According to a 2013 study, nearly 83 percent of adult women are not drinking enough water, which researchers say “may be a cause for concern.” Look, we get it. It’s way easier to pick up a flavored, electrolyte infused drink after spin class and call it a day on your hydration. It tastes good! But just one bottle of sugar-filled water isn’t enough hydration for the average woman. So if plain old tap water isn’t going to cut it for you, why not jump in on the infused water trend? It’s a tasty, healthful way to increase your water intake. Infused water has been around in one form or another for ages, but it didn’t start to become trendy until 2013. At this point, it exploded across the web as more people realized that simply infusing water can make it taste good. And hey, if it tastes good, you’ll actually drink it. Which means you’ll finally get all those good-for-you hydration benefits.
Why Hydration Is Important
Dehydration, even mild dehydration, can be a serious medical issue. “Hydration is the key to optimal functioning of the human body” says registered dietitian Alix Turoff. She explains that dehydration is dangerous and even fatal in some cases. “Even mild dehydration can lead to fatigue, low blood pressure, dizziness, confusion, and headaches. To keep that from happening, I encourage my clients to drink somewhere around two liters of water per day.” And really, with all the benefits you get from [linkbuilder id=”4664″ text=”staying hydrated”], there’s no reason not to ensure you’re drinking that amount of water. Dendy Engelman, a dermatologic surgeon, says that dehydration also affects your skin for the worse. She says, “When skin is dehydrated, it actually creates more oil to make up for the missing water which can then lead to exacerbation of acne, irritation, and dry patches. Skin can even feel oily and dry at the same time.” To save your skin, it’s best to keep your hydration levels on the up and up. Turoff says that water is essential. It helps to bring fuel to your cells, flushes toxins and bacteria from your bladder, and assists in healthy bowel function. Plus, it’s good for your waistline. “Water promotes a ‘thermogenic state’ which increases metabolism and aids in weight loss because the body now has enough water to carry out all metabolic activities,” says Turoff. “Another factor when it comes to proper hydration and weight is the fact that people often mistake thirst for hunger and will eat even though they are really just thirsty.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agrees that drinking plain (non-sugary) water is good for weight loss. According to the CDC’s “Get the Facts: Drinking and Water Intake” resource: “As plain drinking water has zero calories, it can also help with managing body weight and reducing caloric intake when substituted for drinks with calories, like regular soda.” But if you can’t stand the taste of plain water, it’s tempting to just grab a low-cal drink instead. Turoff’s solution? “I love to encourage my clients to add fruit, herbs or veggies to their water, mostly as a way to make it fun.” She goes on to say, “When you take the time to enhance your water, you’re more likely to drink it. It also tastes really nice and for me, I think it creates more of an experience (like I’m at a spa!)”
What vitamins do you get from infused water?
Infusing water isn’t just about getting more fluids (though that is incredibly important!) It can also help you incorporate trace amounts of vitamins and minerals into your diet. No chalky supplements here, just fresh ingredients to fuel your body. Your daily dose of vitamins can come from many different sources, but you should get most of them from nutritious whole foods, which is why Turoff says you shouldn’t rely on infused water to do the job for you. “In terms of nutrient content, it’s possible for water soluble vitamins (such as B vitamins or vitamin C) to seep out during the infusion process, but it’s probably negligible.” To get all your needed vitamins, try to eat lots of fruits and veggies as well as your proteins of choice. Also, you should always chat with your doctor about implementing a vitamin or supplement plan before charging ahead.
What You Need to Make Infused Water
Making infused water is easy as can be—you’ll just need to gather a few kitchen basics you probably already have. A sharp knife and good cutting board are essential, and if you have ice cube trays or fridge space, you’ll have cold infused water to drink whenever you like. You’ll also need something to infuse the water in: either a pitcher for big batches or a water bottle for drinking on the go. We like this glass pitcher, as well as this (much cuter) version that can infuse sun tea, too! As for infuser water bottles, this one in mint is our favorite.
Foods to Infuse With
You can infuse water with just about any fruit or veggie you like. You can also toss in herbs, edible flowers, and spices. Our list is inspired by two helpful blog posts, one from Hello Glow and the other from Nutrition Stripped.
- Blood orange
- Bell pepper
- Vanilla bean
- Citrus blossom
8 Infused Water Recipes
Now that you’re all on board the infused hydration train, here are our favorite flavor combinations! All these recipes have the use of an infuser bottle in mind, but if you’re going for a pitcher, double the recipe. All water infusions will taste stronger the longer the fruit or veggies hang out in the water. Giving your water at least an hour to infuse will help ensure it has flavor before you drink. You can also prep your water the night before and store in the fridge, though you’ll want to keep it fresh, so we don’t recommend making more than one or two days’ worth of water in advance. [sol title=”Ultimate Summer Fav” subheader=”Cucumber, Watermelon, Mint”] The cucumber and watermelon are refreshing and cooling. Add in the mint and this combo lands on a whole other level. If you want to go one step further, add in a slice or two of lemon for a tart taste. Start by slicing about an inch (or more!) of cucumber into thin rounds and placing them in the water bottle. Cucumbers have water soluble vitamin B. Cut the watermelon into ½ inch cubes and toss in three or four mint leaves. Fill the water bottle up to the top. [sol title=”Elevated Pink Lemonade” subheader=”Lemon, Strawberry (or Cherry), Rosemary”] Make sure not to use too much rosemary—it’s strong and can easily overpower your infusion. The lemon along with strawberries (or cherries) in this concoction are all full of vitamin C. Slice half a lemon into rounds and place them in your water bottle. Strawberries should be quartered and cherries halved and pits removed because the pits can be bitter. Add just a ½ inch of a rosemary sprig for the best taste. [sol title=”Hello Fall” subheader=”Apple, Cinnamon”] Apple and cinnamon are an easy combination for a tasty infused water take on apple cider. Slicing the apple into thin pieces can be difficult, so if you have a mandolin slicer, use it. If not, cut the apple into ½ inch cubes. Make sure to prevent the apple seeds from making their way into your bottle, or they can turn your infusion bitter. Fill your bottle up, pop in a cinnamon stick, and you’ve got a tasty, guilt free fall treat any time of year. [sol title=”Pep Rally” subheader=”Cucumber, Bell Pepper, Carrot, Ginger”] Chill out with some cooling veggies, and pep right back up with the ginger in this zippy blend. This one is great for cold season and upset stomachs because the ginger can help clear your sinuses (it is spicy after all) and is known to help tummy aches. Opt again for about an inch of cucumber rounds. Toss them in with a fourth of a bell pepper sliced into thin strips. How much carrot you add is up you. It’s the sweetest flavor of this bunch, so keep that in mind when you decide what ratio to use, adding a couple of halved baby carrots or more if you like a sweeter flavor. As for ginger, you’ll need to be slightly cautious. If you’re unused to the flavor of raw ginger, it can be powerful. Slice a quarter inch knob into thin pieces. Add them all in for a spicy kick, or throw in fewer for a subtler taste. [sol title=”Spa Sipper” subheader=”Mint, Rose, Hibiscus”] If you’re after a sip of cucumber-free spa water, this is the recipe for you. Adding in edible florals gives a subtle but very sophisticated taste. You can usually find dried edible flowers in health stores and sometimes in the tea aisle. Just make sure that your flowers are edible grade and are fully in tact. Don’t add in minced rosebud tea, or you’ll end up drinking tiny bits of the leaves. Pop in a few fresh leaves of mint, one rosebud, and one hibiscus flower. Since your flowers will likely be dried, this infused water will take longer to develop its flavors, so it’s best to prepare this the night before. [sol title=”Paradise Water” subheader=”Pineapple, Kiwi, Peach”] Tropical fruit lovers, try this tasty mix. Keep in mind pineapple is acidic, so don’t overload your water with it. Too much can cause heartburn or can be an issue if you have sensitive teeth. It is filled with water-soluble vitamin C though, which is always a good thing. Chop your pineapple up into ½ inch cubes and add no more than one quarter of a cup to your water bottle. Remove the fuzzy skin from the kiwi, cube it, and toss half of it into your bottle. Peach is the most subtle flavor of the bunch, so if you want a peachier taste, add up to half a peach, sliced. To ensure your water stays tasty and sweet, make sure not to include the core of the pineapple or any of the peach pit. [sol title=”Two’s Company” subheader=”Strawberry, Basil”] Strawberries (or watermelon!) and basil are a perfect match. This is the easiest water to prepare in advance. Slice two or three medium strawberries into quarters and remove the leafy top. Pop in three basil leaves and let this mixture soak overnight. [sol title=”“Orange You Healthy?”” subheader=”Orange, Carrot, Celery”] If you want the benefits of a veggie filled water, but aren’t a fan of the taste, toss in a stronger flavor you love. Citrus fruits tend to dominate (in a good way), so popping in a few slices of orange will have you drinking to your health without thinking twice! Remove the rind and the white pith from your orange before slicing. You can either pop in a few segments whole, or slice the orange for a stronger flavor. Add in two or three baby carrots, halved, and one celery stalk cut into ½ inch pieces. Celery can come pretty dirty, so make sure you give it a good rinse before you chop so you don’t end up with dirt in your water.
Infused Water Ice Cubes
If carrying around a water bottle isn’t your jam, you can always make infused water ice cubes. The flavor will be significantly more subtle because the cubes will need to melt before they start to infuse your water. There are two ways to infuse your water with ice cubes (or frozen fruit and veggie goodness). Some fruits and vegs can hold up to being frozen on their own and can be used in place of regular ice. Think grapes, cucumber, sliced citrus, and berries. Or you can make actual ice cubes using more delicate foods. In this case you’ll need an ice tray and some filtered water. You can also use leftover infused water if you didn’t drink it all, just keep in mind the flavors you mix. You can pop mint leaves, edible flowers, and small fruits like raspberries in your ice cube tray, then fill it up with water. Freeze solid then use as your go-to for a subtler drink whenever you like.
Infused Water Alternatives
Not everyone wants to take the time to create their own infused water. It’s obviously much easier to just buy a flavored water. But not all other hydration options are as good for you. Turoff says, “In terms of juice, there’s going to be substantially more calories and sugar than plain or infused water, so I don’t like to encourage people to use juice to get their water in.” Although a glass of OJ may be tasty, it’s better to get the majority of your hydration from water over juices. Another, maybe not-so-great option is flavor drops. Usually flavor drops are concentrated flavored liquid (like MiO) or they’re flavored powders. Either way, they’re processed and less nutritious than using whole fruits and vegetables. Turoff says, “Flavor drops are an okay option as well depending on your beliefs about artificial sweeteners and colorings. I personally prefer clients to first chose infusing water with fresh fruits, veggies, and herbs, but if I have someone who’s addicted to soda or juice, I’d much prefer they use flavor drops or something like Crystal Light as they’re weaning themselves off!” If you’re still unsure of flavored water, try switching from soda to seltzer. LaCroix isn’t just trendy, it’s also a pretty decent way to hydrate. But, Turoff warns, it may not be the best option for people with sensitive teeth. “A recent study came out saying that seltzer could be bad for tooth enamel because of the carbonic acid that is used to make bubbles, but it seems that it’s not too big of a risk and I still feel comfortable recommending it.” She says you do need to make sure that there are no sweeteners or artificial flavors added to your seltzer of choice. Whether you get your hydration from plain or infused water, make sure you’re getting those two liters a day. I highly recommend purchasing a big water bottle like the infuser bottle and figuring out how many you need to drink in a day to meet your hydration goal. That way you have easy benchmarks—like drinking one full water bottle between breakfast and lunch, then another between lunch and dinner. By infusing your water with tasty fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices, you get to craft fun flavors to enjoy. Plus, you’ll be keeping your whole body hydrated for your best health.