You probably already know your body consists primarily of water and that you should be drinking eight glasses (or even 11.5 glasses) of water a day to stay properly hydrated. Healthy hydration is key for organ health, glowing skin, and cell function from head to toe. But sometimes, drinking all that water can feel a bit boring.
Enter fruit-infused water. Infused water lovers gush over their favorite water recipes. Is a fruit infusion worth the hype? And is it healthy? Get the details on this juicy alternative to tap water.
What is fruit-infused water?
Fruit-infused water uses fresh fruits and herbs to add more flavor to plain water. So, it’s juice? Not quite. Here’s a rundown of how certain fruity beverages compare.
- Fruit-infused water. Whole or sliced fruit and herbs sit in water for 30 minutes to 12 hours to add sugar-free, natural flavor with minimal calories and no artificial chemicals.
- Fruit juice. Fruits are squeezed or blended to release their juices and can be served as is or with added sugar. Juices have more calories and sugar (natural or added) than water.
- Agua fresca. This Latin American beverage typically uses squeezed fruit juice and a sweetener but mixes them with water. It’s lighter than most juices but contains more juice and sugar than fruit-infused water.
- Water with flavoring packets. Powdered packets can add a fruity, sweet flavor to water with minimal calories. They use processed ingredients and added sweeteners and generally contain artificial ingredients, as opposed to the all-natural ingredients in fruit-infused water.
Fruit-infused water benefits
There are a few great reasons to give fruit-infused water a try.
- Increased hydration. If you have a hard time crushing your daily water goals due to boring flavor, a dash of fruit might help you commit to getting the recommended sips in.
- Phytochemical boost. Immersing fruits in water helps release phytochemicals, which can strengthen your immune system, reduce inflammation, and more.
- Vitamins and antioxidants. Infusing fruits and herbs like lemon and ginger for 12 hours can give a high antioxidant and vitamin C boost.
- Quick, convenient flavor. Did you once buy a juicer that’s been sitting in its original package for months? Giving fruit a quick chop and a dunk in water is easier than blending fruit and then washing a whole appliance.
- Lower sugar content. Sure, swinging by a coffee shop is convenient, but a treat like a Pink Drink has 25 grams of sugar. A cup of strawberries only has 7 grams of natural sugar — and adding 8 grams of white sugar cuts back on the sugar content while still creating a sweet sip.
- Easy and flexible. You can make fun infusions with whatever fruits are cheap and plentiful where you live. Fresh and frozen fruits both work well.
- Diabetes-friendly. If you stick to fruit and herbs (no added sugar), fruit-infused waters are nearly calorie- and carb-free. They can be much easier than fruit juice to sip through the day while maintaining healthy blood sugar.
Remember that fresh fruits are perishable. Wash any ingredients carefully before putting them in water to remove dirt or any residue from chemical sprays. Check for bad spots before cutting. Remove infused fruit from the water after about 12 hours so the fruit doesn’t start to decompose. Toss any infused water that starts to smell or taste off.
Another note to consider is how much lemon or lime juice you use. Eating or drinking a lot of highly acidic foods can take a toll on your tooth enamel over time. If your grocery bag looks like you’re opening a corner lemonade stand, try adding some alkaline cucumber from time to time, or use mint for a bright taste that isn’t acidic like citrus.
Making fruit-infused water
Your imagination is the limit when it comes to infusion mixes for your water. Here are some fruits and herbs to try:
Start by thoroughly washing your ingredients with distilled or filtered water, as well water or hard water can leave an aftertaste. Cut the fruit into slices or chop roughly into chunks so you have cut sides that can release more natural flavor and phytochemicals. You can add a small chunk of peeled ginger or muddle herbs to bring out their flavor and natural oils.
Infuse for at least 30 minutes, although most fruit mixes taste best after three to 12 hours. Try an occasional sip to see when your water suits your taste. Then, use a strain to remove the solid ingredients. Keep in a container with a lid in the fridge for a few days to a week, depending on what ingredients you choose.
Here are some fun, fruity combos to try:
- Cucumber, basil, and lime
- Apple, peach, and ginger
- Blackberry and mint
- Strawberry, orange, and kiwi
- Lemon and mint
- Lemon and ginger
- Raspberry and lime
- Strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, and cherry
- Mango and kiwi
- Peach and basil
Experiment with your own combinations, and soon you’ll be enjoying your new favorite warm-weather refresher.