When it's cracking 40 degrees outside, and you don't have a pool, water is still the go-to for not dying in the hot Australian summers. The average Australian drinks 1.29 litres of water per day. Not enough people!
Adult women should consume around two litres (eight cups) and adult men 2.6 litres (about 10 cups) of fluids a day to prevent dehydration.
And that statistic is for the average day, not taking into account a usual hot summers day.
WHY SHOULD I DRINK THAT MUCH?
Because it is crucial for your health and the functioning of all your organs and bodily systems. Convinced yet? When you are even slightly dehydrated, you have a much lower ability to function physically and mentally. It doesn't take much, just a drop of 1% of our total body water content negatively affects our mood and cognitive ability. Did you know that when you get that feeling of "Oh, I think I'm thirsty", your body is already dehydrated.
If you’re only mildly dehydrated you’re 114% more likely to make an error, which is similar to drinking low levels of alcohol.
(Stephen Tamlin www.waterlogicaustralia.com.au)
SO HOW DO WE COMBAT DEHYDRATION?
Obviously, drink more water. But, here are some tips to help make it an easier process and hopefully more of a habit:
1. Make it a morning habit - as soon as you get up in the morning (and probably have your morning toilet visit), go and drink a large glass of water. Stand at the kitchen bench until it is all done, no shortcuts.
2. Have a reusable water bottle - take it with you EVERYWHERE. Sit it on your desk at work, take it in the car, carry it in your backpack to school, take it into classes, get one that fits in your handbag and take it shopping etc. When it is present in your life, it will more easily become a habit to drink from it. (Make sure it's BPA free).
3. Eat your water - yep, you heard right. You can eat water! Well, technically you eat the fruits and vegetables and absorb the water from them. By increasing your daily intake of fruits and vegetables, you are also increasing your water level.
4. Water infusions - the reason you are most likely here....a lot of people don't drink water because they don't like it, it's boring, so they end up drinking sugary fruit juices and sodas. So, make it interesting. Add some fruit and herbs to flavour it up, cut the sugar and hydrate!
WATER INFUSION RECIPES
If you have read through all this blah blah to get to the recipes, well done, you have made it.
Some tips to begin with:
1. Get yourself a decent pitcher/jug, mason jar, large water bottle, or you can buy specific infuser water bottle if you want to get all fancy.
2. Go for organic where possible to reduce your intake of herbicides and pesticides, or at least soak fruit and herbs in the sink with water and some baking soda to reduce the nasties.
3. For the best flavour, infuse for at least 2 hours or overnight. So, prepare your water before your go to bed, then you'll have it for your new morning habit of drinking a big glass of water as soon as you get up.
4. If you don't get to drink all your water within 24 hours, just take out the fruit and herbs, and it can be stored for up to 3 days.
5. You can also top up the water level during the day, the flavour will just be a little weaker.
6. Make up smaller versions in mason jars to serve at summer parties. They look amazing!
7. To make it a little more fancy, just add soda water instead of filtered water.
8. Play around with the quantities of fruit and herbs, you may like your water stronger or weaker than these recipes suggest. Give it a go, and have fun experimenting. Let me know what your favourite flavour is!
RECIPES - for a 2 litre water jug (go big or go thirsty)
1. Cucumber + mint
Cucumbers on there own are a naturally hydrating food due to their high water content, and they taste great combined with the refreshing taste of mint. The mint will also help with digestion throughout the day.
Thinly slice one cucumber, or peel it if it isn't organic, and add a handful of fresh mint leaves to 2 litres of water. Infuse for at least 2 hours. You can remove the cucumber after around 2 hours, as it will begin to look less appetising. However, appearances really are the only reason for removing it :)
2. Watermelon + basil
Watermelon is always a go to snack on a hot summers day as it is naturally hydrating due to its high water content, and basil is another great herb for aiding digestion.
Dice 1 cup of watermelon and add to 2 litres of filtered water with around 8-10 fresh washed basil leaves. Infuse for at least 2 hours. The watermelon can be removed after a couple of hours if you wish, as it will flavour the water quickly.
3. Strawberry, orange + basil
Strawberries are full of antioxidants and help to support the immune system, as do oranges. And, they just taste delicious.
Wash and thinly slice around 6-8 strawberries and one orange. Add to 2 litres of filtered water along with 8-10 fresh washed basil leaves. Infuse for at least 2 hours. Remove the orange slices after around 4 hours if it is not peeled, or your water could taste a little bitter. Also, strawberries can begin to look a little unattractive, so for appearances sake can be removed too.
4. Pineapple + mint
This tastes like it's on the way to being a delicious 'mocktail' sipped by the pool. Pineapples support the immune system, digestion and are anti-inflammatory.
Slice about 1/3 of a fresh pineapple and cut slices into wedges. Place in 2 litres of filtered water with a handful of washed mint leaves. Infuse for at least 4 hours.
5. Berry Citrus
Blueberries are royalty when it comes to the antioxidant family, and they can help protect against ageing.
Wash and slice one orange and place in 2 litres of filtered water with 2/3 cup of washed blueberries. You could also add some basil or mint if you're keen! Infuse for at least 4 hours. Remove the orange slices after around 4 hours if it is not peeled.
6. Strawberry Lemon
Yep, back at the strawberries again. They are just a classic summer fruit. Combine them with lemon for an almost strawberry lemonade drink. (Just add soda water for a sugar free and still hydrating version).
Wash and thinly slice about 8 strawberries and half a lemon. Add to 2 litres of filtered water and infuse for at least 2 hours. Remember, you can remove the strawberries after a few hours if you wish as they may look a little sad.
7. Mango Pineapple
Nothing says an Australian summer like mangos! So why not add it to your water. Mangos help with digestion, promoting a healthy gut and clearing the skin. Don't you just want to eat more now!
Peel and slice one mango, and add one cup of diced pineapple to 2 litres of filtered water. Infuse for at least 4 hours.
8. Strawberry + Lime + Mint
This is perhaps one of my favourite flavour combinations. So refreshing!
Wash and thinly slice around 8 strawberries and 1 lime. Add to 2 litres of water along with a handful of fresh washed mint leaves. Infuse for at least 2 hours.
9. Apricot + raspberry + mint
I always get excited when it is stone fruit season. Apricots are my favourite. They are packed with vitamin A, are good for your heart, skin and blood. Raspberries have lots of vitamin C, and are also good for the heart and circulatory system.
Wash and cut 3 apricots into wedges, add to 2 litres of filtered water with a handful of washed raspberries and fresh mint leaves. Infuse for at least 4 hours.
10. Christmas in a cup (Apple + Pear + Cinnamon)
Ok, this one gets a special name. When you taste it, you'll know why. Apples are the original coffee, and along with pear, they are full of antioxidants and fibre.
Wash and thinly slice 2 apples and 1 pear. Add to 2 litres of filtered water with 2 cinnamon bark sticks. Infuse for at least 4 hours.
HAPPY WATER DRINKING YA'LL! Let me know your favourite flavour :)