Coconut water kicked-off the plant-based water craze, deemed Mother Nature’s sports drink and claiming to provide optimum hydration post-workout. But if you’re still crowning coconut water as king then you’re so 2014. The wellbeing market has seen the release of a tidal wave of ‘super-waters’. But are they as good as they claim? We asked blogger Catrina to test the waters (literally) of this latest craze.
What: Maple Water
It’s the sap from maple trees, bottled before it’s boiled down to that sticky syrup we all love.
US brand Drink Maple contains 46 naturally occurring nutrients, including malic acid, which may help relieve muscle soreness. It contains 50% less sugar than coconut water (2g compared to 5g per 100ml).
Despite looking the same as tap water, maple water has a slight sweetness I wasn’t expecting. I think adding to your post workout shake would make it that bit more palatable but by itself, the trace of sweetness doesn’t float my boat. I’ll take my maple with my pancakes, thanks.
What: Cactus Water
It’s the fruit of the prickly pear cactus.
Cactus water is deemed nature’s beauty product. True Nopal Cactus Water contains electrolytes, and betalain antioxidents, claiming to detoxify the body and brighten skin. (Hmmm, okay....)
Okay, the pink colour excites me; it looks more like juice so this time I’m prepared for sweetness, which is there but subtly. I’d definitely drink this by itself as it has more flavour than the maple water and is a much better option than sugary fruit juice. Just patiently waiting for the glowing skin I was promised…
What: Birch water
Similar to the collection of maple water, it’s tapped from birch trees each spring.
Tapped Birch Water contains a whole host of nutrients, claiming to purify the body, flushing out toxins and excess water. (So this will get rid of my cellulite?!)
I’m so not a fan of coconut water; it literally nauseates me. And birch water smells like coconut water. Great start. But thankfully it doesn’t taste like coconut water. It does leave a noticeable aftertaste though. Like when you wake up hungover and glug down the nearest glass that you cleverly left by your bedside the night before; it’s almost a bit stale. The berry flavour however is a lot more enjoyable.
What: Watermelon water
Need I say more?
Quirky brand What A Melon contains lycopene and citruilline, claiming to hydrate and boost muscle recovery.
Definitely the tastiest out of the bunch: sweet, fruity and a perfect summer thirst quencher. It does have the most sugar of the lot though (granted it’s natural) and I wouldn’t go guzzling in place of water. And for the price, I might just buy a watermelon.
So what does this tell us?
As these products are fairly new to the scene, there’s limited scientific evidence to back up the health claims. Sorry gals, but cactus water won’t get rid of your cellulite.
That’s not to say they’re bad – they’re definitely a healthier alternative to sugary sports drinks and juices, and the Watermelon and Cactus waters are particularly refreshing. But they shouldn’t replace a glass of tap. If you like the taste and are prepared to take out a second mortgage then by all means, go for it. Just don’t expect any miracles.
You’ll also be glad to know these ‘super-waters’ are gluten-free and vegan. But unless I’ve been missing something for the past 24 years, so is plain old tap water. It’s been a successful hydrator for thousands of years. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.