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When it’s too hot even to think about food: Infused Water
August 18, 2017
By Kay MacInnis, Registered Dieititian
It’s too hot even to think about food! But we need to think about staying well hydrated during these sweltering days.
The best way to do that is and always has been water – Calorie-free, fat-free, salt-free, gluten-free. It fits into any diet plan, whether it’s vegetarian, vegan, paleo, or just a plain old healthy lifestyle.
Drinking water is critically important to our health. Our bodies are mostly made up of water, and we need more of it to maintain balance in our precious bodily fluids and help our biological processes work as they should.
I’m not sure whether the old eight-glasses-of-water-a-day rule is proven science, but at least we know we should drink water in place of sugary or sweet beverages. Even beverages that contain caffeine can make up part of your water intake. A moderate amount of caffeine (200-300 mg) – is not considered harmful. Water can also be found in abundance in such foods as watermelon, tomatoes and lettuce.
Does it matter whether the water is cold? Drinking cold water does seem to cool the body quicker. It also goes down better. Studies reveal that people drink about 50 percent more cold or cool water compared to warm water when they exercise – and as a result are less dehydrated. They also experience a slower and lower rise in core body temperature when they drink cold rather than lukewarm water. And cold-water drinkers are able to exercise longer without feeling exhausted.
To make your water more appetizing, try infusing it with fruit, cucumber or mint – or maybe basil.
Infuse water at room temperature for no more than 2 hours. After that, put it in the fridge to prevent bacterial growth.
Cucumbers, citrus fruits, melons, and fresh herbs flavor water almost immediately. Melons and sliced strawberries start looking waterlogged after a few hours, but citrus and whole berries look pretty good even after hours in the fridge.
Some more infusion ideas:
- Cucumber, lime and mint
- Lemon, raspberry and rosemary
- Orange, blueberry and basil
- Lime, cucumber and basil
- Watermelon, honeydew and mint
- Cucumber, mint and jalapeño
- Lemon, thyme and blueberry
- Lemon, lime and strawberry
- Lemon, orange and strawberry
- Watermelon, lime and mint (or cucumbers, or basil)
As you see, the possibilities are almost endless. Get creative and come up with your own blends!
This is another in a weekly series of healthy recipes from Kay MacInnis, registered dietitian at Providence Health in Columbia, S.C.
Kay promotes health and wellness, helping cardiac and diabetes patients eat their way to healthier lives. She works in consultation with the trained chefs at Providence, combining her nutrition knowledge with their food prep know-how to create delicious, healthy dishes for patients and the public. She also conducts a number of health and wellness events for the public, including the monthly Providence Cooks! classes – our next one is on Sept. 6.
"She doesn't just give you the fish, she teaches you how to cook it."
– a Kay MacInnis fan and Providence Cooks! regular.