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Water 101: What You Need to Know About Plant-Based Waters

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While traditional H2O is always a great way to go when it comes to hydration, more and more water alternatives are being added to supermarket shelves each year. Aloe, coconut, cactus, birch, and maple, are just a sampling of the numerous water options consumers now have to choose from. With promising claims behind them—such as boosting immunity or providing other health enhancing benefits—we decided to dig deeper and see if any of these other types of H2O could really outrank the original.

To help you navigate the next generation of water, we’ve broken down the benefits of several plant-based forms. Here’s what you need to know:

Aloe Water

Sure, aloe is a wonderful source of relief on sunburned or irritated skin, but when served in water form, it may also help your overall well-being. Aloe vera water contains vitamin C, is a natural laxative and can help control blood sugar levels. But before you buy a bottle, check to make sure there aren’t any added sugars.

Coconut Water

Coconut water is a great replacement for sports energy drinks, boasting potassium levels that help replenish electrolytes, without the added sugar and calories found in most post-workout drinks. It also has calcium, vitamin C, magnesium and amino acids, which can help support heart health and reduce blood pressure. While coconut water has a list of impressive nutrients, it still has calories, sugar, and carbs—something you don’t have to worry about with traditional water.

Cactus Water

Similar to coconut water, cactus water is chock full of electrolytes. Its other big benefit? It’s only 18 calories per cup, much less than your average sports drink.

Birch Water

Birch water, originally popularized in Eastern Europe for its richness in minerals and antioxidants, has made it into mainstream stores in the United States for that same reason. Birch water, which consists of the sap taken from birch trees, contains manganese, a mineral that helps regulate blood sugar and bone structure through calcium absorption. It is low in sugar and often used a natural source of detoxification.

Maple Water

Taken from the sap of maple trees, maple water has been a celebrated health drink in parts of Asia for centuries. Consisting of the same ingredients as maple syrup, minus the sugar, it is filled with vitamin B2, calcium, potassium and manganese, all of which promote bone density and health.

The Verdict?

Whichever water you choose, the biggest benefit will always be proper hydration, which is key to the health and function of every single cell in your body. For that reason, you can never go wrong with zero-calorie, freely available, plain old H2O.

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