Hot summer days call for a tall glass of something cold. Your healthiest option? Water.
Not only does it have zero calories, “for those with a chronic condition like arthritis, water also helps in lubricating the joints, so you can move more easily, and helps to flush out the kidneys, so your body can work more efficiently,” says registered dietitian Lyssie Lakatos, with Nutrition Twins consulting in New York City.
How much should you drink? It varies by person, but aim for about half your body weight in ounces. For a 140-pound individual, that would be 70 ounces (about 9 cups daily), but the water content in other beverages and foods also counts.
Not a water lover? Infuse it with fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs. “Infusing water will add flavor, which gives you a little more motivation to drink up,” adds registered dietitian Tammy Lakatos Shames, Lakatos’s partner in Nutrition Twins. To start, try these antioxidant-rich combos.
Pineapple Lemon Ginger
Muddle 6 fresh or frozen pineapple cubes in a pitcher. Add 2 slices lemon and 1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger root (peeled and chopped or shaved), then fill pitcher with water. Let steep a few hours. “Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory while pineapple is an excellent source of bromelain, an enzyme that aids in digestion. Both the pineapple and lemon are also rich in antioxidants and vitamin C to repair muscles an tissues,” says Lakatos. Bromelain also may have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving and properties.
Mint Cucumber Lime Raspberries
In a large pitcher, add 1/4 cup of mint leaves (stems removed), 1/2 cup sliced cucumber, 1/2 squeezed lime, 1/2 sliced lime and 1/2 cup of raspberries to a pitcher of water. Let steep. This drink is filled with phytonutrients; cucumber is rich in silica, which promotes bone and joint health, and mint helps digestion and perks you up.
Combine a variety of herbs (basil, rosemary, mint, lemon verbena, cilantro, thyme) in a glass. Tear or crush herbs to release their oils. Add to water and let steep. Serve cold. Herbs like rosemary may provide mood-boosting benefits; others, like thyme and cilantro, may have anti-inflammatory properties.
- To keep the water from getting bitter, remove rinds from citrus.
- Let it sit overnight to maximize flavor. Keep refrigerated, and throw it out after a day.
- Try using an infusion pitcher or bottle, which features a separate chamber to hold the ingredients.
AUTHOR: ALYSSA SHAFFER
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