The daily recommendation for water for an average person for good health is 64-80 ounces a day. I get that, I mean I drink at least a gallon a day which is 128 ounces, not because I am told to do so, it’s because my body asks for it. Now, because I work out as often as I do and work in a hot sweaty gym, naturally, my water intake is a bit easier and more of a natural response. I also know that a lot of you struggle to consume the water that you need because, let’s be honest, water doesn’t really emote flavor and excitement. It’s hard to take down plain old tap water 8 ounces at a time, I’ve been there, but what I am seeing more often now is that how much people are starting to “doctor” their water to make it more drinkable. First of all, third world countries that barely have drinking water and that need to boil water on their stove tops daily, are the only ones that can use the adjective undrinkable. However, out of some kind of weird boredom, there is a market for making water “better”. First thing, how do you make something naturally amazing, better? It’s like looking at a sunset and saying those colors are off. Although, I agree, at times, it’s not that easy to down the expected amount of water, but let’s talk about what your options really are.
First of all, any natural ingredient is better than anything off a shelf. I am a firm believer of infusing my water with different fruits, veggies and even herbs. I mean you don’t add any calories or fat, but you do add some dimension. Now, I love infused water not because I need to down water, but because there is an actual benefit to doing so.
LEMONS – Lemons are packed like a clown car with nutrients, including vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. Lemon water helps aid digestion, cleanses your liver, reduces inflammation, freshens your breath and helps you lose weight!
CUCUMBERS– Cucumbers are also a part of the Insane Nutrient Clown Posse…laden with vitamins A, B & C with magnesium, potassium and silicon. Cucumber water helps with hydration, lowering blood pressure, increasing hair and nail growth, decreasing uric acid for proper kidney function, and finally reducing cholesterol and blood pressure.
MINT – This herb, in all its varieties, is known to help digestion, nausea and headaches. I have found mint water to be a huge help when I have tension headaches and migraines. Mint has been known to aid fatigue, depression and even some cases of infertility. Looks like those Doublemint twins had it right all along…double, double your refreshment, double double your deliiiiight….
Ok…I can probably list a crap load of other fruits and veggies that have nutritional value, but let’s be honest, I can’t convince anyone to make brussels sprouts water, cremini mushroom water or even asparagus water…even I’m not that desperate. However, the point I am trying to make is that adding an infusion of a fruit, veggie or herb gives you not only a change in flavor profile, but adds nutrients to your perfectly existing water and enhances its overall benefits.
Now, I get that you can’t whip out your paring knife and a lemon on the bus or train without some social and legal repercussions…but another option for water enhancement that doesn’t involve a vial of fake fruit liquid (you know those vials that make you feel like you’re adding nutrients to your cranberry vodka…BS) is naturally unsweetened fruit juice. Not only does fresh juice from pomegranates and acai berries provide flavor, they are each stocked in antioxidants that help your immune system. Why not pour a few drops of those in your water versus the Berry Propel drops that came out of some laboratory? Why has that become such a difficult task? Maybe because juice doesn’t come in a handy 2 ounce container that you can put in your purse or bag?
Don’t you refill your travel bottles for the TSA from your big bottles of shampoo, conditioner, lotion or body wash?? I do!!! Why can’t you do the same with a big bottle of juice?? Because it takes too much effort, I get it. It’s not cheaper to buy smaller bottles and clearly not natural, which is why I still don't understand the $4.00 bottles of concentrated lab created blackberry pomegranate solution...someone enlighten me. PLEASE. Why are we making this more complicated than it really needs to be?!
Another great option is using a tea bag…it's not about DRINKING tea…I’m telling you to use a tea bag. Here’s the difference: For tea, you steep for 3-5 mins, add lemon and sugar…it becomes a production with kettles, strainers..etc. I am saying to just add a tea bag for ONE MINUTE in your water and take it out. What that does is allow the flavor of the tea to come through, not the body of it. Tea needs to steep because the body needs to develop in the hot water. Flavor of tea is already prevalent in the natural tea leaves, which is all you really need in a water infusion. So pick out your favorite tea whether it’s green, hibiscus or even peach mango. You aren’t adding calories to your water, again, just a hint of flavor and earthiness that can make your one 8oz glass a little more enjoyable. This does not mean put 5 tablespoons of Lipton Lemon Iced Tea Mix in your water…. NO. You might as well schedule a date with the that oversized water vessel with a smile on its face. Just keep it simple, natural…. don’t overthink it.
I get that not everything can be DIY. Sometimes you are on the go, at a gas station, want a better option than a soda and crap bottled water like Aquafina (ugh). First glance, I’d FIji or Evian, but it’s pricey. I love Boxed Water, it’s tasty and good for the environment, but not mainstream. For an electrolyte punch, try CORE or Smartwater. These days though, I have seen gas stations stocked with Sparkling Ice, Bai, Hint, La Croix, Dasani Flavored, etc. I mean the gamut is unreal. I’m not gonna do an autopsy on each one, because I don’t have the bladder for it. I will say that you should look for the calories, sugar and the SODIUM. Yes, sodium content…why? Beverage creators use sodium as a flavor dissolvent in water…yeah, took me a minute to understand it too. Ok, you know how you have cold iced tea and you put sugar in it to sweeten it?? When you shake or stir it, the sugar doesn’t dissolve quickly, and you see it at the bottom of your glass even when you are done drinking it. Well, same concept, using a flavored sugar doesn’t work in mass production, but guess what? Sodium does dissolve in any temperature, so they use flavored salts in drinks to show that there is no “sugar” or “carbs” which is what most people look at when making healthy decisions.
MIND BLOWN….I know. I looked at a package of Kool-Aid Drink Mix….there is 80 mg of sodium in one pack…WOW. I kinda wondered if the pickle juice in my Claussen jar had less sodium content. Basically, what I am saying is that just pay attention to ALL of the label on the bottle, not just the obvious. You never really know what chemistry experiment gone wrong you are the guinea pig for.
I could go on all day giving you suggestions on how to “doctor” your water to achieve the suggested daily recommendation. Fact is, listen to your body…it will not fail you. When you need water, you will drink it…plain and simple. If you have over hydrated, you will pee a lot…not the worst thing in life, as long as it’s not incontinence. I drink a lot of water not because I have to, but because my body needs it, craves it. Some days are better than others, I admit that. Some days, I add fruit or herbs to my water. Other days, I drink green tea and even some days I drink beer (yes, it’s mostly water, but not condoning that as a source). Make sure you are informed, not making excuses and providing your body with the benefits that water has on its own. You can’t mess with perfection.