It would be fair to call infused water one of the latest health trends, but it is so much more than that. Records dating back to the 15th Century show that drinking infused water dates back to the renaissance period (at least). Back then, the most popular infusion ingredient was flowers, probably due to there being far less fresh fruit available than there is today.
These days, with an abundance of fresh fruit and other ingredients at our fingertips, it’s easy peasy to put together a delicious, refreshing water infusion drink, and even easier to grab them pre-made. There are a wide variety of options on the market, including fruit-infused water from sustainable brands for the eco-conscious consumer.
Many bloggers, influencers, and even medical professionals endorse the use of infused water as a healthy alternative to drinking plain water, so just what are the benefits of infused water?
Hydration is by far the biggest benefit.
Without a doubt, maintaining optimal hydration is one of the biggest benefits to be gained from taking up the habit of drinking infused water. Dehydration is surprisingly common, with many of us going about our day somewhat dehydrated and wondering why we feel a little sluggish or irritable.
Infusing our water, whether it be with fruits, vegetables, or herbs, can help us to drink more water. For those who find plain water too bland and unappealing, infused water may be the perfect solution.
Some of the many benefits of keeping your mind and body well-hydrated include:
- Improved ability for our blood to transport oxygen and nutrients throughout the body (resulting in less strain on our organs)
- Coffee, alcohol, exercise, and even some medications can dehydrate us, and drinking more water helps to combat those side effects
- Improved mood and concentration
- Reduction in frequency of headaches
- Better body temperature regulation
- Improved skin complexion
- May help to relieve constipation
- Joint lubrication for reduced aches and strains
- Increased energy
When we drink water that has been infused with natural ingredients that also contain water, we are adding a refreshing flavor without taking in any nasty additives and increase our water intake further.
Other benefits of improved hydration can include:
- Better digestion
- Metabolism boost
- Helps to flush out toxins
- Immune defense boost
- Heartburn prevention
- Reduced muscle fatigue
- Quicker exercise recovery
What are the Health Benefits of Drinking Infused Water?
While the benefits listed below cannot be exclusively achieved through drinking infused water, the habit of drinking it regularly (and thereby improving hydration) can provide support in the following areas:
1. Achieving weight loss
Sodas, energy drinks, and other common water alternatives are often packed with sugar, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites sugar-sweetened beverages, desserts, and snacks as the leading source of added sugars in the average American diet.
Aside from unwanted weight gain, regular consumption of such sugar-loaded drinks can result in a heightened risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and a range of other chronic diseases.
For those that want to cut back on drinking sugary beverages but find plain water unappealing, drinking infused waters can help to maintain good hydration and steer clear of unhealthy sodas and other drinks that are poor health choices.
2. Reducing cravings and portion control
For some, drinking a glass of infused water before starting a meal can assist in managing portion control, as the stomach will feel full more easily. In addition, adding an enjoyable flavor to water can assist in keeping food cravings at bay between meals.
3. Maintaining good hydration
As outlined above, improving our overall hydration is the biggest benefit to most people. If it takes adding a healthy infusion ingredient to your water to increase your daily water intake, then go for it.
By infusing our water with herbs that are linked to benefits such as relaxation, we can help ourselves to destress that little bit more throughout the day, or at the end of a long day when it’s time to get ourselves into a restful state, ready for sleep. Ideas include lavender and sage.
Adding infusion ingredients like dark berries to the water you drink can help to protect your skin against the signs of aging due to their rich antioxidant content.
How to make infused water
Making infused water is an easy process, with few ingredients; all you need is water and the infusion ingredients of your choice.
- Decide which infusion ingredient you want to try – one is sufficient, but there are plenty of delicious combinations that can add an extra dimension to the flavor
- Chop or slice infusion ingredients up and add to a pitcher
- Fill the pitcher with water (filtered or mountain spring water is preferable) – depending on the strength of flavor you’re going for, aim to add approximately 4 cups of water to every ½ cup of infusion ingredient used
- Using a muddler, mash and mix the ingredients around in the water to release the flavors
- Ideally, chill your infused water in the fridge for a couple of hours
Potential Infusion Ingredients and their Benefits
While the quantity used to make infusions leaves little room for any meaningful nutritional content, there are specific benefits to many infusion ingredient ideas that can still make a difference. Popular examples include:
- Oranges and lemons – full of vitamin C to give our immune system a boost
- Cucumbers – are rich in antioxidants, and believed to aid the prevention of cancer
- Ginger – a natural anti-inflammatory ingredient that can reduce joint pain, while also being a popular solution for combating nausea and aiding digestion
- Mint – is believed to help reduce the symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), and has proven to help boost focus and alleviate headaches
- Apples – packed with antioxidants that help to neutralize free radicals
- Blackberries – are high in vitamins C, K, and manganese, which all play a big part in healthy bones and blood vessels
- Grapefruit – also known for its high vitamin C content, which can help to lower inflammation, and boost immunity (grapefruit can interfere with the efficacy of some medications, so be sure to check with your doctor before adding it to your diet)
Turmeric – this spice is known to help reduce inflammation and related pain, as well as improve heart health, and research backs up the benefits of using it as a medical herb
- Rosemary – research indicates that just the mere aroma of rosemary can help to improve concentration and general cognitive performance, as well as mood. It is also rich in phytocompounds that can have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial benefits
- Watermelon – also rich in vitamin C for immunity strengthening, and with such a high water content, it only adds to the hydration benefits of the infused water you are making
We all know that drinking plenty of water is vital for our optimal health and well-being. Still, for many people, it can be hard to chug down a lot of plain water in the course of a day. This can be because it’s hard to remember, or perhaps because they find the taste of plain water unpalatable. Either way, making the switch to drinking infused water can be a great way to gain all of the benefits of improved hydration, as well as trace benefits from the ingredients themselves.