Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hydrating Agua Fresca

We have all heard the old admonition to drink at least eight glasses of water every day, but few people actually do so. In the summer months, the hot weather serves as a reminder to re-hydrate  but in cooler weather or air-conditioned climates, we don’t feel as thirsty. Because of this, many people can become mildly dehydrated without not even realizing it.

While mild dehydration is not a serious health issue, it can make your daily life a little bit harder. One of the first signs of dehydration is thirst. Unfortunately, your body`s signals for thirst are so similar to its signals for hunger that some people can`t tell the difference. If you are trying to drop a few pounds and they just won`t budge, try drinking at least eight tall glasses of water every day. This will not only quiet false hunger pangs, but staying hydrated also helps to keep your metabolism working properly so that you burn calories more efficiently.

Another sign of mild dehydration is dull skin and hair. All of the exfoliating and moisturizing in the world will not help your skin tone if the cells are not renewing themselves the way they should. Water helps your blood flow more freely, which supports the elasticity and firmness of your skin, giving you a youthful, healthy glow that cannot be duplicated by anything you put on the outside of your skin.

Water also carries nutrients and oxygen through your blood to your organs and to your brain. So, staying well hydrated can improve your mood and help enhance your concentration. Water helps to lubricate your joints, making exercise more efficient and your recovery time a little quicker. Water carries away toxins and waste, which is important for keeping you healthy. The water in your body also helps to regulate your temperature, through your perspiration, which means that it needs to be replaced.

But, not everyone enjoys the taste or lack of taste that plain water has. In many parts of Central and South America the drink of choice is agua fresca. The literal translation is "fresh water", but a true agua fresca is a mixture of water, sugar, fruit, seeds and sometimes rice, oatmeal or other cereals. The simplest way to make agua fresca at home is to choose a fruit such as cantaloupe, pineapple, berries or citrus fruit. Wash the fruit and peel it if necessary. Cut it into chunks, toss them into the blender and whirl until smooth. Strain out the pulp so that you have a clear liquid. Mix your liquid with about twice as much water and 2 to 4 tablespoons of sugar. Serve in a tall glass over ice. Add crushed mint or a cinnamon stick for a little extra spice. A less common, but no less delicious, agua fresca made of cucumbers, lime and mint is a favorite among spa goers in California.

If you are not fond of the tap water in your area and do not want to contribute to the masses of plastic water bottles piling up in landfills, consider purchasing water in refillable containers from an Earth Fare Market close to you.


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