The ingredients not only add flavor, but vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants too.
Water is the single most important nutrient, period. About 60 to 70% of the human body is made of water; and it's required for every single bodily process, including circulation, digestion, and regulating your temperature. So making good old H2O your beverage of choice is a no-brainer. But aside from keeping you properly hydrated, a solid water habit may create a healthy domino effect, too.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that people who obtained much of their daily liquids from plain water rather than other beverages had healthier diets overall, with more fiber and less sugar. Upping your water intake may even offer a weight-loss edge: German researchers found that drinking 2 cups of H2O increased metabolic rate by 30% within 10 minutes; and the effect lasted for more than an hour. If you drink 2 cups four times a day, the uptick in your metabolism could mean you burn an extra 95 extra calories a day, which is the amount you'd burn on a 20-minute walk.
Ok, so you know all the benefits of drinking more water. But what if you're not crazy about the taste? Infusing your water with fruits, veggies, herbs, and spices is a great way to create flavor (without any processed powders or artificial sweeteners). And as a bonus, you'll be adding vitamin, minerals, and antioxidants too.
Below are seven of my favorite ways to perk up a pitcher. Stir any of the following combinations into eight cups of water, chill in the fridge overnight, and then sip away. (Strain before pouring if you don’t want floaty bits in your glass.) Discard the mixture after 24 hours.
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Kiwi, Strawberry, Jalapeno
1 medium kiwi, peeled and sliced, + six sliced strawberries, slightly mashed + ½ teaspoon fresh minced jalapeno
Cucumber, Pomegranate, Mint
Half of a large cucumber, peeled and sliced + ¼ cup of fresh pomegranate arils + 5-6 fresh mint leaves
Ginger, Raspberry, Coconut
½ teaspoon fresh grated ginger + ¼ cup fresh raspberries, slightly mashed + 4-5 pieces of fresh coconut
Basil, Blueberry, Lime
4-5 fresh basil leaves + ¼ cup fresh blueberries, slightly mashed + juice from half of a lime and slices of the other half, seeds removed
Pink Grapefruit, Mandarin, Rosemary
Juice from half a pink grapefruit, and slices of the second half, seeds removed + 1 small peeled mandarin orange, seeds removed, slightly mashed + 1 large sprig of fresh rosemary
Pear, Cinnamon, Ginger
1 very ripe pear, sliced + two large cinnamon sticks + ½ teaspoon fresh grated ginger
Myer Lemon, Papaya, Cardamom
Juice from half a Myer lemon and slices of the other half, seeds removed + ¼ cup fresh papaya, no seeds, slightly mashed + 1/16 teaspoon ground cardamom
Cynthia Sass is Health’s contributing nutrition editor, a New York Times best-selling author, and a consultant for the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets.