Thanks to all of the benefits of fruit-infused water, lots of people are now infusing their own water. All you need is a fruit infuser bottle and some produce to transform boring water into a nutritional cocktail.
However, if it is nutritional benefits that you are after, then it is important to choose your fruits wisely. Some fruits are much better than others. This guide will tell you the best fruits for infusing water and what the nutritional benefits are.
What Makes a Fruit Good for Infused Water?
Yes, you can put literally any fruit into an infuser bottle. Let it sit long enough (which usually means 3-12 hours) and you’ll notice the taste. Not all fruits are nutritionally equal though, and some won’t leach their nutrients as well as others. The best fruits for infused water will have these characteristics.
1. Contains Nutrients which Leach into Water
Vitamins can be broken down into two types: water-soluble and fat-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins include vitamin C and B vitamins. These will leach into the infused water.
By contrast, fat-soluble vitamins are only broken down and absorbed in the presence of fat (hence why it is so important to eat fat daily). These include vitamins A, D, K, and E. Don’t expect to get any of these nutrients from your infused water, regardless of how much is in the fruit.
Fruits usually are richer in vitamins than minerals, but some fruits do contain high amounts of minerals. For example, bananas are rich in potassium. Persimmons and mulberries are rich in iron. Magnesium is found in many fruits.
It is unclear exactly how much of the mineral content of fruit actually gets into the water. To date, there hasn’t been any research on this specifically. This study, for example, found that large amounts of vitamin C did leach into water but only small amounts of calcium and iron leached out.
To increase the amount of minerals leached into your infused water, you can increase the water temperature (in other words, let it infuse outside of the fridge).
In addition to vitamins and minerals, fruits contain important nutrients like polyphenol antioxidants. These nutrients are key to reducing inflammation, maintaining heart health, and preventing cancer.
The good news is that polyphenols will leach into infused water from fruit. In this study that looks at nutrient loss during the canning process (which involves soaking produce in water), it was found that vitamin C, B vitamins, and phenolic acids leach into the water.
2. Infusion Time
Softer fruits (which tend to be higher in sugars than fibers) will break down faster in water. This allows the nutrients to be quickly released into the water.
While there hasn’t been any research into the topic (that I know of, at least), it is clear that certain fruits take much longer to release their nutrients.
For example, you’ll pick up the taste of berries in your infused water a lot faster than you will apples. With taste comes nutrients.
How Long to Infuse Fruits?
As a general rule, you should infuse fruit for 2-4 hours (outside of the fridge) or overnight (within the fridge).
While it is still be safe to drink refrigerated infused water for up to 3 days, it is recommended that you consume infused water within 24 hours of making it. As Toby Amidor, MS points out, “the vitamin content will diminish with long exposure to water.”
Minerals hold up much longer in water without deteriorating. So, if it is mineral content you are after, you can soak your fruits for much longer. You’d probably be better off eating some kale or other leafy greens though. 😉
Reusing Fruit for Infusing
You can reuse fruit for infusing water multiple times. However, each time you soak the fruit, some of the nutrients leach out. By the third or fourth soaking, there might not be much nutrient content left in the fruit.
A better solution? Just eat the leftover infused fruit. It might not have much vitamin content left, but there will still be fiber and minerals.
Best Fruits for Infusing Water
- Why: Contains large amounts of the antioxidants quercetin and resveratrol, which are great for your heart health. Also have significant amounts of potassium and iron.
- Pair with: Orange and raspberry
- Why: Rich in vitamin C and flavanol polyphenols.
- Pair with: Citrus fruits
- Why: Rich in potassium, which helps regulate cell metabolism and hydration
- Pair with: Strawberries and rosemary
- Why: Contains massive amounts of vitamin C – three times the amount found in one lemon!
- Pair with: Oranges and strawberries
- Why: Contains bromelain, an enzyme which supports healthy digestion
- Pair with: Mint and cucumber
- Why: Contains the highest antioxidant amount of any fruit.
- Pair with: Cucumber, basil, or orange
- Why: Contain 3x the antioxidant levels of green tea and wine; shown to reduce inflammation
- Pair with: Lemon and basil
- Why: Rich in vitamin C and the antioxidants lycopene, carotenoids, and cucurbitacin E.
- Pair with: Mint, cucumber, and blueberries
- Why: Rich in vitamin C, potassium, and some B vitamins, plus they are cheap
- Pair with: Cinnamon or herbs
- Why: Contain anthocyanin, an antioxidant that is shown to boost brainpower
- Pair with: Mint or basil and pineapple
11. Bell Peppers
- Why: Rich in vitamin C, B vitamins, and many antioxidants
- Pair with: Celery and parsley
***Just like with tomatoes, peppers are fruits. In fact, anything with a seed is technically a fruit (regardless of whether it is sweet). Vegetables are the stems, stalks, and leaves of a plant.
- Why: Rich in minerals like potassium, coper, magnesium, and manganese.
- Pair with: Citrus, blueberries, and mint or basil
What’s your favorite fruits for infusing water?