Let’s face it—chronic low-grade dehydration is a big problem in the United States. It is especially a problem when one is trying to lose weight. You may not be aware, but studies show that, at any given time, between 20 to 35% of US adults are “actively dieting.”
As a chiropractor, I know and understand the importance of maintaining proper hydration levels for spinal and joint health. But, did you know that water also helps flush toxins, makes you feel fuller, and speeds up fat burning. These three reasons alone provide a great motive to stay hydrated.
While important for overall health and well-being, maintaining proper hydration is critical for those who are actively trying to lose weight. Without enough water in the body, cells get congested, the skin can’t detox, and the bladder and kidneys won’t work properly. Additionally, reduced hydration can make you feel tired and hungry – sabotaging your new eating plan. Often, when you feel hungry, your body is really telling you that you are thirsty or dehydrated. Try drinking a glass of water before you reach for a snack.
Benefits of Staying Hydrated
- Combats fatigue
- Reduces high blood pressure
- Alleviates allergies and asthma
- Makes your skin, joints, and digestive system healthier
- Flushes out unwanted bacteria from the bladder and kidneys
- Slows the aging process
- Aids in circulation
- Helps regulate the body’s cooling system
Satisfy Your Palate with Flavored Water
- Most herbal teas add flavor without adding calories, especially if you don’t add sugar. There are great caffeine-free tea flavors, such as peach, blueberry, and apple. Brew some and chill it or drink it hot. You can also steep mint, ginger, or licorice tea until highly concentrated and add it to your water for a little zip.
- To Flavor your cold or room temperature water, peel a raw cucumber and add slices to a pitcher of water for a refreshing spa-like beverage. Not only does the cucumber flavor infiltrate the water, but some of the cucumber’s nutrients also do as well, including vitamins C, A, and K, iron, calcium, and potassium. (And, munching on the cucumber slices can help you maximize your vitamin and nutrient intake.)
- Add a few crushed mint leaves to your water to give it a cool, fresh taste, or try some basil if you prefer something zestier.
- Simmer a cinnamon stick in one cup of hot water and let cool. Then, mix the concentrate with cold water and keep chilled. Serve over ice and garnish as desired.
- Fruit-Flavored Water is easy to make. Simply buy a water infuser and add some fresh fruit from the approved list provided by ChiroThin. Add the fruit to the strainer at the center of the infuser and let the fruit flavors steep into the water in the pitcher. Remove the fruit when you have reached the amount of flavor you prefer. You can also freeze sliced citrus fruit, such as limes, lemons, clementines, or even berries, and use it as ice cubes. Not only will this add flavor, but also an elegant flair.
- You can also add a few drops of your favorite organic essential oil to cold water or iced tea. When choosing a strong flavor such as peppermint, start with one drop and add to taste. You also can combine flavors for more complex beverages, such as one drop of sweet orange/ one drop of cinnamon, or one drop of ginger/one drop of lemon.
Infused Water Recipes
Now it’s time to play with your water. Try ginger tea with a burst of cinnamon, or cucumber with a hint of basil. Another nice combination is mint leaves with frozen berries. Here are a few suggestions for flavor combinations using the techniques outlined above.
Lemon and Cucumber Tart: lemon and cool cucumber pair well together. Add lemons to your water infuser or freeze some slices to use as ice cubes. Add sliced cucumbers and keep chilled.
Strawberry and Basil Flavorful: colorful strawberries and basil are a perfect pairing. Basil can overpower the strawberries, though, so add the basil gradually until the flavor is right for you. Basil provides iron and strawberries give you a jolt of vitamin C.
Mint: You can add mint leaves to your water for a subtle flavor. If you want something more complex, combine mint leaves with strawberry, raspberry, or lime ice cubes. Cucumber and mint is another nice combination you can try.
Watermelon and Jalapeño: Freeze chunks of watermelon to use as ice cubes. Add thyme and as many sliced jalapeño peppers as you dare (by including the seeds, it will increase the heat). This spicy combination gives you the added benefit of vitamins A and C from the watermelon and capsaicin from the jalapeño. (Note: Remember to wash your hands thoroughly after handling jalapeños.)
Apples and Cinnamon: Add apples to your infuser or use frozen apple slices as ice cubes. Brew a cinnamon stick as previously described and add it too. Garnish with some lemon slices if you like it zestier.
Blueberries, Lemon, and Mint: This dynamic combo gives you the antioxidant power of blueberries and mint. Throw everything together in a pitcher and let it steep overnight in the refrigerator. Keep chilled.
Melon Lime: Try pairing melon and lime for some subtle flavor. You can also combine frozen honeydew cubes with frozen lime slices for a refreshing beverage. If you like it zestier, you can boost the citrus flavor with a drop of lemongrass oil.
Citrus Mix: Combine frozen slices of your favorite citrus, such as lemons, limes, grapefruits, and oranges. Add mint, basil, or even cilantro leaves for a flavorful twist.
Ginger Infusion: Peel and slice a 2- to 3-inch piece of ginger root, add one cup of water, and heat in water until just boiling. Turn off the heat and steep for at least 30 minutes. Add to a pitcher of cold water and use frozen raspberries, blueberries, or lime slices as ice cubes. Stir and let chill overnight.
Once you’ve mastered these techniques, keep pre-flavored, chilled water in your refrigerator so it’s always available. The flavor combinations are endless, and your water will never be boring again. More importantly, maintaining proper hydration, an essential part of health and weight loss, will be an absolute breeze.
~By Dr. Jason Strtheide: Dr. Jason Strotheide is a 1993 graduate of Logan College of Chiropractic and is the founder and CEO of ChiroNutraceutical™ and the doctor-supervised ChiroThin Weight Loss Program™. With nearly 40,000 programs sold in the United States and Canada, ChiroThin has the distinction of being the #1 weight loss program exclusively for chiropractic offices.