5 Easy Water Infusion Recipes

Courtesy Sara Vance

Proper hydration is fundamental to every aspect of our metabolism — from digestion and detoxification to the delivery of nutrients and the optimal functioning of all of our organs and tissues.

But an estimated 75 percent of the population may be slightly dehydrated all the time, often referred to as “chronic dehydration.” Studies show that just a 3 percent drop in hydration can lead to a 2 percent drop in calorie expenditure.

Also, the body can confuse thirst for hunger, so dehydration can lead to cravings. Some other signs that you might be chronically dehydrated include: headaches, fatigue, constipation, bad breath, joint pain, asthma and dry or wrinkled skin.

Poor hydration status can also elevate cholesterol and blood pressure, and because dehydration can make our blood thicker, it can raise our risk of a heart attack and stroke. Plus, mild dehydration can make us more susceptible to get acutely dehydrated, which can be life-threatening.

The average adult needs approximately eight to 12 glasses of water a day, but according to the CDC, 43 percent of Americans only drink four glasses of water a day. A recent Harvard study found that a quarter of kids and teens drank no water all day long.

If you find plain water boring, try making some infused water, also referred to as spa water. Adding herbs and fruit to water also adds vitamins, minerals, electrolytes and natural flavor — without all the sugar found in most sodas and juices.

Water Infusion is also great for people trying to wean themselves off sodas, juices and other sweetened beverages. A recent study found that drinking just one sweet beverage a day can increase the risk of diabetes by 17 to 24 percent, so swapping out one sweetened beverage a day for a glass of water could lower the risk.

How to Make Water Infusions
Pick your favorite fruit (or vegetables) and herbs. My favorite herb is mint — it just seems to go with everything. I always make sure to use organic produce, especially for berries or if I include the rinds, which can offer a lot of flavor and nutrients, but can also contain pesticides if not organic.

Rinse the herbs and produce well, slice or dice and combine them together in a glass jar. Add a pinch of high-quality salt, cover and shake or stir to combine, then refrigerate for three to four hours or overnight to infuse the flavors.

Pineapple, Mint and Coconut
* 2 quarts of filtered water (or  replace one cup of the water with one cup of coconut water)
* 1 core of a pineapple, plus 1 to 2 long slices of pineapple flesh
* 3 sprigs of fresh mint (or 1/4 cup of leaves)
* 3 to 4 slices of coconut flesh (fresh or frozen)

Optional: 1/8 teaspoon, or a pinch, of pink Himalayan salt

* 2 quarts of filtered water
* 1 organic lemon, sliced thinly
* 1/2 of an organic orange or grapefruit, sliced thinly

Optional: add mint and 1/8 teaspoon, or a pinch, of pink Himalayan salt

Strawberry Basil
* 2 quarts of filtered water
* 1 cup of organic strawberry slices
* One small bunch of fresh basil

Optional: 1/8 teaspoon, or a pinch, of pink Himalayan salt

Cucumber, Ginger and Mint
* 2 quarts of filtered water
* 3 to 4 sprigs of fresh mint
* 1 small cucumber, thinly sliced
* 4 to 5 thin slices of peeled fresh ginger. If you want a stronger ginger taste, put the ginger into a saucepan with one cup of water, bring to a boil and drop heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes. Allow to cool, then add to your water.

Optional: 1/8 teaspoon, or a pinch, of pink Himalayan salt

Watermelon Rosemary (or mint)
* 2 quarts of filtered water
* 1 cup of watermelon balls or chunks
* 1 to 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary (or mint)

Optional: 1/8 teaspoon, or a pinch, of pink Himalayan salt

Store your spa water in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours. If you plan on keeping citrus water for more than 24 hours, remove the fruit slices after 12 hours so it doesn’t get bitter. If you have extra spa water, you can use it as a base for smoothies, or pour it into ice-cube trays to make infused ice cubes.

To boost your hydration even more, when serving, stir in a couple of teaspoons of chia seeds to your glass and let them soak for a few minutes to hydrate.

Note: Adding the Himalayan salt is optional. You can also use Celtic or another unrefined sea salt. Natural, unprocessed salt helps to bring out the flavors and adds minerals. But if you do not have high-quality unprocessed salt, I do not recommend substituting regular table salt.
Sara Vance

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