Tahoe Top 5: Infused water provides flavor without sugar | SierraSun.com

Tahoe Top 5: Infused water provides flavor without sugar

Quenching your thirst is so much more than just an immediate sense of relief – it can be an opportunity to enrich your diet or, unknowingly sabotage your health.

Packaged beverages are readily available making them the quick and easy choice when you're thirsty; but taking a few moments to prepare your own infused water is a fantastic way to ensure you're being good to your body without sacrificing flavor.

According to Maria Martin, director of community health and wellness with the Tahoe Forest Hospital's Wellness Neighborhood program, sodas and even beverages labeled "fruit drinks" come with more sugar than you might've bargained for in the beverage.

"The main thing is that sodas or "100 percent fruit juice" or "juice drinks" aren't natural juices," Martin said.

"Soda doesn't have any nutritional value at all. You're getting a lot of sugar you don't need since the average soda is 20 ounces, that's 14 to 17 teaspoons of added sugar per 20 ounces of soda."

The solution is as simple as replacing your soda intake with infused water instead. You can create different recipes with your favorite fruit and herbs to not only quench your thirst and satisfy your palette, but also give your body a nutritional boost with each sip you take.

Recommended Stories For You

"You can save all of that added sugar from your diet by drinking infused waters," Martin said.

"We drink infused water all the time, in fact I'm drinking water right now with lime and mint in it," she said.

Martin suggested preparing infused water for kids as an alternative to prepackaged juices and soft drinks.

"Kids call it "spa water" and they love it. Fruit makes the water look interesting and adds a little taste that makes people want to drink more water, you can't go wrong with that," she said.

Below are Martin's Top 5 Fruit Infused Water suggestions to keep from adding too much unnecessary sugar to your diet.

1. Cucumber & Mint

Cucumber has anti-inflammatory properties and is known for being highly hydrating. Mint is a natural stomach-soother, aiding in digestion. Combine the two with a splash of lime, if you'd like, for a great detoxifying drink that tastes crisp and refreshing while nourishing your skin from the inside, out.

2. Citrus Slices

Any citrus slices added to water have great health benefits and give the water a delicious aroma and flavor, making it easier to keep drinking more and more. Lemon slices add a refreshing and fresh flavor to water, while adding orange slices will balance the tartness and make the water sweet without any added, unhealthy sugars. You should squeeze the citrus juice into the water for best nutritional value.

3. Berries & Kiwi

Berries mixed with kiwi slices in water make for great, children-friendly drinks. The mild flavor and bright colors make the water interesting and fun to drink. Berries have anti-inflammatory properties and are great detoxifiers, which are said to have anti-aging effects.

4. Watermelon & Rosemary

Watermelon is another hydrating fruit with detoxifying properties. Its amino acids are known for flushing liver and kidneys' ammonia buildup. Adding rosemary is a natural boost of iron, calcium and vitamin B6, not to mention flavor.

5. Blueberry & Raspberry

Blueberries are rich in antioxidants, raspberries add vitamin C, blackberries are a great source of fiber, strawberries add vitamins A, C and E – any mix of your favorite berries is sure to pack a nutritional punch; and the water is so delicious, staying hydrated has never been so easy.

Cassandra Walker is a features and entertainment reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at cwalker@sierrasun.com, 530-550-2654 or @snow1cass.

Fun Fact

Herbs can be introduced to infused water recipes for added health benefits.

Basil is an anti-inflammatory said to reduce pain and fevers, while relieving stress and boosting the immune system.

Ginger helps combat an upset stomach and aids in digestion. The flavor can be overpowering, so use lightly and try combining with lemon and orange.

Learn More:

Tahoe Forest Hospital offers the Wellness Neighborhood program hosting classes in different community locations to discuss optimizing health, preventative health initiatives, chronic disease self-management, and other helpful health topics.

Visit http://www.tfhd.com/wellness-neighborhood for more.