Coconut water has been enjoying a popularity surge for what feels like ages, but now supermarket shelves are filling up with aloe water, maple water and even cactus water. The appeal, proponents say, is that each type of water comes with unique hydration benefits. But do you really need to go out of your way to drink these beverages during the hot summer months?
Experts acknowledge that there are certain benefits to these special waters. Coconut water is packed full of electrolytes, making it particularly handy after a vigorous workout – like a sports drink but without the artificial chemicals. Aloe water has potassium and vitamin C, plus antioxidants that just might help your skin glow. Cactus water comes with a low calorie count (18 calories per cup) and 159mg of potassium.
What you need to know
Keep an eye on the calories contained within these seemingly healthy waters, suggests Janet Brill, PhD and nutrition expert. Manufacturers often add in lots of sugar to make things like aloe water taste nicer, causing the calorie count to shoot up. Dana Angelo White, RD, author of Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook, agrees. Things like cactus water can certainly help to hydrate you, but watch out for added sugars.
“I wouldn’t go out of my way to point patients towards this, but I’d give them the green light to try it,” says White.
How to use
If you opt to try these waters, there are a lot more ways to use them than simply drinking them by the glass. Cactus water is also good for poaching white fish. Or mix coconut water with fresh fruit and freeze to make healthy popsicles. Create a smoothie using aloe water by blending together a few tablespoons of the water, some fresh spinach, a banana, some pineapple and one date, then make it extra healthy by adding in half a cup of green tea.
Whether or not you decide to try alternative waters, remember to stay hydrated during Ramadan, the summer months, and any time you may be fasting. Experts recommend drinking two eight-ounce glasses of water every suhoor; choosing foods with high water content, like cucumbers or watermelon; and limiting consumption of sugary juices.