The wellness industry has experienced quite an explosion of growth and attention over the past few years—everything from how to make water taste better to the latest yoga trend has had its moment in the sun. It’s left us curiously perking up our ears at the latest and greatest best new ways to increase health, productivity, energy, fertility, and decrease wrinkles, mood swings, cellulite, pimples—and everything in between. While all trends come and go, drinking water is one beauty hack that will never go out of style, so why not figure out how to make water taste better? Let’s face it: water is the Oprah of the health and wellness world—the older, wiser fairy godmother that will always have your back and be your ultimate cure-all.
Staying hydrated on the reg plays an A-list celebrity role in our overall health, and nothing gets the job done better than some effortlessly cool H2O.
Of course, as is the case with anything timeless, something newer, shinier, and sexier eventually comes along and tries to sneak its way to the top. In water’s case, this has come in the form of fancy flavors, turbo-charged electrolytes, “natural” sweeteners, and 100% organic, non-GMO, liquidized superpowers. This can make it even more confusing when trying to figure out what to put in water to jazz it up a bit.
I get it: natural water seems dull and boring when there are other more exciting options at the ready. But flavored waters often rely on zero-calorie sweeteners to add a little something extra to the plain water taste. These sweeteners have been linked to increased risk for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses. So it turns out that commercially available flavored waters can often do you more harm than good. To keep your tastebuds happy in a healthy way, I’ve rounded up what to put in water to spice up your H2O game and turn every glass into a vessel for superfoods, vitamins, and natural supplements.
Here’s how to make your water taste better and get multiple wellness benefits with every swig.
Lemon + Pink Sea Salt
Balancing the body’s pH levels, replenishing electrolytes, fighting inflammation, reducing stress, and clearing up the skin are all benefits we can gain by drinking a full glass of water with as much lemon juice as you can handle, plus a teaspoon of pink Himalayan sea salt. The vitamin C content of the lemon and the minerals in the Himalayan salt work together to create the ultimate detoxifying duo.
“Sodium is an electrolyte, and it helps support adrenal function, she says. “Adding lemon and pink salt or sea salt with some iodine to my daily water intake increases energy levels and immediately improves my mood.”
Note: These are two things you’ll definitely want to put on your next grocery list. I like to keep my lemons in the refrigerator to guarantee freshness and add an extra cooling effect.
Apple Cider Vinegar + Cayenne Pepper
Apple cider vinegar is no rookie to the wellness game. It’s long been touted as a secret weapon due to its ability to detoxify the body, fight belly fat, cleanse our hair, and soothe sunburns. It’s no surprise that it’s now regarded as one of the best (and cost-effective) nutritional supplements. Studies suggest apple cider vinegar has antibacterial properties that help to decrease inflammation, stabilize blood sugar, lower cholesterol, and prevent heart disease.
Add anywhere from a teaspoon to two tablespoons to your water and let it works its magic. For an extra boost, add some cayenne pepper. Corey Phelps, a Washington, D.C.-based nutrition expert, personal trainer, and yoga teacher stands by these two as her favorite water combo. She mentioned that “apple cider vinegar is known to lower blood sugar levels, reduce insulin sensitivity, aid in weight loss, and improve heart health. Cayenne pepper gives it a kick, plus contains vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin E, potassium, manganese, and flavonoids, which help improve circulation, lower cholesterol, and provide a metabolic boost.”
Note: If you’re like me and suffer from chronic acid reflux, use the cayenne pepper sparingly to prevent acidic flareups. If you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t experience the joys of heartburn, dash away. Also, remember to brush your teeth directly after drinking, as the vinegar can do a real number on our teeth enamel. Pour, squeeze, dash, brush…voila.
Gogi berries tend to get left in the wellness wings but the reality is, they should be front and center. Goji berries contain high amounts of zinc, iron, vitamin C, fiber, and can do just about everything from boosting our immune system to maintaining blood sugar levels. It’s no wonder the Chinese boast these little magicians as their secret to longevity. Next time you’re craving an Aperol Spritz during a dry kick, drop a hand full of goji berries and an orange wedge into a wine glass, fill with some refrigerated sparkling water, and top with mint. You’ll never know the difference and feel proud of sticking to your healthy guns.
Note: If you’re on certain medications, are breastfeeding, pregnant, or have certain medical conditions like low or high blood pressure, you may want to skip these. They also contain a significant amount of vitamin A, and too much can lead to vitamin A toxicity, so limit your intake.
Chia is one of those longtime health and wellness gurus that needs no introduction and with good reason. With four grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber in every ounce, (plus a significant amount of iron, magnesium, and calcium) the mini but mighty chia seed will always come out on top. No need to do anything fancy with them—just add three tablespoons to about 16 ounces of water and let it sit for 20-30 minutes in the fridge. When the seeds appear soft and thick, drink up for an ultimate boost of omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and antioxidants.
Note: If you’re weird about textures, this one’s probably not for you, as the seeds expand and take on a slime(ish) consistency. But honestly, it’s not that bad—I actually thought it was kind of fun to drink, and it killed my mid-afternoon pretzel cravings since the seeds continue to expand in your stomach and keep you full. If you just can’t with the plain water + chia, try squeezing half a lemon into it. The lemon will add flavor, vitamin C, and super hydrating enzymes. Lemon for MVP, again.
Bees make the world go round, and their pollen can boost energy and alleviate allergies, according to experts. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, start drinking it now by adding local bee pollen to a cup of warm water and letting it soak a few hours before ingesting. The bee pollen will absorb into your bloodstream and work to build up a tolerance to the allergen over time. You can find it at any health food store in your area, or buy it online.
Note: while it is best to use pollen from local bees in your area, good results can also be obtained with pollen that is not local, as long as it is from the same type of plant that is the source of the allergic reaction.
Often brightly advertised as blue majik at a hip smoothie shop near you, spirulina is cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, that most commonly grows in alkaline lakes in Africa and South America. As if that description alone doesn’t scream hydration, one tablespoon also contains four grams of protein and 11 percent of your recommended daily iron intake. Sprinkle some into your water for extra color, nutrition, and mineral-rich mermaid vibes.
Chlorophyll has made its big break out of science classrooms and into health food stores across the country. This huge health trend is marketed as good for the immune system, digestion, reducing inflammation, and even good for skin when applied topically. Supplements are made with chlorophyllin, which survives digestion better and serves as a detoxifier. Add several drops of liquid chlorophyll to your water and don’t be alarmed when your glass turns a dark green/charcoal color—it’s what makes plants green, after all! Drink through a reusable straw to prevent temporary discoloration on your teeth and tongue.
Note: Growing up as a sea-level dweller, whenever I go to the mountains my altitude sickness sends me to one of those fancy oxygen boutiques the minute I step off the airplane. On my recent trip to Telluride, CO (elevation 8,750 ft), I had a bottle of liquid chlorophyll in my handbag at all times and dropped about 12-15 drops in my water everywhere I went. I didn’t feel the altitude the entire time, and will not make another trip without it.
Collagen seems to be all the rage right now. Although I was skeptical of its seemingly endless list of benefits at first, I am now a devoted fan. It’s good for skin, hair, joints, and gut health too. Research backs up claims that its numerous properties help complement diet, sleep, and skin elasticity, which helps our skin age better. Mix some collagen peptides into your H2O for added flavor, hyaluronic acid, probiotics, and all the health benefits.
Note: I also love mixing this collagen into my morning coffee. The peptides add a creamy, frothy consistency that is tasteless and amazing.
The new kid on the block getting waves of attention: CBD. CBD oil has been shown to alleviate symptoms of many different ailments such as inflammation, muscle pain, nausea, and anxiety. Now, experts believe that many of those conditions could be treated more easily with CBD-infused water. Megan Provost, a Philadelphia-based holistic health coach says, “CBD water may be somewhat controversial, but it’s a great way to manage stress. You can buy pre-made CBD water bottles, or you can just add a dose of CBD oil to your own water at home. You can’t taste the CBD at all, but it has calming properties for the nervous system and the physical body.”
Note: Unlike THC, CBD oil is not psychoactive. This means that it does not change the state of mind of the person who uses it.
The bright yellow powder commonly used in Indian curry has a long history of medicinal use in Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine. This magic spice flushes toxins and other harmful elements out of your body, increases your immune system, and has amazing anti-aging properties. Mix a tablespoon of turmeric powder into a glass of warm water in the morning. Sip on an empty stomach to reap its maximum benefits.
This post was originally published in July 2019 and has since been updated.