These Detox and Recovery Waters Are Actually Worth the Hype

Trendy waters are all the rage, but how many of them really have health benefits? A dietitian investigates which ones to say “yes” and “no” to.

Yes: Watermelon Water
Watermelon water is more popular than ever, showing the best of the fruit with a high potassium content, lycopene, vitamin C, and of course, water. (Fun fact: Watermelon is 92 percent water.) All of these attributes make watermelon a healthy choice. And watermelon water is a close second if you don’t have some slices handy. While sipping your new fave afternoon drink, keep in mind that it has 60 calories in 8 ounces. That can add up quickly if you’re not paying attention.
No: Lemon and Cayenne Water
The hallmark drink of the master cleanse sounds, to me, like little more than spicy lemonade. With lemon juice, maple syrup, and a kick of cayenne, this drink appears to offer little in the way of health benefits except for a small amount of vitamin C.
Yes: Coconut Water
This is a longstanding favorite alternative to sports drinks due to its high potassium content, and it continues to reign supreme on lists of healthy waters. Coconut water is found in the center of young, green coconuts. And these days it’s flavored with everything from mango to chocolate. (Watch the extra calories from added flavors!) Coconut water can help prevent muscle cramps by providing adequate hydration and potassium, but it’s relatively low in sodium, which is an important electrolyte to replace after a hard workout. Your best bet is to pair coconut water with foods that contain potassium and sodium, such as a banana and peanut butter (not a no-salt version) or yogurt to help replenish after a heavy workout.
No: Aloe Vera Water
Aloe vera gel is well known for soothing burned skin, but it’s hard to tell if aloe vera water will be as helpful for your body. There are claims that aloe water contains amino acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that will benefit your health, but there is little on the label to support this claim. Compared to other trendy waters it lacks electrolytes such as sodium and potassium, but it may be a refreshing alternative to what you’re usually sipping nonetheless.
No: Maple Water
Maple water brands tout all the antioxidants and minerals that the water contains, but there is little more than sugar and 30 to 50 percent of the daily recommended amount of manganese on the label. Manganese is beneficial in collagen production, blood sugar control, and bone health. However roughly the same amount of manganese can be found in one cup of strawberries or Swiss chard. Overall, maple water, the sap in maple trees that typically gets made into maple syrup, appears to be little more than water with sugar and a hint of maple flavor. While you may want to change up what you’re drinking every day, there is little scientific backing to all the health benefits on the labels.

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