Forget plain old coconut water - the new drinks in town are healthier than ever
Remember the days when the only water we knew about came out of a tap? Now the range of flavoured, vitamin-pumped, protein-enhanced water products is bewildering. And more are popping up on the shelves of health food stores to tempt us every month. Here we take a look at five new wonder waters; bog standard coconut water is so passé. Pass the watermelon water instead…
The first carbonated coconut water adds a new twist to the A-lister’s favourite health drink. Jax Coconut water has zero fat and only 50 calories a bottle, and comes in sparkling original or with calamansi (an indigenous fruit of the Phillipines). Coconut water’s reputation rests on the fact that it is an unadulterated source of electrolytes (or body salts) that are essential for health including sodium, potassium (the same amount as a banana), magnesium and phosphate.
Comprising 94 per cent water, it is also replete with plant hormones, enzymes and B vitamins. As such, there are claims that drinking it regularly can improve blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease, aid weight loss, boost immunity and even prevent acne. Since the same roster of body salts and minerals it contains is lost through sweat, it is a favourite of the super-fit looking for a natural means of rehydration, a fluid that is free from garish colours and artificial preservatives. A lot of the claims are, as yet, scientifically unfounded. But it hasn’t put off the fans who number Madonna and Rihanna and hordes of Hot Yogis who drink it after classes. Remember that it is not calorie-free and contains around 60 per carton.
Health rating: 7/10
This ingenious product came about when two pregnant friends in the US were chatting about the difficulties they each had in swallowing “horse-sized pills” to obtain their pre-natal vitamin supplies. Bump Water contains a good dose of folic acid (proven to help prevent birth defects) and a mix of other vitamins and minerals including potassium, magnesium and zinc. There are a range of flavours including lemonade and pomegranate, with the regular drink providing just 100 calories and the ‘lite’ version (sweetened with stevia) just 10 calories. At around £25 for 12 bottles (plus shipping costs), it’s not cheap, but does come with expert backing.
“Fifty percent of my patients can’t stomach prenatal vitamins and Bump Water would be an easy solution for them to get the folic acid and other vitamins they need,” says Dr Samantha Feder, director of ambulatory obstetrics and gynecology at Roosevelt Hospital in New York. “For those who can, it’s another refreshing way to supplement their diet. I would definitely recommend it.”
Health rating: 10/10
Move over coconut water, you have a new rival. Bottles of maple water called Oviva and Seva, have been flying off the shelves of leading health stores in the US and Canada and are creeping into independent shops in the UK. Maple water comes from from pure maple sap, the liquid that is boiled down to create the gloopy syrup that is great on pancakes. Not that the water itself tastes particularly sweet - it takes around 150 litres of sap to make four litres of syrup.
Like coconut water, the liquid is such a new arrival on the commercial scene that there are barely any scientific studies looking at its benefits. Manufacturers cite the fact that the water contains more than 46 nutrients, including calcium, potassium, magnesium and manganese (although levels are generally small), but only 3 grams of sugar and 30 calories per 240ml carton. That’s all the benefits of coconut water with half the calories. Can’t be bad.
Health rating: 8/10
Long known for its health properties, supplements and juices containing extract of the aloe vera plant are already a staple for many people. There are many reputed benefits: it is said to aid weight loss, lower cholesterol and boost the immune function. Aloe vera contains a multitude of vitamins including A, C, E, folic acid, B1, B2, B3, B6 and is one of the few plants that contains vitamin B12, which helps with brain and nervous system function. It is also mineral-rich, containing calcium, magnesium, zinc, chromium, selenium, sodium and more, as well as being packed with fatty acids - all helpful in improving indigestion, making it a favourite of those with chronic conditions like irritable bowel syndrome.
No surprise then that aloe water is now making its mark. Made by mixing the gelatinous substace found within the leaves together with water and flavouring (lemon or lime), the result is a drink with around 85 calories per serving. Not the lowest calorie option, but it does have more convincing evidence than many products.
Health rating: 7/10
Watermelons have long been an underrated health food, yet there is plenty of science behind their claim for top tonic status. A study by the US Department of Agriculture showed that the white layer of watermelon rinds contain citrulline, an amino acid that plays an important role in the human body. Eaten after a workout, citrulline can help to alleviate muscle soreness according to recent studies. It also helps to create another amino acid called arginine which is vital to the heart, circulatory system and immune system but is lacking in some people’s diets. A single slice of watermelon a day has been shown to lower cholesterol levels in some people.
Since the fruit is naturally high in water (92%) and fruit sugars (8%), a water made from cold-pressing raw watermelon flesh, rind and pulp is not only delicious but provides essential vitamins and minerals including calcium, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and sodium as well as vitamin C, beta carotene and immune-boosting lycopene. All for 60 calories. It’s perfect for a post-workout rehydration and an overall nutritional bargain.
Health rating: 10/10