We are all aware that water is important for our health and that we should drink enough of it to keep the body in great health. Water is required for the body’s metabolic processes, so much so that, while one can go without a meal for days, it is almost impossible to do without water.
Simply put, the body cannot work without water. As a matter of fact, all the cells and organs in the body depend on water for proper functioning. 60% of the human body weight is made of water, which is needed for a myriad of reactions that include protection of the cells and tissue, waste removal/ toxins elimination, healthy digestion and homeostatic function.
While we all understand why water is important for the body, many people will admit to not been mindful about this simple fact. It is not a surprise that some can go for up to three days on just a bottle of water. Needless to say, this is a very bad habit and poses great risk to the kidneys and overall health of the body. “But I take enough beverages and soda, doesn’t that have enough water?” The truth is that while beverages contain a certain percentage of water, they also have other side effects.
Some will increase diuresis (the passing of urine) while others cause dehydration. However way you look at it, drinking water is a habit that is fundamental to the health of your body. Admittedly, a number of people struggle with the ‘plain taste’ of water. One of the ways to counter this and make it a habit is to include healthy additives. These additives not only help you take more water, they are also important for digestion and improve your health. Below are five things that you can add to your drinking water for extra health benefits while staying hydrated all through.
Perhaps one of the most common additives used to improve the taste of water, lemon has immense health benefits that you can tap into by adding to your drinking water. Lemon is packed with Vitamin C which, as is common knowledge, is a great immune booster. For this reason, lemon water is an excellent alternative for you if you do not get enough from your daily fruit intake.
In addition to this, lemons are rich in citric acid, a compound that is known to stimulate stomach acid production. This also has an effect on the liver as it allows for more bile production. In both cases, lemon water is known to enhance digestion, and this is one of the reasons why it is recommended to take first thing in the morning.
NOTE: Lime, tangerine and orange wedges are an excellent substitute as they all belong to the family of citrus fruits.
How to Prepare
- Wash your lemons well before rolling them on the kitchen surface. This is done to improve the release of juices from the lemon fibers.
- After this, add 5 thin slices of the lemon into your glass of water. Drink at least twice daily, and especially in the morning when you wake up.
- You may opt to squeeze the juice directly into the water, but the former is preferred because it allows you the benefits of nutrients obtained from the peels. Lemon-infused water is certainly is a simple way to keep the bugs at bay.
2. Fresh Mint Leaves:
In addition to lemon, mint leaves are among the most common way to improve the taste of water. One of the benefits of using mint leaves is that they have soothing properties. When added to water, the mixture not only hydrates the body, it is also great at providing relief from bloating and constipation.
Research also indicates that the herb stimulates the salivary glands to produce digestive enzymes. These enzymes are important in breaking down food and preparing it for absorption within the gut.
Other benefits of using mint leaves include the high concentration of Vitamin A, potassium, antioxidants and of course, a fresh breath. These are just some of the reasons why mint is a signature culinary style for many chefs.
NOTE: For some people, it may take some getting used to the taste.
How to Prepare
- Simply wash a bunch of mint leaves well, preferably under running water.
- You will then toss the leaves in an empty glass or bottle before pouring in the water.
- You may leave the mixture overnight for an even more intense flavour.
There is a good reason why they say, “as cool as a cucumber” – and that is because cucumbers are extremely rich in water content. This added bonus means that they make an excellent inclusion in your daily water intake. What’s more, cucumber is rich in silica.
Silica is a trace mineral that helps keep the muscles healthy and functional – it is one of the reasons why cucumber-infused water is recommended after working out. In terms of nutrition, cucumbers are also rich in Vitamins A and C, Iron, calcium and potassium.
Cucumber also has plenty of fiber which is important in ensuring you experience healthy bowel movements. Other health benefits of drinking water to which cucumber slices have been added include healthy glowing skin, reduced puffiness and decreased inflammation.
How to Prepare
- Wash a fresh cucumber and then chop it into very thin slices.
- Add the slices to the water and drink your way to healthy skin.
- You may also choose to add lemon wedges alongside the cucumber slices.
4. Raw Ginger:
Ginger is one of the most versatile herbs available. Its health benefits range from providing relief from cramps to easing bloating and reducing indigestion. It is also a great solution for managing nausea and reducing inflammation. With all these benefits, there is no excuse not to include ginger in your drinking water. The herb also has a lingering fragrant smell that comes in handy for those who find the taste of water otherwise ‘boring’.
How to Prepare
- Take a small piece of fresh ginger root, peel and wash it before chopping it into small pieces. This is encouraged to increase the surface area of the nutrients released.
- Add the small pieces of ginger to the water and let it soak overnight. This allows for more time to absorb the nutrients.
- Alternatively, take the chopped ginger and steep it in hot water for a few minutes. Pass the water through the sieve and let it cool before drinking.
5. Crushed Berries:
Wondering how to give your drinking water that refreshing zing? Then look no further than the use of berries. Best known for their excellent concentration of antioxidants, berries are a delicious add-on to your daily water intake. Why are antioxidants important? It is because they fight off free radicals that occur in the body.
Free radicals not only increase inflammation, they are also to blame when it comes to wrinkle formation on the skin and a faster aging process. Why not counter these effects by adding berries to your water? Bonus points for looking like you are enjoying a tropical cocktail!
How to Prepare:
- Some of the berries that you can add to water include one or any combination from the following options: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and cherries among others. Clean the berries well and crush them before adding water. Drink this fruit-infused water daily.
- Other great additives that you can use include kiwi slices which are rich in fibre and vitamins, watermelon which is loaded with vitamins and an exceedingly sweet taste as well as apple cider vinegar which improves the body’s metabolism.
- Cinnamon, just like ginger, is a great way to add health benefits to drinking water. Cinnamon soothes the digestive tract while providing relief from flatulence. It has also been shown to improve the outcome in people who suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) as well as eliminating infections within the digestive tract.
- With all these options available, it is also important to note that you can make different combinations to suit your preferences. For instance, you may mix cinnamon sticks with apple wedges to get apple cinnamon water, or opt for cucumber, lemon, mint water.
- Whatever options you do settle for, the most important thing at the core of this is to make sure that you drink enough water. Other tips to keep you hydrated include drinking water immediately after you wake up, carrying a water bottle with you, and taking a glass of water at least half an hour before meals.