It’s hot outside and cold drinks are in. But instead of sweet iced tea, iced lattes and sugary lemonade, quench your thirst with homemade flavored water.
Sugar consumption is a real problem in the U.S. The World Health Organization recommends no more than 5% of your daily caloric intake come from added sugar. For the average adult with a normal body mass index (BMI), 5% amounts to 25 g, or approximately 2 tablespoons of sugar.
Apparently, sugar must be too easy to swallow, because Americans on average consume 10 times that amount per day – and the biggest culprit is beverages. Not only does consuming this much sugar lead to weight gain, but it is also associated with an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and gout, and it has even been linked to cancer.
Your best bet to beat the heat and stay hydrated is good old water. Water plays a critical role in every process in your body and it’s naturally free of sugar and calories. And if you need a little flavor to help increase your water intake, try these infused water recipes, or make up your own!
Cucumber Melon and Mint Water
• 1 large lime, sliced thinly
• 1/2 English cucumber, sliced
• 1/2 cup chopped strawberries
• 6 mint leaves
• 6 cups water
Place lime, cucumber and strawberries in the bottom of a large pitcher. Lightly press down on the fruit with a wooden spoon to release flavor and juice. Tear mint leaves in half and add them to the pitcher. Pour water over the top. Place infusion in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours, then serve over ice.
Basil, Blueberry and Orange Water
• 1 cup blueberries
• 2 medium oranges, sliced
• 12 basil leaves
• 6 cups (1.5 L) filtered water
Place blueberries and orange slices in a large pitcher. Lightly press down on the fruit with a wooden spoon to release the flavor and juice. Bruise basil slightly by rubbing the leaves gently, then add basil to the pitcher and pour water over the top. Chill infusion in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours before serving.
Photo from here, with thanks.