I am often asked, “What’s one easy thing I can do for my health?” My reply is always, “drink more water!” We all know that by increasing our water intake it supports our body to flush out toxins, boosts metabolism, improve and intestinal health. Water is the medium in that all other nutrients are found and without enough, we compromise our health.
Water is the primary component in all of your body’s fluids such as blood, lymph, and digestive juices. Water transports electrolytes and mineral salts that aid your body in sending electric currents and messages so that is can perform as we want it to. Water is involved in the major functions of our body, which include: absorption, digestion, circulation, and elimination.
Medical research has linked a variety of chronic health problems such as chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, heartburn, migraines, muscular dystrophy, back pain, and high blood pressure, and cholesterol with dehydration. 3-4 glasses of water a day is shown to not be enough to lower the risk of some health concerns. The bottom line, we must increase our water intake!
The thing I hear the most is that water is boring. It’s simply just boring to drink. Infused waters are a great way to add interest and variety to your water while providing health benefits. Here is how to make infused waters, 7 flavor combinations, and the benefits of their nutrients to get you started.
How to Make Infused Water:
1) Start with clean produce. I always encourage people to buy the best quality ingredients they can for taste, nutrient density, and to eliminate potential chemical stressors that disrupt hormone balance and immune function.
This means looking for foods that are as whole, close to nature, local, and free from chemicals, pesticides, preservatives, and additives as possible. I appreciate that buying local, organic, and in season is not always possible therefore if you need to be selective about what you buy here are some tips to help:
- Buying foods in season are more affordable, download my What’s in Season Rejoice Reference Guide to aid in your meal planning
- Download a copy of the Clean Fifteen, Dirty Dozen Rejoice reference guide to help with your choices
- Download this Apple Cider Vinegar Produce Wash for non-organic produce to remove pesticides & toxic residue.
2) Chop your ingredients to the size you like and what fits best within the container you are using. I like to use glass containers with a lid to keep it clean and to help infuse the water. It is your choice if you want to peel your fruit and vegetables. Again, if using the peel I would ensure the food is well cleaned. Also by leaving on the rinds of the citrus the water can taste more bitter so you may want to pair it with a sweeter fruit like berries to balance the taste. You can remove the rind as well, but I prefer to leave it on as it contains up to 10x more vitamin C than the juice and is rich in bioflavonoids that are powerful in reducing levels of oxidative stress in the body.
3) Fill up your produce-filled glass container, with filtered water. Add in what I like to call Water Enhancers! Some of my favorites are grated turmeric, easy make-ahead green tea ice cubes (literally every Sunday I make a pot of green tea, let it cool, and fill my ice cube tray and viola! Green tea ice cubes to add all week long), a scoop of greens powder to support detoxification and of course chia seeds. If you want to learn more about the benefits of chia seeds check out my article on What’s the Deal with Chia.
4) Place the lid on your container and put the water into the fridge. I like to let it sit for a few hours for the flavors to really come alive, then pour and enjoy. I refill the container with water about 1-3 times more, but be aware the flavor will become slightly weaker with each reuse.
7 Water Infused Combinations:
1) Green Tea, Pomegranate & Pear: Slice one pair, about 2-3 tbsp. of pomegranate seeds and pop in 2-4 green tea ice cubes based on the size of your container.
Health: Green tea is great for boosting metabolism, Pomegranates are rich in antioxidants and pears are 6 grams of fiber, which promotes healthy digestion, helps satiety and blood sugar regulation.
2) Blackberry, Orange & Sage: slice one small orange (any orange will do), ¼ cup of blackberries and 1 sage leaves.
Health: Blackberries are full of vitamin C, E and are high in fiber supporting healthy digestive function. Oranges offer powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, while Sage contains antioxidant enzymes that when combined with its bioflavonoids it can be useful in reducing oxygen-based damage to cells.
3) Grapefruit, Cinnamon & Thyme: Slice half a large grapefruit into thin slices; add I cinnamon stick and 1-2 sprigs of thyme.
Health: Grapefruit contains lycopene which is a carotenoid phytonutrient, along with high amounts of vitamin C and A that support a well-functioning immune system. Cinnamon is used to helping with regulating blood sugars and anti-inflammatory properties. Thymol and volatile oil are the components in thyme that have been used for antimicrobial and respiratory benefits.
4) Peach, Basil, Lime & Dried Flowers: Slice one peach, add 3-4 basil leaves, 1 lime sliced, and ½ tsp. dried flowers of your choice (I use a combination of lavender and rose petals I buy from my local organic market).
Health: Peaches have a gentle laxative effect that can maintain healthy bowls and high boron content for bone health. The lime and basil contain a flavonoid phytonutrient that provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits to our cells. Finally, depending on where you look some claim benefits to flowers such as lavender promotes a state of relaxation. For me, honestly adding flowers in is more of a mental boost. It’s beautiful is smells nice and I like the floral notes it brings to a simple cup of water. This is a personal preference if you want to try adding these in as well.
5) Papaya, Cucumber and Chia: ½ a cup of papaya cubes, 1/3 cup of cucumber slices, and 1/3 tsp. of chia seeds.
Health: Papaya contains papain, which is a protein digestive enzyme that supports digestion and inflammation. Papaya also has calcium and potassium that together can reduce puffiness and bloat for a youthful appearance (bonus). We all know cucumber is amazing for the skin due to its hydration benefits and chia gives a dose of fiber to this drink.
6) Apple, Cucumber & Ginger: 1 small green apple sliced thinly. ½ cucumber sliced and a one-inch piece of ginger grated or sliced.
Health: Apples contain soluble and insoluble fiber that helps to bind toxins and remove them from the body. Cucumbers also have phytonutrients what are valuable antioxidants. Cucumbers also contain molybdenum which is a trace mineral needed to keep bones and teeth healthy and strong. Ginger is best known for its potent anti-inflammatory effects and its ability to soothe the gut.
7) Watermelon, Cucumber & Mint: ½ cup of watermelon, ¼ cup of sliced cucumber, and 2 sprigs of mint.
Health: Watermelon has beneficial effects on the body’s fluid balance, promoting youthful skin while reducing water retention. Cucumber is again great for your skin and Mint also has phytonutrient properties, which give it antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties. I hope you enjoy these infused water combinations. I love making two different kinds on Sunday for the week ahead. Remember to get creative with infused waters, there is no right or wrong way to combine your flavors! Just follow the guidelines above (i.e. remember the citrus rinds can make it bitter), then get creative and have fun! I would love to hear your favorite infused water, so be sure to leave a comment below with your favorite combos.
What’s your favorite water combination?