infused waterWe all know we should drink more water — and there are a variety of reasons for this, not the least of which is it can help you lose weight (or maintain a healthy one!)  That’s because many times when we think we’re hungry, we are, in fact, simply thirsty.  Drinking a glass of water before a meal, or in between one, can reduce or curb your appetite, staving off cravings and the urge to overeat.

In addition, drinking plenty of water aids in digestion and helps our body to eliminate toxins more efficiently.

But did you know that drinking plenty of water can also work as an anti-aging measure by keeping your skin plump and elastic? Think about it. One way to tell if a person is dehydrated is to pinch the skin on their hand and see how quickly (or slowly) it returns to its proper place.  By that same reasoning, when a person is adequately hydrated, the skin is more elastic and smooth (and doesn’t stay “up” when pinched.)

The problem with drinking water is that many people find it boring and not as tempting as a more exciting sugary caffeinated beverage.  Well it doesn’t have to be that way. By infusing your water with fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices, you not only make it more appealing to your eyes and tastebuds, you make it more beneficial to your body as well.

Infused water has the all the sweet fruit flavors of fruit juice or store bought “vitamin waters” without the extra calories or sugar, plus they offer a healthy array of natural antioxidants and vitamins.

When infusing water, you can use flat purified water or sparking water and whatever healthy calorie-free add-ins your heart desires.  Just as when you eat the fruits and veggies, organic is best.

The best way to infuse the water is to mix the recipe in a pitcher (because it will need to steep for about 30 minutes to properly infuse) and then pour it into a glass.

Recipes abound online for dressing up your water, but all are quite simple. Here are a few ideas to get you started.  All will help your skin look better and aid in digestion — that’s the water at work. But the infusions pack an additional health punch and make the whole experience a lot more tasty.

*Strawberries and kiwis aid in cardiovascular health, immune system protection and blood sugar regulation.

*Cucumbers, limes, and lemons are good additions for weight management, bloating, appetite control and hydration, which is why these refreshing combinations are frequently served in spas.

*Lemons, limes, and oranges are high in Vitamin C and are both tasty and immunity building. Citrus infusions can also help with heartburn when consumed at room temperature.

Other examples of mix-ins include watermelon, grapes and raspberries, and spices like fresh ginger. Using frozen berries keeps the water cold longer and adds continuous flavor as the fruits melt. You can even get fancy and freeze berries in ice cubes for more of a “presentation!”

Adding a little grated ginger to your lemon water aids in digestion, and fresh herbs like mint and rosemary offer totally new flavor combinations. Remember: a little bit of a fresh herb can add a lot of flavor, so it’s best to go easy until you know how strong you like the water.

Drink up and enjoy these healthy flavor infusions!