Posted on 13th June 2018 at 16:44
With the World Cup and Wimbledon just around the corner it can be very tempting to get into the swing of things at 'wine o'clock'. For the days when you feel more virtuous you can hydrate, top up on minerals and enjoy some delicious fruit water without feeling you are missing out on the fun.
I've been thinking a lot about vitamins and supplements recently for a variety of reasons. One of them being various people's 'reactions' to them. There is no doubt that they have their place but in most cases I would recommend trying to get all the nutrients we need form a natural diet in the first instance. Of course it isn't always that easy! One thing we should always bear mind though is that we will absorb and retain nutrients better if we also avoid toxins and anti-nutrients.
With The World Cup and Wimbledon on the horizon who doesn't want to relax, enjoy the sunshine and have a glass or two of Pimms to end a busy week? Alcohol, delicious as it is, is in the main part an anti-nutrient and for the times when you'd rather forgo the booze but still want something a bit special then fruit water could be the answer. You'll find loads of different recipes online but in reality it's just as good to go with the flow - choose seasonal fruits and any herbs you have in the garden. The picture above is mineral water with lemon, orange, kiwi and blackcurrant sage (I can't tell you how fragrant and tasty the sage is, you'll have to go and buy a plant for yourself, but when the dog brushes past it he smells divine for hours, which isn't a bad thing now that he's 13 and has well and truly lost his puppy-dog aroma!).
Water makes up to 60% of an adult’s body weight and performs crucial roles such as carrying nutrients and waste products between the major organs, helping regulate temperature, lubricating joints and acting as a shock absorber. We simply can't live without it and with the right choices we can also use it as a good source of calcium and magnesium to supplement that which we already gain from our foods. Calcium provides structure and strength to our bones, aids nerve impulse transmission and muscle contraction and is involved in blood clotting and maintaining normal blood pressure. Magnesium helps convert fats, proteins and carbohydrates into energy, stimulates muscles to relax and works with calcium to activate nerve transmission. It is the presence of magnesium that allows the body to deposit calcium in the bones and it is a crucial stress-reducing nutrient in its own right.
Mineral waters by law must originate from a natural, protected and specific underground source, be bottled at that source and be micro-biologically safe to drink without treatment. They also have to have a stable and characteristic mineral composition and this is stated on the label. That composition will vary between different 'brands' as each underground source is unique - some are higher in magnesium and others higher in calcium, all are likely to contain sodium. It is the sodium element that causes the confusion.Too much salt (sodium chloride) can cause kidney problems, raise blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease or a stroke. However the sodium in mineral water combines with other minerals that are present rendering it very unlikely to cause any harm. We would have to drink an awful lot of mineral water to reach the maximum daily intake guidelines.
There is also worry over sparkling water and dental health. Drinks with low pH values can have higher erosive potential than those with a neutral or alkaline pH. However, you would have to drink sparkling water on a regular basis for a long period of time for this to be a cause for concern. Moderation is always the key.
For fruit waters, still mineral water is the best choice any way because the fruits and herbs need to steep in the water for several hours to impart their flavour, and sparkling water would go flat in this time. I tend to soak my ingredients overnight and then drink the water over the course of several days. I vary the fruits and combine different ones together - strawberries, blueberries, cucumber, peaches, kiwis, raspberries, whatever is seasonal, and vary the herbs too - sweet cicely, fennel, flavoured sages and mints, just about anything goes. Each fruit and herb will add it's own nutrients and flavour characteristics, it's almost impossible to go wrong.
So while we can get all the calcium we need from greens, nuts and seeds and dairy, and all the magnesium we need from greens and unprocessed wholegrains, we can safely top up with more from natural mineral waters. Adding fruits and herbs increases the nutritional value and turns plain and boring water into a delicious, refreshing treat.
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