It’s hard to beat the whole zero-calorie, guilt-free, drink-as-much-as-you-want persona that water has going on — but there are alternatives to a glass of plain old tap water that can actually hydrate you more efficiently.
While water is still the best all-natural solution to your everyday thirst, drinks that contain electrolytes paired with low levels of sodium are the better choice in situations where you’re already dehydrated. The sodium helps your body to retain and absorb the water, rather than overloading your kidneys and just having to pee every five minutes.
Sports drinks and other “hydrating” solutions get a bad rap, and for good reason. Sports drinks are loaded with sugar you never asked for in your “healthy” drinks. After spending the day outside, you just want to sip on something satisfying without the blood sugar spike.
You’ve probably heard of the old trick to add a lemon — can you say “boring”? While adding a (clean) lemon to your water is a great health tip, the following beverages benefit from having a bit more flavor than that provided by a squeeze or two of citrus. From probiotics to vitamins and minerals typically excluded from the standard American diet, the healthy components in the following drinks make them, to some extent, “healthier” than water.
Here are 10 healthy and hydrating drinks to get you through this summer’s heat.
Aloe water, a filtered version of aloe juice, has recently achieved a superfood-like drink status. Aloe, considered to be the plant of immortality by the ancient Egyptians, is packed with antioxidants and is known to have potent regenerative properties. Aloe water is a great detoxifying agent for the gut, and it helps stimulate cell growth and repair wounds. Like coconut water, it can be of immense benefit when used internally or externally and is widely used for health and beauty purposes.
Can’t beet that! We know, beets have been dubbed nature’s candy. This vegetable, however sweet it may be, is still incredibly beneficial. There are many reasons why you should consume beets (and many different ways you can), and companies like Beet Performer, Pūrjus, and Red Ace make ready-to-drink beet juices that can provide you with some of the cleanest natural energy you’ll ever have. Beware of the sugar, but it’s a reasonable tradeoff. Bask in beets’ potassium, B vitamins, carotenoids, magnesium, and iron.
Verday Chlorophyll Water
Don’t be deterred by the green color of these drinks. Essentially, they’re made of water infused with fruit flavorings (all natural) and chlorophyll (the green pigment that enables plants to process energy from sunlight). With fun flavors like blueberry and watermelon, it’s hard to believe that they have more cleansing and antioxidant benefits than four cups of spinach.
We tried Verday brand and loved the non-GMO, naturally sweetened, BPA-free drink.
Hungover twentysomethings and fit parents alike flock to coconut water, but the question that begs an answer is: Is coconut water really that good for you?
Here’s the deal with coconut water: The more natural it is, the better. Drinking real, natural coconut water from an actual coconut is a much healthier form of hydrating than a bottled or packed version that has added sugar. Real coconut water is low in sodium and rich in potassium, helping you hydrate in ways that regular water cannot.
There are plenty of healthy fruits you can infuse in your water, and we highly suggest doing so. If you’d like to try a premade version of fruit-infused water, ultimately upping both your flavor and hydration games, then look to companies like Core Organic, which sell a variety of these hydrating, antioxidant-rich waters. Core Organic, in particular, has less than one gram of sugar (totaling only five calories) per serving and packs in the same amount of antioxidants as a half-cup serving of blackberries or cherries.
“Similar to yerba mate, guayusa is an all-natural energy supplement derived from a plant,” says The Daily Meal special contributor Fabiana Santana. “Indigenous cultures in Ecuador and Colombia traditionally drank guayusa from a gourd as part of an early morning ritual. Guayusa has as much caffeine as coffee, but it is also rich in antioxidants and chlorogenic acids, which benefit the heart.”
Looking for a great boost of clean energy from guayusa leaves? Try one of Runa’s Clean Energy Drinks. These beverages benefit from containing antioxidants, L-theanine, polyphenols, flavonoids, and chlorogenic acid. With both naturally sweetened and zero-calorie options, Runa produces an alternative (and hydrating and healthy) caffeine source for everyone.
We went to our favorite brand of maple water, DrinkMaple, for the skinny on what this delicious sounding beverage is. (Spoiler alert: It’s not a fancy name for less viscous, more drinkable maple syrup.)
“DrinkMaple is the pure, refreshing water collected from Vermont maple trees in the spring. It is naturally hydrating, with just a hint of maple, and exploding with nutrients.”
Low in calories and more flavorful than regular water, maple water is something you should consider adding to your hydration arsenal. If you’re looking for a more flavorful way to hydrate that all of your friends will be curious about and envious of, consider sipping on this low-sugar, manganese-packed maple water.
You probably knew this, but the benefits of tea are vast and varied. The stuff is so good that some people even suggest eating tea leaves. If you want to experience the health benefits of tea, including boosted antioxidants and increased metabolic rates, in a new and trendy way, consider powdered tea packets.
Brands like Pique Tea (a company that brews and crystallizes their loose-leaf tea) are free from artificial ingredients and preservatives and are made from top-grade whole-leaf tea (sourced directly from the farm at peak freshness, using a proprietary process that locks in the natural tea antioxidants and fresh flavor of premium, whole-leaf tea at their maximum potency). Pique’s powders, in particular, offer high levels of antioxidants, persistent energy, healthy hydration, and fresh tea flavor in an instant.
If you don’t want a bloaty and agitated stomach, consuming probiotics regularly is a great way to prevent discomfort. And before you ask, no: Your probiotics don’t need to come in tiny capsules filled with millions of active bacterial cultures.
We have 5 Probiotic-Packed Healthy Recipes for you, but there’s a more travel-friendly, hydrating way to consume your probiotics. Suja’s Pressed Probiotic Waters will not only keep your tummy and immune system happy, but they’ll also help you stay refreshed and hydrated all day long.
With lots of ice! Not only do they taste great, but smoothies are also a smart way to fit some extra nutrients in your day. You can incorporate fruit, add greens or nutrient blends such as moringa powder, or turn it into a meal by adding protein and healthy fats.
Be wary of the amount of fruit you add — add too much and you might feel one of these signs you're eating too much sugar.
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