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All About Water

All About Water

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This is one in a series of stories; visit The Daily Meal Special Report: Water for more.

What Is Water? It's common knowledge that the atomic structure of water is H2O: two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. The atoms make a V-shaped polar molecule; the hydrogen atoms are negatively charged and the oxygen atom is positively charged. Water is the only substance on earth that naturally occurs in three different forms: liquid, gas (vapor), and solid (ice).

What Is the Difference Between Saltwater and Freshwater? The mere presence of salt in water doesn't make it saltwater. In fact, absolutely pure, fresh water, without any salt content at all, is very rare. Most water contains some salt; it is the degree of salinity, or the density of salt present, that defines saltwater. Saltwater also contains many trace elements.

Where Do We Find Water? Water covers 70 percent of the earth’s surface. Of all that water, only about 2.5 percent is considered fresh, drinkable water. The other 97.5 percent is saltwater, and thus of no direct use in sustaining roughly 7 billion human lives. The freshwater on our planet is 68.7 percent polar ice, 30.1 percent groundwater, and only 1.2 percent rivers, lakes, swamps, and other bodies of non-saltwater.

What Do We Use Water For? Besides the obvious — drinking, cleaning, cooking, and so on — water is used in almost every industry. For example, it takes 39,090 gallons of water to produce just one new car. Raising livestock uses 2,140 million gallons per day in the United States alone, and crop irrigation systems in this country use 128,000 million gallons per day.

Why Do We Need Water to Survive? A person can live for over a month without food, but, according to Rosemary Gudelj, senior manager of public affairs at, “the strongest and healthiest among [us] could not live a week without [water].” That’s because our bodies are made up of 70 percent water and need consistent rehydration. Almost 80 percent of our brains, 83 percent of our blood, and 90 percent of our lungs is water. Not only that, but water transports our body wastes, lubricates our joints, stabilizes our body temperatures, and aids in our digestion. Just like the world, our bodies need water to function properly.

How Can Water Be Unsafe? If it isn’t kept clean, water can be a breeding ground for a host of dangerous bacteria. The majority of illnesses caused by water are due to fecal matter. Diarrhea is a common water-related illness. It kills daily, mostly in developing countries without access to clean water, and mostly children under the age of five. Water can also be contaminated from agricultural runoff, which occurs because of the poorly regulated use of pesticides and fertilizers and as a result of livestock operations that practice overgrazing and unorganized feeding operations. Tepid, standing water is also dangerous: it attracts mosquitoes, and these insects can carry deadly diseases, such as malaria.

What Is Water Conservancy and Why Do We Need It? Water conservancy is basically what it sounds like: the effort to conserve our freshwater resources. It happens at both the personal level, when people make efforts to cut down on their own water use, and at the political level, when governments set up laws for public use of water, such as water rationing and plumbing requirements. With more and more people experiencing water insecurity, water conservation is becoming extremely important. Both our bodies and our societies depend on water to sustain themselves.

These Infused Water Recipes Upgrade Your H2O with Barely Any Effort

it's super important. If that's you, listen up: "You need water for every system in your body,&rdquo says Maya Feller, R.D.N., a dietitian in New York. &ldquoYour brain uses it to produce hormones and neurotransmitters. It transports nutrients to your cells, and it regulates your body temperature.&rdquo

But glass after glass of plain H2O can get boring. Buying flavored water alternatives, though, may not be worth it: There's little or no benefit from nutrient additions to vitamin waters, energy drinks, and juices, according to a study from the University of Toronto and Ryerson University in Canada. And since almost all of these boosted beverages have added sugar, you could actually be harming your health. (Related: 8 Super Healthy Drinks&mdashand 8 to Skip)

If you get bored of water, there's a better way to quench your thirst: Infused waters can upgrade the flavor without any nutritional drawbacks. You just let fruit and herbs sit in water for a few hours and voilà! A delicious, healthy alternative to water. To prove it, here are some delicious fruit- and herb-infused water ideas and flavored water recipes.

How to Make Detox Water

There aren’t really ‘recipes’ to go with any of these. You just basically need water, ice and the ingredients listed below.

Use a spoon or something to muddle the fruity/herby ingredients together before adding the water and you’re good to go. The more you muddle and the longer you let the ingredients ‘hang out’ with each other, the stronger the water will be flavored. If you want a light hint of flavors, don’t go all buck wild with the muddling. Take it easy, dawgs.

When to Buy Commercial Hummingbird Nectar

Though it only takes a few minutes to make homemade nectar, if you don't have time to make your own hummingbird nectar, you can purchase powdered or liquid nectar concentrates to use as well. These concentrates often come in premeasured portions to fill a single feeder, depending on its capacity, and can be convenient for RV travelers, using at a campsite, or giving as a gift with a hummingbird feeder. If you do opt for commercial products, check ingredient lists to be sure the product does not contain unnecessary preservatives or dyes.

To Dye or Not to Dye

The use of red dye in hummingbird nectar recipes is a controversial issue. While hummingbirds are attracted to bright colors, especially red, some red dyes in the 1970s were found to be toxic and were subsequently banned from food products. Today, red dyes found in food coloring and commercial hummingbird nectar are safe for both human and animal consumption, but the color is not necessary to attract the birds.

Many hummingbird feeders have red bases, feeding ports, or decorative accents that will attract birds without risking the use of unessential dyes. If you want to use red to attract more hummingbirds to your feeders, consider planting red flowers nearby, hanging red ribbons, or adding a red gazing ball near the feeder to help catch the birds’ attention rather than exposing these tiny birds to unnecessary chemicals.

Following the classic hummingbird nectar recipe is a great way to create hummingbird food that is far less expensive than pre-made commercial nectars or powdered or liquid nectar mixes.

25 Flat Belly Sassy Water Recipes

You know that soda is terrible for you, even the diet stuff. And hydrating with coffee leaves you as jittery as Steve Buscemi (though you are finally logging those 10,000 daily steps&mdasheven if a quarter of them are for bathroom sprints). But drinking plain water all the time is like eating the same lettuce and chicken salad for three squares a day: It's healthy, but it&rsquos also boring. (Repeat after us: No more dieting. Ever. Instead, learn how to eat clean&mdashwith zero deprivation!&mdashand watch the pounds drop off, with Your Metabolism Makeover!)

No wonder flavored waters have invaded your grocery store. While most commercial brands are nothing more than food coloring, sugar, and chemicals, you can jazz up an entire pitcher of water at home naturally with just a few ingredients. All you need is fruit and fresh herbs. Given water&rsquos many benefits&mdashit can prevent headaches, boost brainpower, improve your mood, and even help you lose weight&mdashthese recipes will help you stay healthy and hydrated all summer long.

Just so you know: Each of these recipes makes 2 quarts. Unless noted otherwise, top the ingredients with 6 cups ice, fill the jar with water, and stir, cover, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to let flavors infuse.

Click here to download Prevention&rsquos original bloat-beating Sassy Water recipe.

50 Awesome Flavored Waters

The Health Education Council has launched the Rethink Your Drink campaign. They are encouraging healthy drink choices, like replacing sugar-sweetened beverages (think soda, sports drinks, and energy drinks) with water. Their goal is to read 8,000 pledges by the end of September.

As someone who constantly carries around a water bottle, I am on board with this campaign and immediately pledged to drink water instead of sugary drinks for the next 30 days. I know that for most other people, this would be a tough challenge. Many people drink soda everyday, or don’t think twice about picking up a Red Bull or a mocha. It’s shocking how much sugar is in pretty much any drink you can get at Starbucks. I don’t want to spoil your annual pumpkin spice latte, but seriously check it out and think about making it homemade or opting for water instead.

I came across this eye-opening photo online. I think it’s particularly important to watch what our children are drinking and eating. Do they need all that sugar in sweetened chocolate milk or soda? Instead, let’s encourage them to have water.

I know, I know. Water is boring. I hear people say that all the time. Well, not anymore! You can add tons of different fruits, veggies, and herbs to make water taste better. Fill up a pitcher, toss in some combination from below, and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours (the longer you let it steep, the more flavor you’ll get, but you can also enjoy it immediately).

Without further ado, 50 awesome flavored water ideas. I hope this gets you thinking outside the box and trying out more water. And please sign the pledge to drink water (bonus: you’ll be entered to win a $250 Amex gift card!).

    1. Watermelon
    2. Cucumber
    3. Lemon
    4. Cantaloupe
    5. Orange
    6. Cherries
    7. Lime
    8. Grapefruit
    9. Basil
    10. Mint
    11. Grapes
    12. Blood orange
    13. Rosemary
    14. Lavender
    15. Strawberries
    16. Blackberries
    17. Raspberries
    18. Pineapple
    19. Kiwi
    20. Papaya
    21. Honeydew melon
    22. Fresh ginger root
    23. Mango And don’t forget fun combinations of the ingredients above! Get creative and combine them so it never gets dull. The possibilities are endless but here are some of my favorites:
    24. Watermelon and mint (pictured above)
    25. Cucumber and mint
    26. Lemon and mint
    27. Cherry and lime
    28. Watermelon and cucumber
    29. Ginger and lemon
    30. Orange and pineapple
    31. Lemon and lavender
    32. Lime and mint
    33. Cucumber and lime
    34. Lemon and basil
    35. Strawberry and mint
    36. Blackberry and ginger
    37. Lemon and blueberry
    38. Thyme and blackberries
    39. Cucumber and rosemary
    40. Cantaloupe and watermelon
    41. Cucumber, lemon, and mint
    42. Lemon and lime
    43. Strawberry and basil
    44. Cranberry juice and lemon (use a capful of unsweetened cranberry juice)
    45. Ginger and lime
    46. Pineapple and mango
    47. Strawberries and lime
    48. Orange, lime, and lemon
    49. Lemon and a pinch of cayenne
    50. Papaya and mango

    For the herbs, crush or chop them up to get the best flavor. Similarly, squeeze citrus wedges, slice or cube melons, and crush berries. Nancy Creative has some more great tips and recipes for flavored waters.

    Do you have a flavored water you love? Share it with us in the comments section below!

    This is What Happened When We Drank More Water

    But even the most avid hydrators among us have to admit: water can get boring. Especially when lemonade, Frappuccinos and glasses of rosé are calling our name. The solution? Adding a little excitement to your glass with a pop of color and some actual taste to keep you sipping away.

    When it comes to flavoring water the sky is the limit — there are endless combos of fruit, veggies and herbs to experiment with. Here are a few of our favorite combos to get you started:

    Peaches are much more than just a sweet treat they're a nutritional powerhouse for warding off obesity and the health risks that go with it. According to a study from the Texas A&M University, peaches and other stone-fruits (like plums and nectarines) can lower your risk of excessive weight gain, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

    To hydrate better and stay hydrated longer, add some electrolytes to your diet! Our electrolyte water is a simple and delicious way to do that. It&rsquos like making your own sports drink &mdash without all the added sugar.

    Electrolytes are minerals in the blood, such as sodium and potassium, that help your body regulate fluid levels. 1 Drinks with more electrolytes will help you stay hydrated longer than plain water. Citrus fruits, such as lemons and limes, have a lot of electrolytes. So does the coconut water in our recipe.

    Below you&rsquoll find one way to make this drink, but you can change it in all kinds of ways to suit your taste.

    If you have kidney disease or congestive heart failure, check with your doctor before you make this drink. You might need to limit your fluid intake.

    5 Recipes Made Instantly Better with Coconut Water

    Packed with potassium, low in calories and free of fat and cholesterol, ultra-refreshing coconut water is a health craze with no signs of slowing down. Not a fan of coconut water? Just add it to your food! Perfect in salad dressings, salsas, smoothies and even chocolate cake (yes, really!), coconut water is quite the healthy-cooking essential. It adds nutritional value to your meal while boosting the sweetness. Talk about a win-win! Click through for step-by-step recipes using coconut water. Bon appétit!

    Ingredients for Salad:

    &bull 1 bunch Kale, washed with stems/ribs removed

    Ingredients for Coconut Water Vinaigrette:

    &bull Combine all ingredients except almonds and blackberries into a large bowl and &ldquomassage&rdquo kale with the vinaigrette until leaves become soft and dark green (about 2 minutes)

    &bull Toss sliced fruit with dressed kale

    &bull Garnish with blackberries and slice almonds

    Recipe from ZICO Premium Coconut Water

    Ingredients for Chicken:

    &bull 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into one-inch cubes

    Directions for Chicken: (Need 20 Metal Skewers)

    &bull Combine all chicken ingredients, except chicken, in a blender and blend until smooth

    &bull Marinate chicken pieces for 12 hours in refrigerator

    &bull Skewer the chicken pieces onto metal skewers

    &bull Grill chicken for 6-10 minutes per side or until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees

    &bull Remove chicken from skewers and garnish with mango salsa

    Ingredients for Mango Salsa:

    &bull 2 mangoes, peeled and diced

    Directions for Mango Salsa:

    &bull Combine all ingredients in large bowl and refrigerate until serving


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