Ah, fruit water. It’s delicious, nutritious and refreshing, right? Personally, I love the stuff. There’s usually a pitcher of it somewhere in our fridge at all times. I’m not sure when it first started picking up in popularity, but I do remember hearing and reading about all kinds of perks this fruity fitness fad had to offer.
There actually are a lot of health claims online about the health benefits of fruit-infused water. Many of them revolve around the idea that it can detoxify the body. But like many internet fitness trends, some of these claims have been a little misinformed or exaggerated. Today we’re going to take a look at fruit water, some of the hype surrounding it and what kind of benefits it really has to offer.
The working theory in a number of posts about the glory of fruit-infused water is that it can help detoxify the body by flooding your system with lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. I’ve even read testimonies that it can clear up acne, help lose weight by increasing the metabolism and boost overall mood, immune system and energy levels.
That seems plausible since fruits and vegetables are an immense source of nutrients, right? True, they are, but that’s when they’re incorporated into your diet as whole foods. There’s no substantial research to support claims that fruit-infused water by itself is a truly viable source of nutrients. Or that it has any major impact on your immune system.
Fruit water is made by letting the fruit sit in a container of water for roughly 4-12 hours to allow the flavor to infuse (which is different than juicing or blending). There’s probably some transfer of nutrients into the water but it would be diluted and difficult to measure (particularly the longer it sits). So while you might glean some extra bits of nutrients from fruit water, it’s probably fairly insignificant.
If you begin drinking large quantities of fruit-infused water, you probably will begin experiencing some benefits like healthier skin, better digestion, increased energy and a little metabolic boost. But that’s mainly because those are all benefits associated with increasing your overall water intake. You can glean the same benefits by drinking more water in general, fruity or not (like changes I experienced when I started drinking a gallon of water a day).
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not cracking on fruit water. I simply want to use it as an opportunity to address an issue that often holds people back in their fitness journeys: When trendy health fads are paired with misinformation, it can lead to misapplication of fitness and nutrition principles. That misapplication can then lead to further problems and plateaus down the road.
I once had a chat with a woman trying to lose weight and improve her overall health. She told me that she didn’t eat many fruits or vegetables, but it was okay because she now drank cucumber and lemon water religiously throughout the day. While it was great that she was staying well-hydrated, it was a problem that she was doing it in an attempt to supplement whole foods in her diet. And it was a hindrance because fruit-infused water is absolutely not an adequate substitute for the nutrients provided by fruits and vegetables.
Okay, okay… By now, there’s a chance you’re feeling a bit turned off this whole fruit water business. (Which I certainly hope not, or else I’ll have taken all of these pictures of fruit water for nothing.) Fruit water is great. I love it. I’m literally sipping on a refreshing glass of strawberry-mint water as I type.
But it’s not magical. And that’s actually very empowering information. Because otherwise, it could be very disappointing to discover what you thought was a magic cure-all solution was in fact just an ordinary glass of water. (Much like that lady was disappointed to learn her cucumber and lemon water was in no way making up for her nutritional shortcuts.) So what are some more genuine, verifiable benefits to drinking fruit water?
Benefits of Drinking Fruit-Infused Water
- It’s delicious. (That’s a fact, Jack.)
- It can provide the same hydration benefits as regular water.
- Fruit adds flavor without any the use of dyes, chemicals or artificial sweeteners.
- Adding flavor can help prevent boredom, encouraging you to drink more water and stay well hydrated.
- There may be some nutrients transferred from the fruit into the water (even if it’s not overly substantial).
- It will make you look like a super cool and sophisticated if you serve it in fancy pitchers at BBQs and dinner parties.
How to Make Fruit Water
I feel like it hardly merits much of a tutorial, since making fruit-infused water is literally as simple as chopping up fruit and dumping it into a container of water. But there are a couple tips to getting a truly flavorful batch of fruit water.
1. Use LOTS of fruit. I’m not talking throw a few little pieces of cucumber into a pitcher of water and call it a day. If you want the flavor in that water pitcher to pack a punch, chop up and use one or two entire cucumbers. For 2-3 quarts of strawberry water, I use at least one full carton of strawberries. And don’t worry, you will get plenty of use out of that fruit. I just refill the pitcher at night to replenish what I drank that day and will usually get a week’s worth of water from that batch of fruit.
2. Give it plenty of time to infuse. When I make it, I prepare it at the end of the day and let the water sit overnight in the fridge. The next day, boom. Deeply delicious and flavorful fruit water. Make sure you keep your water stored in the fridge, or it will sour if you leave it out overnight.
20 Fruit Water Recipe Ideas
I feel like cucumber water is one of the cornerstones of water-infused coolness. Probably because, thanks to TV and movies, it’s still what I always envision high-class day spas offering to their fancy clients. (“Hello there, Madame Tons’aMoney, can I offer you a glass of our finest cucumber water?”)
If you haven’t tried cucumber water, the best way I could describe it would be to tell you to go take a big bite out of a cucumber. Then imagine consuming that same bite in liquid form. That’s cucumber water. If you’re not overly fond of cucumbers, then coolness factor aside, it might not be the place to start your water-infusing journey. But if you love cucumbers, there’s no better place to begin than with a big glass of cuc-water!
Cucumber Water Combinations:
- Plain ol’ Cucumber
Call me crazy (not really, please don’t) but I’m not overly wild about citrus flavors in my drinks. But I can get down with a big, chilled glass of lemon-strawberry water with a dash of Stevia. (It’s like a lighter, less bitter version of strawberry lemonade.) Nonetheless, many people simply go gaga for lemons, limes and all kinds of citrus in their fruit water. Don’t be afraid to test different combos to find what suits your taste!
Citrus Fruit Water Combinations:
- Plain ol’ Lemon
Strawberries have to be my favorite fruit water base of all time. Those and most any berry in general, honestly. It’s like you just can’t go wrong mixing and matching them will all kinds of different flavors! If there’s a pitcher of fruit water in my fridge (which there is), you can bet it’s full of berries (which it is).
Berry-Licious Fruit Water Combinations:
- Plain ol’ Strawberry
- Dark Cherry-Blackberry
Fruit water, although probably a little over-hyped in terms of actual health benefits, is a great way to help you stay on top of your hydration game. If you want to learn more about hydration, like how much water you should be drinking in a day (spoiler alert, it’s not the old “8×8” myth you’ve probably heard) or even how much water is too much for your system, be sure to check out my article 6 Signs That You’re Dehydrated. And if you want to learn what can happen for your body when you go above and beyond meeting the minimum standards for adequate hydration, check out my article I Tried Drinking a Gallon of Water a Day.
All writing and images copyright © 2018 Rachel Elise Weems Woods