by Sharon Quercioli
There are a great deal of questions about infused water these days. Why not just drink regular water? Is it really all that good for you? Is this a form of detoxing? What is infused water, really?
Infused water is water in which fruit (or herbs) has been steeped for a few hours. It is lightly and naturally flavored. Most of all, it really is good for you. Medical professionals, nutritionists and naturalists have given conflicting details on the topic, but it boils down to this:
Drinking water is healthy and is the best thing you can do for yourself.
Whether it’s infused water or plain water, drinking H2O in either of these forms keeps you hydrated, healthy and happy. The benefits to drinking infused water (weight loss, toxin removal, boosting your immune system, better digestion, increasing your energy, etc.) all come from drinking more water, not necessarily drinking the infused kind.
Of all the benefits that I researched, the most consistent benefit of infused water was that it can add up to 20% of the vitamins (in each of the fruits) to your water. But my question is, why not just eat the cucumber and get 100% of the vitamins in it, instead of just getting the 20%?
SO WHY DRINK INFUSED WATER?
I find it difficult to drink as much plain water as I should each day because (to put it simply) water is boring. Water doesn’t have a flavor, and (while that’s refreshing in the summer) it’s boring when I’m not thirsty. Infusing it with fruit and herbs gives me a little bit of flavor without all the extra calories and sugar of juice, coffee and tea. Infusing it varies the flavor, adds a little bit of flair to your drink and keeps you hydrated.
GENERAL INFUSED WATER TIPS
- If you can, use cold or room temperature water instead of hot water. Hot water will break down the produce and herbs faster and will compromise the end product.
- Use a glass pitcher. There are plenty of other types of vessels out there, including vessels that are made specifically for infusing water. However, you don’t have to spend the extra money for the specially made products. A simple glass pitcher will do. Spend the extra money on fruits and fresh herbs instead and make them organic.
- I like to infuse the water in the refrigerator so that I don’t accidentally forget it on the counter. However, you can infuse it at room temperature but only for no longer than two hours. After that point, you have to put it in the fridge to keep bacteria at bay.
- Mint, cucumbers, citrus fruits and melons infuse quickly (almost immediately). However, other types of fruits can take anywhere from three hours to overnight.
- Some fruits look great, even after hours in the fridge (whole berries and citrus fruits especially). However, other types of soft fruit start to look a little water-logged. If you’re going to serve it to your loved ones, consider taking out the water-logged fruit first. Place some fresh fruit and ice in a glass, and pour the infused water over it before serving to your guests.
- If you don’t drink it all right away, you can keep the fruit in the refrigerated water for up to two days. After that, take the fruit out and keep the water refrigerated for another four to five days.
- Softer fruits can be sliced thin, thick, quartered or halved. Harder fruits should be sliced thin for it to infuse faster.
- Tear fibrous herbs or smash with a wooden spoon or a muddler to get the flavors out. Leafy herbs should be torn so that they will release their oils.
- Smaller herbs (like lavender) should be placed in a cheese cloth or a tea infuser to ease the cleanup process.
MY FAVORITE RECIPES
My favorite recipe for infused H2O is Apple Cinnamon water, which was shared to me by a friend. It tastes great and adds just enough flavor to make it interesting, without feeling like watered-down apple juice. There is a fine line and this recipe does a great job at keeping that distinction.
Apple Cinnamon Water
What You Need:
- One organic apple
- Three cinnamon sticks
- Sharp knife
What You Need to Do:
Clean out your pitcher and set it aside. Core and thinly slice your apple. Place the apple pieces and cinnamon sticks in the pitcher. Fill it with water, and place it in the refrigerator for at least two hours. When you serve it, place a few ice cubes in the pitcher to keep it cold. You can also pour it over ice.
Other great combinations and concoctions include:
- Thyme and Lemon
- Mint, Line, Strawberry and Cucumber
- Hibiscus, Star Anise and Orange
- Orange, Basil and Blueberry
- Cucumber, Mint and Jalapeno
- Mint, Honeydew and Watermelon (another personal favorite)
- Rosemary, Lemon and Raspberry
Whether you infuse your water or drink it plain, H2O is great for your health and well-being. Adding just a bit of fruit is a great substitution for those sugary drinks. If you treat your body well, it will be good to you. But that doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice taste and flavor to do so.