What are you drinking this summer? Soda, coffee, juice, water? Soda used to be the most popular drink for Americans—at least it was for the last two decades. But water has returned to the forefront, and more people are now choosing water over soda as the beverage of choice.
That’s good news because water is vital to our health. In fact, our bodies are made up of about 60% water. Water acts as a transportation system—carrying nutrients and oxygen to cells and carrying waste products out of the body. It keeps our joints lubricated, helps prevent constipation, and helps us maintain a normal body temperature. Staying hydrated is important.
But what do you do if you don’t care for the taste of water or you crave a change of flavor in your beverages during the day? I know people who don’t like the taste of plain water, so they turn to soda, juice, or artificially sweetened beverages to get their fluids. I like the taste of water, but sometimes I want something different. Normally I’d choose a diet Coke for an afternoon pick-me-up, but I’ve been trying to cut back on that and drink more water. So when I want something different than plain water but don’t want the extra calories that soda, juice, or milk would give, I turn to mint water (or herbal mint tea).
Mint water is simple to make and gives plain water a little lift in flavor. It’s refreshing served over ice in the summer time, or even as a hot tea in the colder months. Each spring I look for different kinds of mint plants at our local nursery and choose several of them to grow. My favorites are mint mojito, apple mint, and chocolate mint. This year I added in lemon mint and spearmint. Each gives a little different flavor, or they can be combined too. Either way, it tastes so good when you come in from working or playing in the hot sun—definitely thirst-quenching.
If you have fresh mint at home, go ahead and pick a small bowlful. If you don’t have it at home, check your local farmer’s market. Also, you may still find plants at a local nursery that you could pot and grow. Then get busy, try some mint water, and keep your body well-hydrated this summer!
You can add a lemon wedge to your glass of mint water, but mint is just one of many things you can add to water to liven it up a bit. I’ve also seen cucumber slices, lime wedges, even watermelon—all added to water to give it a little kick. What’s your favorite way to drink water?
Mint Water (tea)
1 cup loosely packed, torn mint leaves
2 quarts boiling water
1. Bring water to a boil.
2. While water is heating, clean mint leaves. Lightly tear and bruise the leaves to help release the oils.
3. Place prepared mint leaves on a square of cheese cloth. Bring edges of cheesecloth together and tie with kitchen string.
4. Put the cheesecloth filled with mint leaves into a 2 quart glass pitcher (or other pitcher that can withstand very hot water).
5. Pour boiling water into pitcher.
6. Let steep and refrigerate a few hours or overnight to let the mint infuse the water. (I think it’s better and more flavorful if it’s left overnight).
7. Serve over ice and enjoy!