi-purposeful, which means that you likely already have the ingredients for a delicious infused water drink in your kitchen. In choosing your fruits and veggies, prioritize using produce with high water content, because these ingredients’ flavors will seep into your water faster and easier than dense ingredients with low water contents.
Watermelon, pictured above, cantaloupe, pomegranate, celery, cucumbers, carrots, and similar produce items are fantastic bases to infused water. Not only are these foods delicious, but their hydrating water content aids in replenishing electrolytes and transferring important vitamins and minerals into your water. Of course, the options and the various health benefits available from using fresh fruits and veggies are endless.
For more information on the nourishment provided by fresh fruits and veggies, check out Eating the Rainbow: Why Eat A Variety of Colorful Fruits and Vegetables? and 20 Everyday Superfoods You Should Add to Your Grocery List NOW!
Infusing Your Water
Infusing is the process of soaking herbs and other products in order to extract flavors and transfer health benefits. To infuse your water, simply pour yourself a tall glass (or reusable bottle) of water and add a handful of the fruits, veggies, or herbs you have chosen. The longer you allow the products to steep in your water, the stronger the flavors, and the more health benefits you will reap. However, even just a few minutes is enough time for the flavors to begin infusing.
Pro tip: if you want to avoid accidentally drinking herbs and smaller bits of fruits and veggies, try putting your ingredients in an empty tea bag! A tea bag works similarly to an infusion water bottle by keeping your ingredients gathered together and not free floating. If you are specifically interested in creating herb-infused water, check out How to Make Herbal-Infused Water. While the options are endless, the simple recipes below are great starter combinations for infusing your water.
For more unique plant-based recipes, cooking tips, and more, download the Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day!
Lead image source: Shelby Ramminger