If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water,” quoth anthropologist and natural science writer Loren Eisely. There’s nothing quite potent than this colorless, life-giving liquid. There are umpteen benefits to tanking up on it too but there are moments when ennui sets and we begin to yearn for different ways of making it palatable. Its tastelessness is a put-off for many. So we go from hot to cold, regular to infused, colorless to colored. But what’s best for us? Here is a decoder.
The latest hot-footer on the drinkable elixir circuit is infused alkaline blackwater with pH 8+. It’s been a saleable concept abroad and has now jockeyed into India. But is the hype worth it? “It detoxifies the body faster than normal water, as it gets absorbed faster than the regular water, thus, hydrating dehydrated cells faster. Rich in dissolved oxygen, it increases the metabolic rate to a reasonable extent. But it’s not as great as some make it out to be. It can be good for people who drink very less water daily. Blackwater contains fulvic acid and humic acid (mainly found in soil sediments in the aquatic environment). These ingredients are not required by our body. We can easily neutralise the acidic environment inside our system by eating more alkaline foods and less acidic foods,” says Chennai-based dietitian Deepalekha Bhattacharjee.
“In Kerala, pathimugam or redwood soaked in water, is a popular Ayurvedic powered sip. It’s taken especially after meals for better digestion,” says Mumbai-based nutritionist and health coach Neha Sahaya. Also called the Indian red, this pink-hued drink is made from bark shavings soaked in water, replete with medicinal benefits, she shares. “You can boil the water with pathimugam for two-three minutes, strain and consume any time during the day. It cures kidney disorders, skin diseases, cholesterol, and purifies the blood and helps in controlling diabetes. But you must remember that water alone is not a miracle creator. Everything has to be followed up by a healthy lifestyle,” says Sahaya.
Get going on the water intake by infusing a big jug of water with your pick of fresh cuts such as lemons, mint, or cucumber. You can also add apple juliennes, cinnamon sticks, and saffron threads. “Lime water is an excellent alkaline sip that can be made at home easily. You can even prepare infused water by mixing in coconut water or juices,” says Mumbai-based nutritionist and lifestyle educator Karishma Chawla.
Fennel and caraway seed water is a good digestive bitter and can aid in digestion and better immunity. “Essentially, we get one-litre water through the food we eat.
Keep in mind that raw fruits and vegetables carry the highest percentage of water, while carbohydrates like cooked whole grains and lentils have a fair amount too, and food high in fat like nuts and seeds have very low water content. We need to consume at least three litres of water daily, excluding that which is consumed during a workout,” says Chawla.
If you have a hard time getting water inside, here’s a clever tip: Bhattacharjee advises consuming a whole fruit or a vegetable as opposed to drinking infused water. “The weight loss caused due to infused water is the fluid loss or the carbohydrate stores getting depleted, rather than fat loss. Hence, weight is easily gained back once we are off a detox plan,” she explains. “Also, remember when drinking infused water that it has a 12-hour shelf-life. For quick infusion of nutrients, crush ingredients coarsely and using cold water is better,” says Bhattacharjee. Stay hydrated, stay healthy.