There is no shortage of ideas out there to help you achieve your aims, whether this is losing weight, eating or drinking in a healthier way or boosting your metabolism. One that is getting a lot of mentions at the moment in infused water – but is it really a benefit to you?
Infused water basics
One of the best things about infused water is that you can use a whole host of fruits or herbs to create it, it is cheap and tastes good. You can buy some neat infusing bottles and jugs but it can easily be done in a jar or a plastic bottle so there is no special equipment needed to get started.
Making it doesn’t take very long either, another benefit in our busy lives. I started with lemon infused water and filled my jug with tap water then added the lemons in sections. I left it out of the sunlight for 24 hours to get a good, strong taste and then transferred it to a glass bottle – I found leaving it in the jug didn’t work as the uncovered lemons started to rot quickly.
I’ve also tried adding lime which worked well and making one with apples that didn’t (doesn’t mean it wouldn’t for you, of course). Transferred into an air tight bottle or jar, it should last at least three days in the refrigerator.
Using herbs is another popular choice for infused waters, gaining all the benefits that different herbs contains. Place the clean and dry herbs into the jar or bottle and give them a bit of a muddle with a wooden spoon – this lets the oil in the leaves out into the water. You can add fruit as well if you like and some ice. Keep it somewhere cool and it will also keep for three days.
There are plenty of ideas out there as to what you can put in your infused water. I like to keep it simple to start with, find out what works on its own then start adding more ingredients. Look at herbs and fruits that are often paired together such as mint and cucumber or strawberry and basil or that are complementary such as lemon with lemony herbs like lemon verbena or thyme. Edible flowers are also used such as violas and pinks though I haven’t tried these myself. If you find the taste a bit sharp, you can add a little sugar syrup, a favourite sweetener or a touch of honey.
So while these drinks are refreshing and pleasant to drink, easy to make and to store, are there are any real benefits to them? The first thing to think about is that by drinking the infused water, you are getting many of the benefits that the fruit or herb offers. This can be anything from boosting the immune system, lowering blood sugar or even fighting cancer.
Fruit is known to have components that can boost the metabolism, helping you use up more calories during the day, with lemon water being top of the list for this. It makes plain water taste better and makes people more inclined to drink it in place of soft drinks that tend to have lots of sugar in them. It can even help you feel full and avoid those mid-afternoon snacks.
Some fruits, such as citrus, can help to digest food more efficiently and avoid that horrible bloating feeling after a meal. Ginger is another ingredient that helps the digestive system so adding a touch to your water can help. Fruits such as oranges and apples also have a cooling effect on the stomach.
Most of us have run into antioxidants in some form these days even though it something a bit vague what they actually do for us, we just know they are a good thing. Various fruits and herbs contain these antioxidants with their ability to clean toxins from the system while the water itself keeps the body hydrated and helps your skin.
The thing about infused water is that it is easy to make, inexpensive and can have a range of health benefits, all the while giving us the water we are all told we should drink. To my mind, it’s a win-win situation – a tasty and refreshing drink in the flavours I like that could be working to help my body at the same time.