Hydrate with infused water
The best way to get and stay hydrated is, of course, by drinking water. In our bodies, water helps to digest food, transport nutrients and oxygen to all cells of the body and it helps cushion our joints and organs as well as carry waste products out of our body. Staying hydrated is also important for great heart health, because it is easier for your heart to pump your blood through your body. Water also prevents constipation.
A healthy and tasty way to stay hydrated is to try infused water. Though very healthy, sometimes your traditional, plain water just gets boring! Infused water includes adding different fruits, vegetables and/or herbs and spices to your water. Not only do you get the benefits of getting hydrated, but you also gain flavor without all the excess sugars and chemicals that are in alternative beverages such as pop, sweetened teas or flavored coffees. Another benefit you get, besides how pretty the water looks, is the antioxidants and vitamins that are released into the water from the fruits, vegetables or herbs/spices.
There are several combinations to keep you busy. Some fruits may work better than others; for example, berries tend to break down faster. Some ingredients, like mint, may need to be “muddled” to allow for flavors to escape. To muddle, simply mash your ingredients at the bottom of your glass. If you prefer stronger flavors, prepare your water a day ahead and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. Try some of these favorite pairings: cherries with lime and mint, strawberries with peaches or kiwis, cucumber with lemon and ginger root, lime with orange and rosemary, raspberries with mint and lime. For even more fun, place cut produce in ice cube trays and fill remaining space with water and freeze.
All you need:
• 6-8 mint leaves
• 10 pitted cherries, cut in half
• 1 Key lime, sliced thinly
• 1 liter water (still or sparkling)
All you do:
1. Muddle mint leaves in bottom of glass. Combine mint with pitted cherries, sliced lime, ice and water.
2. Let steep 30 minutes before serving.
Claire Henning is a registered dietitian at Hy-Vee in Marshall.