March to mid part of June is summer season in the Philippines. It is the period of the year that boys and girls are on vacation from their classes in school. Also, it is one of those times that everyone, young and old alike, is being called outdoors to play, enjoy the sunshine, smell the breeze, and be more active and appreciative of nature and the fragile sweetness of all its blossoming flowers and plants. Engaging in different physical activities coupled by the higher-than-usual-temperature brought by the unforgiving summer requires us to intake more liquids to keep our active and naturally moving bodies well hydrated. To save us from dehydration, here the most important beverage and the safest thirst-quencher of all comes to the rescue – and it is none other than the WATER.
Because water does not have a taste and has a tendency to become boring, it is also one of the things that we seem to ignore and take for granted. Its lack of flavors is the main reason that it is often overshadowed by the so-called electrolyte-induced flavored energy drinks and vitamin waters. Most of the times, we overlook the ingredients and nutrient contents of those pre-packed sports juices as many of them are loaded with preservatives, artificial flavors, colorings and sweeteners, high sodium and high fructose contents and other components that may not be good to our health, thus, defeating our real good intentions why we drink and hydrate our bodies.
|Turn your plain water exciting with the help of a few slices of fruits and vegetables, and a few dashes of herbs.|
I am not one of those overly conscious fitness and health buffs but I belong to the marginal few who would want to convince you that water can be exciting and beneficial at the same time. As I have already mentioned, water is the most important beverage that Mother Nature has bestowed us. Its fundamental role as the body’s natural thirst-quencher and hydrator is comparable to none. But aside from that, it is also the easiest, surest, safest and most effective body cleanser and detoxification weapon. Far from the usual images of detoxification which include diets by way of starvation and deprivation, drinking water is rather a slow yet a steady way of cleansing our body with the poisons and pollutants brought by our daily routines and by the environment surrounding us. Water slowly flushes toxins out from organs and bodily systems. It keeps our ears, eyes, nose and throat tissues moist and well-hydrated. It also helps our liver to metabolize stored fat faster, enabling our overworked kidneys to take some rest. The oxygen from the water is carried from cell to cell which assists in building muscles and tissues and facilitates cognitive and nerve functions. Drinking water can also help in losing weight, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and other signs of aging, and maintaining glow and health of our skin and nails. In the simplest sense, water detoxifies from the inside to outside.
Having said all that, in what way can we add more color and excitement to the usual plain and ordinary water? With the help of a few slices of fruits and vegetables, and a few dashes of herbs and aromatics, we can make our drinking water look and taste delicious while increasing the benefits from vitamins and minerals that our bodies can easily and readily absorb. Our body and soul can take full advantage of the fresh goodness while deceiving our mind into taking in more water than we could have in the past. In my own version of Fruit and Herb Infused Water, I chose the fruits and herbs that I can easily obtain fresh from the place where I am. Here are some of my chosen fresh produce alongside the benefits that we can get from them:
- Red and Green Apple – a good source of antioxidant that have anti-inflammatory effects on our cells; helps in the maintenance of healthy immune cells and in the prevention of various types of cancer; contains vitamins A, B and C that helps in the maintenance of glowing skin from inside; keeps our bones and tissues strong; contains a number of minerals such as zinc, copper, manganese, potassium, etc. which are trace minerals and are a must for human health and well-being; contains iron that helps in raising the levels of blood oxygen and helps in increased metabolic rate; prevents asthma, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Cucumber – contains important electrolytes that keep us hydrated and help in flushing out the toxins; aids in weight loss and digestion; cures diabetes, reduces cholesterol and controls blood pressure; helps promote joint health by strengthening the connective tissues; relieves gout and arthritis pain by lowering the uric acid levels.
- Orange – aids with healthy blood circulation; helps prevent cancer and kidney diseases; contains potassium, an electrolyte mineral responsible for helping the heart function well; protects cells by neutralizing free radicals; protects against viral infections.
- Calamansi Lime – excellent anti-aging weapon due to its restorative properties for hair, skin, and nails; contains vitamin C that strengthens our immune system and heals our wounds; helps produce collagen in or bodies; helps relieve cold and flu; helps with weight loss, skin tone and bowel movement.
- Ginger – a notorious immune system booster; highly effective against nausea, especially morning sickness; reduces muscle pain and soreness; helps lower blood sugar and improves heart disease risk factors; helps lower bad cholesterol; can treat chronic indigestion; contains antioxidants and bioactive compounds that can inhibit inflammatory responses that occur in the brain that improve brain function and protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
- Mint Leaves – supports the digestive system by activating salivary glands and digestive enzymes; its strong and refreshing aroma is a quick and effective remedy for nausea and also very effective in clearing up congestion of the nose, throat, bronchi and lungs, which gives relief for respiratory disorders that often result from asthma and the common cold; freshens breath; inhibit the release of histamines, which often spur on the severe nasal symptoms that are associated with hay fever and seasonal allergies.
Bottom line: Water is not only perfect for quenching our thirst, it is also the most suitable medium that helps us in maximizing the wonderful benefits we can obtain from nature, in the safest and most effective way possible. So, have you got enough water for today?
Fruit and Herb Infused Water
Makes 6 to 8 glasses
- ½ red apple
- ½ green apple
- ½ cucumber
- 1 orange
- 6 pcs. calamansi lime
- 1 thumb-sized ginger
- 8-12 pcs. mint leaves
- 1.5 L water
- a basin full of water
- 2 tbps. vinegar or calamansi juice
- Thoroughly wash the ingredients in running water, lightly rubbing the skin with fingers to remove the dirt. For 5 to 10 minutes, soak the whole fruits in a mixture of water and vinegar or calamansi juice. This will help remove the impurities sticking on the skin.
- Slice the cucumber, and green and red apples into two. Cover the remaining halves with plastic cling wrap and set aside in the refrigerator for future use. Thinly slice the halved apples into wedges and the cucumber into round slices.
- Peel the ginger and then slice into strips. Cut the calamansi limes into two and the orange into thin round slices.
- Place all the sliced ingredients in a large mason jar or glass pitcher. Add the mint leaves. Fill the jar or pitcher with clean drinking water and then tightly cover with lid. Infuse the water for at least thirty minutes. Add ice or chill it in the refrigerator if preferred. Drink like an ordinary drinking water. Enjoy!
TIPS FROM ENZ:
- Replenish the jar or pitcher with clean drinking water every now and then, and keep refrigerated. Discard and change the fruits after 48 hours.
- You may make your own combination of fruits and herbs, whichever is seasonal and accessible, such as strawberries, pineapple, kiwi, lemon, lime, watermelon, rosemary, lavender, cilantro, oregano and basil.
- You may also infuse the water with tea of your choice and honey as you prefer.