As if life wasn’t complicated enough, a simple cup of water doesn’t cut it anymore. In today's world of over-stocked beverage aisles, trendy alternatives like aloe vera water, coconut water, and maple water take up considerable real estate. Not to mention they boast more nutritional benefits than regular water. Some even promise things like more radiant skin.
I'm all for anything that will better my skin, but I'm also skeptical about "it" things, like $4 water. To see how three types of "super" waters stack up against pure H2O, I enlisted the help of beauty nutritionist Paula Simpson, a registered nutritional consulting practitioner. Check out our findings below.
The taste of coconut water is subtle, but clearly coconut. Vita Coco was the first brand to bring coconut water to fame in the states 10 years ago. I like that they have a wide variety of flavors, such as lemonade, pineapple, and orange.
From Simpson: “Coconut water can promote smoother, more youthful-looking skin. They claim it's a natural source of cytokinins, a group of plant growth hormones that help regulate cell growth, development, and aging. Rich in potassium, antioxidants, and lauric acid, cytokinins are said to balance pH levels, strengthen and hydrate connective tissues, and even reduce the risk of age-related diseases."
Aloe Vera Water
Aloe vera water isn’t as easy to come by as coconut water. After a long search at local health food stores, I found it at Juice Press for $2.50. You can also get it in shot form at juice bars like Juice Generation. The Juice Press version had the tiniest hint of sour lemon, which makes sense because aloe vera leaves are naturally very sour. Another option is to DIY aloe vera water by mixing eight ounces of water with aloe vera gel, but make sure it's labeled as digestible and safe to drink. I tried this and my DIY water was completely tasteless.
From Simpson: “Aloe vera water has been a popular drink for some time now. It is known to help with weight loss as well as your immune system. As many people know, aloe gel is great for your skin. Whenever you get sunburnt or have super dry skin, aloe vera is usually used. This is a great product to keep your skin as moisturized as it can be. It also repairs damaged skin."
When I first heard about maple water (made with maple tree sap) I assumed it would be sweet and sticky, but the flavor is light and even more diluted than coconut water. The taste is like lightly sugared water. Because this trend is so new, there aren’t many options on the market. Vertical Water started selling its all-natural maple water in April and it's now available in 40 states.
From Simpson: “[Maple water] is loaded with minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Of course, all of these are very crucial to one's health. Due to the fact that the maple syrup stays in the tree for so long, these nutrients are so rich and fresh. This makes it a great product to put on your skin to keep it feeling nourished.”
Super Water vs. Regular Water
Hydration: When coconut water first hit the scene almost 10 years ago, it was touted as the optimal post-workout beverage. Then, in 2012, a study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that coconut water was no better at hydrating after a hard workout than traditional H2O. That being said, coconut water, as well as maple and aloe vera water, does provide skin and health benefits.
Daily Intake: According to Simpson, you don't have to drink a ton of these waters to reap the rewards. "Everything should be consumed in moderation," she says. "People sometimes think that there is no way to overdo it, but there is. Even though all of these drinks are low calorie and low sugar, you should never consume too much of one product. One glass a day can be fine, especially at first. It is important to take it slow and see how you feel while adding this into your diet."
At the end of the day, I'm happy to have the extra vitamins and minerals in these waters, and I'll drink just about anything for the betterment of my skin.
What are your favorite super waters? Which of the many, many, MANY coconut waters out there tastes the best to you?