Plain old H2O doesn’t quite cut it anymore: following the explosion of coconut water in recent years, a new wave of alternatives is flooding the clean-eating scene.
These natural blends are bursting with good-for-you minerals, nutrients and electrolytes, promising a refreshing taste and myriad health benefits. But can you tell your birch from your maple water?
Here’s SL’s guide to the hydrating super-drinks you need on your radar...
Aloe Vera Water
What it is: Aloe Vera Water – aka juice – comes straight from the leaf of this soothing plant.
Benefits: As well as offering a cocktail of vital vitamins and minerals (from folic acid to zinc), aloe vera is one of the few plants which contain B12, known to help with brain and nervous system function. It’s also thought to boost your immune system and assist with the elimination of toxins.
Why we love it: If you’re having digestive issues, aloe vera juice could be just the ticket, as it’s thought to help banish bloating.
What it is: This raw sap is harvested from birch trees during the first few weeks of spring.
Benefits: Like coconut water, this natural blend is full of potassium and electrolytes, making it super-hydrating. It’s also rich in antioxidants and valuable nutrients, including amino acids and vitamin C, but what really makes birch water stand out is its saponin content. This plant compound has anti-inflammatory effects and has been shown to help reduce bad cholesterol.
Why we love it: Despite its slightly sweet taste, birch water is low in calories and has even been shown to improve the appearance of cellulite when taken regularly, as it’s thought to help flush toxins from the body.
What it is: The original and best-known alternative on the block, pure coconut water is found within the tropical fruit.
Benefits: Loved for its nutritional content, coconut water is low in fat and calories but full of valuable minerals. It also has particularly high levels of potassium, which is known to help with keep your brain, heart and muscles healthy.
Why we love it: As well as potassium, coconut water is high in sodium, meaning it’s the perfect post-workout drink for replacing lost electrolytes.
What it is: Not to be confused with the sticky substance you pour on pancakes, maple water is a clear sap, tapped from the native Canadian trees.
Benefits: Pure maple water contains a whopping 46 vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, not to mention amino acids and hydrating electrolytes. On top of this, it’s bursting with a unique acid called ABA, which helps control blood sugar levels. It also contains more manganese than a cup of kale. This powerful antioxidant mops up damaging free radicals and helps improve everything from bone strength to muscle function.
Why we love it: Despite its syrupy connotations, this option contains half the sugar found in coconut water, as well as gut-friendly prebiotics.
What it is: Fear not, you won’t be downing the coal from your BBQ – charcoal water actually involves either filtering your normal tap water with special purifying carbon sticks, or having one of the new activated charcoal-enhanced drinks doing the health food rounds.
Benefits: Binchotan charcoal has been used to purify water in Japan for centuries, while also releasing valuable minerals into the H2O. Thanks to its porous surface, it works to draw in impurities for a cleaner blend. In much the same way, activated charcoal has been treated to help draw toxins from the body, while many believe it assists with digestive issues.
Why we love it: Activated-charcoal drinks tend to include other good-for-you ingredients, such as the vitamin C-rich Japanese yuzu found in Botanic Lab’s blend, plus boast a light, lemonade-style flavour. Binchotan charcoal filters, meanwhile, can be used multiple times, making them a cost-effective way to purify your water intake.