Healthy vs. Unhealthy Water EnhancersAs humans, we are about 60% water. Water breaks down food, provides natural energy to our cells, aids in weight loss and maintenance, stimulates digestive enzymes, hydrates tissues and organs, helps the body rid toxins, and is absolutely necessary for health and survival (among countless other benefits).
As a Certified Nutrition Therapist, one of the main things I notice is the majority of my clients are very dehydrated before they work with me, and one of the chief complaints I hear in my practice (namely by the dehydrated folks) is “I don’t drink enough water because I don’t like the taste of water. What can I add to my water to make it taste good?”
My number one preference is to simply add 100% lemon juice or fresh lemon or lime to water. It’s easy, tasty, and the lemon pushes the liver and naturally aids in detoxification. However, there are many options now on the beverage shelves of water “enhancers”. Crystal Light seems to be the first of its kind, and now has quite the competition with Mio, and other enhancers. As far as store-bought flavored (and colorful) water enhancers, I implore you–stay away. The ingredients in most of the water enhancers out there include artificial sweeteners (namely aspartame and sucralose–Splenda), or sugar, artificial food colorings, propylene glycol, among other preservatives and chemicals. Although these ingredients in small amounts are “safe” for human consumption according to the FDA, I see clients suffering from stomach and digestive disorders, headaches, allergies, and other side effects linked to these artificial ingredients.
Here are a handful of ideas to make your pure water a little more “fun” and tasty, hopefully enticing you to drink more, without ingesting unnecessary and unhealthy ingredients:
In a pitcher stored in a cool place or refrigerated, or in a single-serving glass with or without ice:
1. Blackberry and Mint Cooler
* Grow or buy fresh mint in the herb section of the grocery store: use for garnish in salads or in this instance, add as many mint leaves as desired to water, along with 1/4 – 1 cup of fresh or frozen blackberries.
2. Cucumber Spa Water
* One of my favorite “spa” treats pre-and post-treatment is cucumber water. Very simple to prepare: simply have sliced cucumbers on hand and store in baggies. Add as many sliced cucumbers to water as desired. Super refreshing and clean. Use any extra cukes as puffy eye relief (placing cold cuke slices over shut eyelids for 10-20 minutes), or as a healthy yummy snack dipped in hummus or guacamole, or tossed with tomatoes and basil in a salad.
3. Mock Mojito
* A festive way to “cocktail” without the alcohol, and with hydrating health benefits:  “muddle” fresh mint in the bottom of a glass, add water, ice, sliced cucumbers, and fresh lime juice/limes. Shake and sip– delish!
4. Tropical Paradise
* For a sweeter “punch”, add frozen or fresh chunks (try to avoid canned) pineapple to water, along with any citrus fruit on hand: orange, clementine, or grapefruit. Sweet and tart!
5. Better with Berries
* Perhaps the easiest water enhancer is to simply keep frozen or fresh berries on hand– raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, etc. and add to water in any combination. You can even fill ice cube trays with a berry or two in each square, pouring water over, then making the ice. Once frozen, simply pop out your “berry cubes” and add to water.