How many of us actually drink enough water? It's one of the easiest ways to improve your health, but most people don't get nearly as much as they should. We've grown so accustomed to soda, coffee, and sugary juices that water just seems bland by comparison.
That's why drinks like VitaminWater are so popular. They're marketed as being just like water, but better tasting and with even more vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and antioxidants. Who wouldn't want all the benefits of drinking water and the sweet, syrupy taste of a soft drink?
The problem is, it's been known for quite some time that all the health claims made by VitaminWater and other vitamin-based water products are a big bunch of crap. So much so that in 2010, Coca-Cola was sued by the Center for Science in the Public Interest for false advertisement. A bottle of the stuff has 33 grams of sugar, which is actually higher than the recommended daily intake for some people.
So, if store-bought nutrient enhanced drinks are unhealthy, but you hate drinking water, how are you supposed to get your daily dose? Like so many other things, it's really easy (and cheap) to make your own, better version of the store-bought stuff at home.
With nothing more than fruit and water, you can make your own super easy "vitamin water" in your own fridge. Real fruit is a much healthier source of the nutrients that are added to VitaminWater, and it comes without the negative effects of all that sugar.
The amount of fruit you use depends on how strong you want the flavor to be, but a good starting point is about 2 cups of fruit per quart of water. You can also add herbs like mint, lavender, rosemary, and sage for an extra punch.
The fruit itself is a great source of vitamins and antioxidants, but you can add powdered versions if you want even more. Vitamins B & C, camu camu powder, and probiotics are popular suggestions, but feel free to use whatever you want or need to get more of.
Start by slicing and dicing the fruit you chose to flavor your water. Small pieces and thin slices are best because they allow the most flavor to seep out into the water.
Put your fruit in the bottom of the container you plan to use, then smash or muddle it to release some of the juice. If you're using herbs, bruise them a bit by rolling them between your hands (this brings out the flavor and aroma). Add any powders, then fill the container with ice and water.
If you prefer your beverages a little on the sweeter side, you can add a little honey, agave nectar, or any other sweetener you like (preferably natural).
Cover your container, then put it in the refrigerator to steep for at least four hours (overnight is best). When you're ready to drink it, just pour into a glass over ice and enjoy.
The fruit in the water will stay fresh for about 3 to 5 days in the fridge, but if it starts to run low before then, you can just add more water. For inspiration and some helpful nutrition information, check out these five recipes by holistic nutritionist Zain Saraswati Jamal.
If you're looking to rehydrate after a long day in the sun, it's also simple and painless to make your own electrolyte-enhanced water. Energy drink addict? Try this all-natural homemade Red Bull alternative for a healthier pick-me-up.