How many times have you heard or read about the importance of drinking enough water in a day? I bet a lot! There are all kinds of water campaigns shared every day and aimed at encouraging people to ditch the sodas and drink more H2o. Water is great! No lie! It purifies your kidney, transports nutrients and oxygen in the body, regulates your body temperature, prevents headaches, helps you get rid of toxins, regulates bowel movement and improves the appearance of dull/flaky skin amongst many other benefits. But let’s be honest, drinking plain water gets boring jor. Plus some [weirdos] people don’t like to drink water in general.
Personally, if I haven’t drank water in like 4 hours, I start to feel woozy and I’m one of those people who check the colour of my pee religiously to see if I’m drinking enough. Yes guys, the colour of your urine says a lot about what’s happening on your insides – too yellow/almost dark means you aren’t drinking enough water, are dehydrated and should therefore up your intake. I’ve never needed to be cajoled to drink water; however, infused water has helped me up my already okay water intake.
Infused water? What is this one again? These people have come again! Yes, they have come again ooooo *insert eye roll* ha ha 😀
I’ll make it simple. Infused water is just plain ordinary water jazzed up by adding fruits and veggies in it to add flavor and trick you into drinking more than you ordinarily do. It is indeed a great way to skip sugary sweet drinks and stay hydrated. Chances are, you’ve been doing this already but just didn’t think about it in such technical terms. Like when you go to a restaurant and ask to have lemon wedges in your glass of ice water? There!! You’re already doing it. I’m just here to make you do more and think about it more consciously. It’s been said on many fronts that infused water especially those made with cayenne pepper/ginger/cucumber/mint works great for weight loss and for burning tummy fat but frankly that’s not why I swear by it. As a matter of fact, looking at the many reasons why you should be drinking water like its going extinct, weight loss/tummy fat burn is just an added plus. I get asked a lot about the health benefits of infused water and the value in terms of nutrients and my answer is always the same – the main health benefit of infused water is HYDRATION, anything else is just jara. And yes while you definitely gain value from the nutrients infused into the water, if what you want is to get the full nutritional value of those fruits and veggies then you should probably be juicing and/or making smoothies with them instead.
There are tons of brands of flavoured water being sold commercially in shops today but frankly I think its just a waste of money while probably drinking sneakily labeled fizzy drinks. Instead of buying those; why don’t you just make yours naturally, at no ridiculous cost and in the comfort of your own home? Sounds good?
Infused water is so easy to make by yourself, you just slice your preferred choice of fruits and veggies very thinly, add them into your pitcher of water and let it sit in the fridge for about 4 hours [overnight preferably]. Now if you drink bottled water in your home as we do at mine, you can just put your fruits/herbs/veggies into each bottle with the water and leave it in the fridge. For me, at some point, I found it cumbersome to stuff different bottles daily and when I don’t get the mix right, I usually would end up having different tasting water per each bottle and I didn’t like that. Because we have so many empty water bottles lying around at my home, I started making mine in a huge bowl and just straining into the bottles next day. What I do is, I boil a big pot of water (don’t use your normal soup pot, lest your water starts tasting like egusi) ha! Once boiled, I pour it into my container and let it cool. Once cool, I add the fruits/veggies/herbs and leave it overnight in the refrigerator.
Because of this, we are going through less cartons of bottled water per month. Hydrated and Prudent! Win!
Typical categories of fruits/veggies used include –
- Citrus – oranges, lemons, lime, grapefruit, clementine, Satsuma etc
- Vegetables – cucumber, carrot, celery,
- Herbs/spices – mint, ginger, rosemary, black pepper
- Berries & tropical – strawberries, blueberries, mango, cherries, pineapple, pear, kiwi etc
- Others – apple, peach, plum, peach etc
[This list is by no means exhaustive]
There are so many combinations for infused water, just as with cocktails; so choosing yours is a matter of preference really. Whatever fruit/veggie/spice combination you choose to add to your water is fine, as long as it makes you stay sipping; you’re good. My personal favourite for infusion is cucumber/ginger/mint and lemon. I tried pineapple, watermelon and apple once but didn’t like it much plus I worry that when fruits like that sit in water for too long; they may ferment especially with this epileptic power situation in Nigeria. NEPA can’t be trusted to keep your water tasting fresh. Plus, fermented fruits will totally ruin the taste of the water which in turn totally defeats the entire purpose of infused water in the first place.
Take care to not over keep infused water. I drink all of mine in a day and make a fresh batch every night, which I leave in the fridge till the next day. I think it goes without saying that you must wash your fruits/veggies/herbs thoroughly before you slice them up.
In my honest opinion, I think infused water made with fancy/expensive fruits such as strawberries/peaches/blueberries [for naija level] is a waste; just because these categories of fruits are harder to come by and thus more expensive.
I stick to lemon/lime/mint/cucumber/ginger because they’re far easier and cheaper to access. I’d much rather make the fancy fruits into a yummy smoothie and get the full benefits of eating them plus my money’s worth. Yup! I’m always thinking about maximizing my pocket. But don’t let that deter you; the whole idea is for your water to taste the way you like, so if the fancy fruits is what does it for you, go for it.
Storing your infused water is pretty easy. I make mine in a huge mini bucket thingy which sits in the fridge overnight, then I pour it into empty swan/nestle water bottles and/or a jug for easy access. If I’m going out, I take the bottle, while at home; I strain from the pitcher/jug into a glass.
If you’re wondering about how much fruit/veggies/herbs should go into what quantity of water, you shouldn’t stress about ratios. Put as much or as little as you like, it’s about experimenting until you find the exact mix that your tastebuds love. My first infused water, I overdid it with the mint and could hardly drink it cos the mint overpowered everything else; over time I now know the exact quantity of mint that goes into my pitcher. So experiment! Experiment! Experiment!
Alternatively, you could just freeze your fruits with water in ice cube makers and when you’re ready to drink water, you just drop in a glass of regular water and drink up.
Sidebar: I buy a huge bunch of mint that lasts at least 2 weeks for just N200 so why do cocktail makers in Abuja NEVER have mint in their mojitos? Matter of fact; do not ever order in mojito in this city, you’ll cry mint tears. Ha!
Will you be trying infused water? I sure hope so! Stay hydrated.