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Water, water everywhere……

Happy hydration! Lots of noise about these “plant waters” that are exploding all across the place. Remember the Whole Foods PR fiasco about the $7 asparagus water?

 

Well, whats the deal? Is it really worth it?? More often than not, no. Stick with water and for extremely demanding workouts or endurance athletes consider professional grade hydration and electrolyte replacement products like Amino Vital. 

Birch water

Made by tapping the birch tree and is marketed as being a lower sugar alternative to coconut water, however, some versions have added sugar. It contains 7 calories per 8 ounce serving and the nutrients manganese, potassium, zinc and xylitol. Claims are made about it “cleansing” and detoxifying the body, for which there is no evidence. Sounds like a lot of marketing BS to me.

Maple water

Maple water is made by tapping the maple tree. Usually this would be boiled down to make maple syrup, so its sweet and and contains 2-3 grams sugar per 8 ounces. Claims are made about it being anti-inflammatory and helping post workout muscle recovery but these are not backed by evidence. Pure, concentrated maple syrup contains plenty of manganese, antioxidants and phytonutrients but this watered down version doesn’t live up to the hype.

Cactus Water

Cactus water has a bold claim of helping with hangovers after a one-off study reported that the risk of a severe hangover was reduced by 50%, so this could become a misleadingly popular beverage choice. Made from prickly pear extract and concentrate, water and flavoring, cactus water contains antioxidants which have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) when cactus pear fruit pulp was consumed.

Watermelon Water

Watermelon water contains beta-carotene, potassium, vitamin C, lycopene and amino acids. It is used as a sports performance aid and supplementation has been shown to reduce fatigue and improve endurance in exercise. In a few small studies, watermelon extract has been found to reduce blood pressure and could be a helpful aid in hypertension. Whether this would also be the case for watermelon water is unknown. 

Aloe vera water

Aloe vera water is sweetened with agave and added flavorings adding up to 60-70 calories per 8 ounce serving. It contains vitamins A, E and 30% of the RDA for vitamin C. There is limited evidence for aloe vera sap and the watered down version has no real research conducted on it.

Artichoke water

Artichoke water is said to be high in vitamins A, B, and C, magnesium and antioxidants. Artichoke water is a yellow-green color and made by mulching whole artichokes: stem, leaf and heart. The manufacturers say it can help lower cholesterol and aid with weight loss but there is no research to support this.

Coconut water

Coconut water has been popular in the U.S. in recent years. Used for rehydration purposes in developing countries and as a sports rehydration drink by some due to the level of electrolytes it contains. It also contains vitamins B and C, calcium, magnesium and potassium.

Keep in mind that all of these beverages come with a hefty price tag and limited scientific backing. Some varieties also have added sugar, therefore are not as virtuous as they sound. However, some of these plant based waters could make a good alternative for people wanting a substitute for soda or other calorie laden beverages

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