June 21, 2024

Many Americans don’t drink enough water daily, which can lead to dehydration and other health issues, such as constipation and high blood pressure.

While it’s clear that maintaining optimal hydration is key for overall health, some people find it challenging to meet their daily water needs because they don’t like the taste of plain water.

Fortunately, a number of ingredients can be added to water to enhance its taste and health benefits.

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Lemon slices and lemon juice are amongst the most popular water additives, and for good reason. Not only do lemons add a tangy, citrusy flavor to water, which can increase your water consumption, but they also provide several nutrients and beneficial plant compounds.

For example, lemons are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is critical for immune function and has powerful antioxidant effects. Just two tablespoons (tbsp) of lemon juice provides 13% of your daily needs for vitamin C.

Adding lemon slices or lemon juice to your water can help you maintain optimal vitamin C levels, which may reduce your risk of developing many health conditions, including heart disease.

Try squeezing fresh lemon juice into your water and combining lemon slices with other water additives, like mint, for a refreshing way to increase your fluid intake.

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Tart cherry juice has a sweet and slightly tart flavor perfect for jazzing up plain water. Adding tart cherry juice to water may be an especially smart choice for athletes and gym-goers looking for an easy and delicious way to support muscle recovery.

Research suggests that drinking tart cherry juice could facilitate muscle recovery and reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), a type of common muscle injury that causes symptoms like swelling, pain, and stiffness after exercise. Tart cherry juice contains anti-inflammatory compounds, including anthocyanins, which may help reduce muscle damage and DOMS.

One review found that drinking tart cherry juice effectively reduced DOMS, decreased inflammation markers after exercise, and accelerated muscle recovery.

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If you like ginger tea, ginger slices or ginger juice could become your new go-to water additive. Ginger’s warm, spicy flavor pairs well with other water additives like lemon juice.

Ginger contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances, including shogaols, gingerols, and zingerone. These compounds combat inflammation by inhibiting certain proinflammatory pathways and decreasing levels of inflammatory proteins such as tumor necrosis factor ╬▒ (TNF-╬▒).

In addition to reducing inflammation, ginger compounds have pain-reducing and muscle-relaxing effects, and some research suggests that ginger treatments may be a helpful way to reduce period-related pain. Try adding ginger juice or ginger slices to your water or making ginger tea during your period to soothe cramps.

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Magnesium is a mineral required for blood sugar regulation, muscle contraction, blood pressure maintenance, and many other critical body processes. Magnesium supplements can help improve overall health and may be especially beneficial for those with hypertension (high blood pressure), hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), and several other health concerns.

Magnesium supplements are available in many forms, including powdered products, some of which are flavored. Adding magnesium powder to your water can benefit health in several ways, including reducing blood sugar and blood pressure and improving constipation.

Try adding magnesium powder to your water for an easy and effective way to boost your health.

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Pomegranates and pomegranate juice are rich in protective plant compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, such as anthocyanins, ellagitannins, and organic acids. Studies show that drinking pomegranate juice regularly could benefit heart health by reducing blood pressure and may support cognitive function by lowering inflammation and enhancing memory.

A 2019 study of 60 people with type 2 diabetes found that the participants who drank 200 mL of pomegranate juice daily for six weeks experienced significant reductions in their blood pressure levels compared to a control group.

Add a splash of pomegranate juice to your water for a heart-healthy way to stay hydrated.

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Electrolyte powders are dietary supplements that typically contain sodium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and chloride, minerals essential to health. Adding electrolyte powders to water can help optimize hydration status, especially for those who are losing fluids and electrolytes through sweat, such as athletes and people working in hot environments. Electrolyte powders can also benefit people experiencing fluid loss through diarrhea or vomiting.

Electrolyte powders come in many flavors, but it’s important to note that some contain high amounts of added sugar. If you’d like to limit your added sugar intake, choose electrolyte powders sweetened with natural sugar alternatives, like monk fruit or stevia.

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Mint leaves can add a refreshing flavor and aroma to your water that may be particularly helpful when you’re feeling nauseated. Studies show that simply smelling mint could help reduce nausea and vomiting in certain populations, including pregnant women.

Try combining mint leaves and ginger juice or sliced ginger in your water for additional anti-nausea benefits. Ginger is known to have anti-nausea effects and may add additional health benefits to your water.

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Citrus fruits, like oranges and grapefruits, are packed with flavor and can help make your water more pleasant to drink. They are also high in health-promoting compounds like polyphenols, such as naringin and ferulic acid. Boosting your intake of polyphenol-rich foods could support cellular health, improve longevity, and reduce your risk of common health conditions like heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases.

Add a few slices of orange or grapefruit to your water or freeze orange or grapefruit juice in ice trays for a delicious way to keep your water cool while adding a punch of citrusy flavor.

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Hibiscus tea has a fruity and slightly tart taste and can be enjoyed hot or cold. Infusing your water with loose-leaf hibiscus or hibiscus teabags can give your drink a beautiful ruby-red color while enhancing its health benefits.

Hibiscus tea is rich in anthocyanins, which have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in the body. Studies show that drinking hibiscus tea could reduce blood pressure and decrease markers of inflammation such as C-reactive protein (CRP)

Try sipping on chilled hibiscus water on a hot day or unwinding with a cup of hot hibiscus tea at night.

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Green tea is another type of tea that can greatly benefit your water. Like hibiscus tea, green tea can be enjoyed hot or cold and is delicious paired with other water additives, like ginger and lemon.

Green tea is a concentrated source of polyphenol antioxidants, including catechins like epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG has powerful cellular-protective and anti-inflammatory effects and is one of the most well-studied compounds in green tea. Because of its high levels of EGCG and other protective compounds, drinking green tea regularly may reduce your risk of health conditions like heart disease, certain cancers, and even depression.

Your hydration needs depend on factors like the environment in which you live, activity levels, body weight, and pregnancy and breastfeeding status. Some people, such as pregnant people, people who live or work in hot climates, and people who are very active, require more water than the average person.

While hydration needs vary, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends that adult women and men consume 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) and 15 cups (3.7 liters) of water daily, respectively.

Most people can maintain their hydration status by letting their thirst dictate their fluid consumption. You can also assess your hydration level by the color of your urine. Generally speaking, your urine should be pale and yellowish, like light straw. Darker-colored urine may indicate dehydration.

In addition to drinking plenty of water throughout your day, there are a few other ways to maintain optimal hydration.

Choosing hydrating foods (high in water), like fruits and vegetables, is an easy and nutritious way to meet part of your daily water needs.

Additionally, cutting back on foods and drinks that contribute to dehydration, such as foods high in added salt and alcohol, can help keep you hydrated.

If you struggle to stay hydrated, adding certain ingredients, like fruits, fruit juice, and electrolyte powders, to your water could help you increase your fluid intake.

Try some of the healthy water additives like lemon, ginger, or mint for an easy way to boost the flavor and health benefits of plain water.


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