New Year’s resolutions can sometimes feel daunting, but the start of the year is a great time to make small changes. Increasing your water intake while decreasing the amount of sugary drinks you consume is one of the healthiest things you can do.
While we may not feel as thirsty during the winter months as we do in hot weather, it’s especially important to stay hydrated during cold and flu season. Water is essential for keeping our minds and bodies healthy and balanced. It’s in each cell, tissue and organ, and it regulates many processes in the body.
On the other hand, overindulging in sugary drinks — including soda, fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweet teas — can lead to obesity, dental cavities, diabetes, and other serious illnesses. And those drinks can become an expensive habit. Not only is water free, but it helps us to:
• Maintain a healthy weight
• Control body temperature
• Maintain brain function
• Fuel muscles
• Regulate digestion
• Regulate mood
• Lower the risk of illness
• Prevent constipation
• Get rid of toxins
• Keep skin hydrated and glowing
It’s important to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. To make it more fun and delicious, try some of these easy flavored-water recipes, a much healthier alternative to sugary drinks.
• Refreshing Cucumber
Requires: 1 cucumber
Slice cucumber into thin circles. Add slices to a pitcher of water. Refrigerate for 15 minutes and pour over ice to serve.
• Citrus Blend
Requires: 1 orange, 1 lemon, 1 lime
Slice orange, lemon, and lime into circles. Add slices to a pitcher of water. Refrigerate for 15 minutes and pour over ice to serve.
• Minty Iced Tea
Requires: 3 black tea bags, 1 bunch of fresh mint, 1 lemon
Boil 1 cup of water. Add 3 tea bags to boiling water. Let steep for 15 minutes. Throw out the tea bags. Add 2 cups of cold water and bunch of fresh mint. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve over ice with a squeezed wedge of lemon.
• Tangy Cranberry Lime Water
Requires: ½ cup unsweetened cranberry juice, 1 lime
Combine 2 cups of water and ½ cup of unsweetened cranberry juice. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Serve over ice with a squeezed wedge of lime.
Be sure to keep flavored water cold at all times and discard after 24 hours, or bacteria can grow.
These are only a few examples of flavored-water “cocktails.” Get creative with flavors and spices and come up with your own! And cold drinks aren’t the only way to achieve healthy hydration. Drinking herbal teas such as chamomile, peppermint, cinnamon, or ginger is another great way to increase your water intake this winter. Here’s to your health!
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