9 SIMPLE WAYS TO ADD FLAVOR-AND FUNCTION-TO YOUR HYDRATION
You may not realize, but more than half of your body is made up of water. Humans are in fact 60 percent water! That’s because H2O serves a lot of purposes for us. “Water helps your body function on a cellular level. It helps keep skin hydrated, supports digestion, plays a role in metabolism and cellular membrane function, and regulates body temperature, says McKel Kooienga, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., a nutritionist based in Nashville, TN, and the author of Nutrition Stripped.”
Needless to say, water is a vital part of what makes our bodies work and function properly, which is why it’s so important to stay hydrated. The USDA recommends that adult males consume three liters (or 13 cups) of water daily, and adult females consume 2.2 liters (or nine cups) of water daily.
Unfortunately, not everyone loves H20. Yes, it can be refreshing, but some individuals find it difficult to drink enough plain water daily. Luckily, water doesn’t have to be consumed in its plain, natural state to be counted towards your recommended hydration goals. We asked nutritionists and dieticians to share their favorite ways to add a little extra flavor, as well as function, to water.
WAYS TO ADD FLAVOR AND FUNCTION TO YOUR HYDRATION
1. MAKE HERBAL WATER
Boost the nutrient density of your water! “Add herbal elements such as flowers, herbs, fruit, and spices to your everyday water routine,” suggests Kooienga. “They have a deliciously subtle taste that keeps you wanting more, and they don’t add extra sugar. To top off their advantages, herbs also bring in their own set of health benefits depending on what you use.” Research shows that spices and herbs contain phytonutrients, often not found in other foods.
Here are some combos that Kooienga recommends:
- Grapefruit + mint or basil
- Lemon + orange + ginger
- Cucumber + lemon + lime + mint or basil
- Cucumber + watermelon + mint
- Strawberries + grapefruit + sage
2. WAKE UP WITH A FRESH LEMON DRINK
There’s nothing like waking up to a fresh glass of water; and with some lemon and salt, it’s refreshing as well! “I like to add juice from half a lemon and a pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt to 12 ounces of water first thing in the morning,” says Anna Brown, M.S., R.D., a nutritionist based in Brooklyn, NY, and the owner of Nutrition Squeezed, a virtual private practice. “We're sleeping and breathing all night, and we lose water by just breathing; this combination tastes refreshing and contains electrolytes!”
3. CREATE A WATERMELON JUICE
It’s summer, and one of the tastiest melons is in season. We’re talking about watermelon. Muddle some into your water for a sweet juice, or freeze it for a fresh smoothie later.
4. BREW SOME HOMEMADE ICED TEA
Herbal tea infusions are a great way to create your very own personalized iced teas using the ingredients you already love—a surefire way to make your H20 more appealing. “With no slicing and dicing of fresh ingredients, this is the simplest recommendation of the bunch,” says Melanie Sulaver, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., an outpatient dietitian with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, NY, and the owner of Nutrition by Mel. “Just take your tea bags and let them steep for 10 to 12 hours overnight in a pitcher of water.”
5. PUT THE KETTLE ON
Not in the mood for cold water? Try hot tea instead—like black, green, or oolong—to hit your hydration goals. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, caffeinated and herbal teas contain natural substances called polyphenols—micronutrients found in certain plant-based foods.
6. ADD ELECTROLYTES TO REPLENISH
Electrolytes help control the balance of fluids in the body, and you need to maintain sufficient levels for optimal performance. When you work out, you lose electrolytes, so it’s important to refuel after every sweat session. “I like to add electrolyte drops or tablets to my water if it's a particularly hot and sweaty day, or for after hot yoga or spin class,” says Brown. “Some can taste a little salty, so I'll add a splash of watermelon water to balance it.”
7. BE A FRUIT NINJA
Have lots of fruit in your fridge? Cut up some of your favorites and throw them into your water bottle! “Some of my personal favorites are strawberry and basil, lemon and lime, or blueberries all by themselves,” says Sulaver. “Fruit can also provide the antioxidant vitamin C, but the simple truth is that fruit-infused water tastes better, so we drink more of it, which helps keep us hydrated.”
8. ADD SWEETNESS WITHOUT THE SUGAR
You can create a juice-like beverage, without all the added sugar—and even on the go, no less. “Add a squirt of a zero-calorie, natural sweetener flavor product,” says Torey Armul, M.S., R.D., a dietician based in Columbus, OH. “There are so many options, and most have very small amounts of artificial sweeteners.”
9. GRAB A DRINK TO GO
When you’re short on time, reach for one of Isopure’s ready-to-drink options. Isopure also offers protein powders that are low on carbs, high on quality protein, and some contain electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals, too. They are light, refreshing alternatives to heavy protein shakes—ideal for drinking throughout the day or refueling after a workout, and flavors include iced tea, coconut, and more!