DIY Flavored Water: Beat the Alabama heat and stay hydrated for better health

DIY Flavored Water: Beat the Alabama heat and stay hydrated for better health

Water is a great way to beat the summer heat. But if you’re craving flavor, adding fresh fruit can take hydration to the next level.

Experts from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP-Ed) say drinking water is the best option for hydration and avoiding heat-related illnesses during scorching summers in the Deep South.

It’s also healthier.

Drinking water instead of sweet tea, soda, fruit juice or other sugary drinks can save hundreds of calories. A 12-ounce can of regular soda contains 140 to 200 calories, all of which come from added sugar. A 24-ounce glass of soda can contain up to 400 calories.

If you prefer to measure your sugar by teaspoon, see how you stack up when drinking sugary drinks compared to water (based on 20-ounce servings):

  • Fruit punch – 18 teaspoons.
  • Energy drink – 16 teaspoons.
  • Sweet tea – 14 teaspoons.
  • Sports drink – 9 teaspoons.
  • Water – 0 tsp.

Dehydration can lead to headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and extreme thirst, among other health-related problems. Additional signs of dehydration include dry mouth, chapped lips, poor concentration, and constipation. A quick and easy way to check adequate water intake is to check the color of your urine. People who drink enough water should have pale, yellow urine. If it is dark yellow or amber in color, it may be a good idea to increase your water intake.

Experts recommend drinking water throughout the day – before symptoms begin to appear – as the best way to avoid dehydration and related diseases.

It’s also important to monitor children playing outside in extreme temperatures and whether they’re drinking enough water, said Katie Funderburk, Auburn University’s SNAP-Ed coordinator and registered dietitian.

“Children are at greater risk of dehydration than adults because they naturally have less fluid in their bodies and can lose more water through their skin via exposure to sweat and heat than adults,” Funderburk said. “They also don’t always realize when they’re thirsty. They need to be reminded and encouraged to drink water throughout the day.

Increase water intake

Although drinking water is essential for a healthy lifestyle, some small habit changes can help you increase your water intake.

  • When thirsty, drink water. If you typically drink soda or other sugary drinks, start by trying to replace just one of these drinks each day with water.
  • Drink water with mealsInstead of other drinks.
  • Carry a refillable water bottle with you So you have water ready when you need it.
  • Add a little flavor. Water doesn’t have to be the same age, the same age every time. Use lemon juice, fresh fruit, or a few slices of cucumber to add variety.

Fruit-infused water can help you avoid sugary alternatives. (Alabama Cooperative Extension System)

Speaking of flavors, check out these simple fruit-infused water recipes that will tantalize your taste buds with summer tastes while helping you happily hydrate. For each recipe, combine ingredients with a gallon of water and stir. Another exciting idea: How about freezing these mixtures in ice trays or trays for some delicious and healthy homemade popsicles?

Either way, stay fresh and keep hydrating!

BlackBerry Mint

  • 40 blackberries, mashed.
  • 40 mint leaves, divided in half.

Berries, orange, basil

  • Three oranges, cut into quarters.
  • 30 to 45 blueberries, juiced.
  • Nine basil leaves, cut in half.

citrus fruits

  • Orange, cut into slices.
  • Grapefruit, cut into slices.
  • Lemon slices.

Pineapple orange

  • ¼ pineapple, cut into slices.
  • ½ orange, peeled and chopped.

Lime berries

  • Four lemons without peel.
  • 40 berries, mashed.

Strawberry kiwi

  • Two kiwis, cut into slices.
  • Five strawberries cut into slices.

Watermelon rosemary

  • ¼ seedless watermelon.
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary.

For more Live Well Alabama recipes, visit Livewellalabama.com or Live Well Alabama on Facebook, Twitter And Instagram.

A version of this story originally appeared on the Alabama Cooperative Extension System website.

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