Every life-sustaining body process, cell, organ, and tissue needs water to function. In fact, water is so essential to life that it is the number one consumed beverage in the world. Water is important to the body because it:
- Transports nutrients and oxygen to body cells
- Carries waste products away
- Regulates body temperature
- Moistens body tissues (eyes, nose, mouth)
- Lubricates joints
- Cushions organs and tissues
According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), when the body lacks even a small amount of water, you’ll feel thirsty. With a little more loss, the body can lose strength and endurance, hindering the ability to perform simple physical tasks and fight disease. If the loss is greater say, a 20 percent loss in water weight, a person can barely survive.
For proper functioning, the body needs a constant supply of water. Recommended intakes are:
- 9 cups daily for women (minimum)
- 12 ½ cups for men (minimum)
More water should be consumed on hot days and before, during, and after exercise. Nine to 12 ½ cups may seem like a lot, but it’s not. Each cup is a mere 8 ounces. And because many beverages such as juice and non-caffeinated drinks count toward your daily water intake, you have an abundance of flavorful options to choose from.
One option that seems to be growing in popularity within the medical community is infused water. Not the mass-produced kind you’ll find on store shelves, but rather water that’s infused with fresh fruit, vegetables, and herbs–right before your eyes. And what a beautiful sight to see!
Besides providing mood-enhancing visuals, these colorful disease-fighters deliver vitamins and nutrients to the body. This is just one reason infused water is often recommended for cancer patients in undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. Infused water can also help cancer patients feel better by boosting energy levels and delivering fiber to the body, which can help prevent associated bowel issues such as constipation. It can also help minimize consumption of processed sugar, preservatives, and additives–all of the things that are counterproductive to treatment.
Infused water is also easy to make. Even better is–you can choose the herbs, fruit, and vegetables your taste commands on any given day.
So, here’s what you’ll need to start infusing:
- Fresh fruit, vegetables, and/or herbs of your choice, quantity is up to you
- Container (pitcher, mason jar, water bottle, any BPA-free plastic container)
- Pure water (if you are undergoing chemotherapy, this will protect you from the chemicals and bacteria that can be found in some drinking water)
- Chop the fruit, vegetables, herbs
- Add them to the pitcher/container
- Press the ingredients lightly with a spoon (or other utensil) to release the flavors
- Add water, let sit for a few minutes, drink
Need suggestions? The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute offers the following tasty combinations:
Blueberry, basil, lemon
Cucumber, watermelon, mint
Grapefruit, cucumber and rosemary
Lemon, ginger (helpful for nausea)
Raspberry, lime (or lemon)
- Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
- American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide
Roberta Larson Duyff, MS, RD, FADA, CHCS
Print, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey
- Photo credit: GlassDharma.com / Foter / CC BY