Perhaps it's because every derm, esthetician, health expert, and glowing-skinned celeb will tell you drinking water is the key a flawless complexion, but our water options have grown exponentially in the past few years. Sparkling or still? Ha! Try rose, maple, alkaline, or hydrogen-infused—water is not just water anymore. Now every trendy new water has to come with a bevy of health and beauty claims slapped on the label. How does your wellness water of choice stack up? Scroll through to find out!
The claims: Oh, coconut water. The water that started it all. Praised as the best source of hydration, coconut water is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes. It has more potassium than a banana (about 250 milligrams) and contains cytokinins, which are plant hormones that regulate cell growth. Cytokinins are known for their anti-aging and anticarcinogenic effects.
The verdict: Beyond marketing itself as the perfect post-workout recovery beverage, coconut water doesn't make any sweeping health claims. Studies confirm that it is a good choice, thanks to its unique chemical composition of sugars, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and phytohormones, and it will rehydrate you. But beware of the sugar—we're talking around 20 grams (and 90 calories) in a bottle.
The rating: B-
The claims: Maple sap (before it becomes maple syrup) is a natural source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants—46 of them, to be exact. The pure maple sap, once pasteurized, becomes maple water and is said to retain the original nutrients and polyphenols. Maple water is supposedly high in abscisic acid, which aids in controlling blood sugar levels. You’ll also find manganese (which assists thyroid health, bone strength, immune function, and vitamin absorption) on the nutrition label. Containing more manganese than one cup of kale, it offers 50% of the recommended daily value of the mineral. Most compare it to coconut water, but with half the sugar and calories of it. The only issue is that the research backing up the health claims isn’t there (yet).
The verdict: While the claims that drinking maple water will ease muscle soreness and reduce fatigue remain unsubstantiated, we’ll still drink it for the subtly sweet taste (it really just tastes like water, but really delicious water) and its low sugar content (5 grams).
The rating: C+
The claims: First came maple water. Then came birch water. Like maple water, birch water is rich in minerals (especially manganese), boasts low sugar content (80% less than coconut water), is low in calories (only 10), and is made with only one ingredient (sap). Birch tree water has been consumed in Baltic nations for centuries and is known throughout northern Europe as the vitality drink. With minerals like potassium, zinc, and magnesium, it’s used as a source of detoxification and healing. There are also claims that suggest it can help lower cholesterol levels and support liver function.
The verdict: It’s the lighter version of maple water (which is the lighter version of coconut water), and like the rest, there aren’t any studies to confirm the benefits. But it’s refreshing and hydrating, and the extra electrolytes can’t hurt.
The rating: B-
The claims: Aloe vera water (aka the juice from the aloe vera plant) promises to alkalize the body, fight inflammation, promote a healthy digestive system, strengthen the immune system, and more. With over 200 biologically active amino acids, vitamins, antioxidants, enzymes, and minerals, the benefits of drinking aloe vera extend to everything weight, stress, and energy regulation, to promoting healthy hair and skin.
The verdict: The healing properties of aloe vera have been confirmed many times over. And there are several studies confirming the benefits of ingesting the juice, namely the glucose-regulating effects. The taste is hard to put your finger on. Some people love it. Some people don't. (Personally, we prefer the lemon-flavored varieties to the plain ones.)
The rating: A
The claims: And then there's good old alkaline water. It's just water that's been pH-adjusted to nine or higher. The claims, like all the waters on this page, state that it's ultra-hydrating. But the main benefit of drinking alkaline water is that it neutralizes the acidity in our bodies and cleanses acid waste products from our cells, tissues, and organs. Alkaline water also has antioxidant properties that neutralize free radicals in your bloodstream and block free-radical damage to your body.
The verdict: The list of health promises ranges from strengthening your bones to boosting your metabolism. However, the research to back up these claims is not definitive. And yet many people swear by it. Our take? If you're in need of a bottle of water, go for it. But don't go out of your way to alkalize every sip you take.
The rating: B
The claims: Increased energy, curbed appetite, and improved digestion are just a few of the benefits associated with drinking chlorophyll water. It neutralizes the toxins associated with eating high-fat, high-carb foods. Plus, it’s a super-potent antioxidant that promotes healing and cleansing, including binding to heavy metals and helping kill off candida.
The verdict: Studies show chlorophyll water is legitimate. Drinking the green H2O will stabilize your blood sugar, helping you control cravings. And it's calorie-free.
The rating: A
The claims: Yes, rose water. You may be used to spritzing it on your face, but now you can sip it too. Why? For many of the same reasons you use rose in your skincare routine. It's said to hydrate your skin and provide anti-aging boons, thanks to the antioxidants. Many also say it provides stress relief and supports digestive functions.
The verdict: While there are plenty of studies on the rose petals and the many beauty benefits they offer, the benefits of sipping on the floral water have not backed up by science (yet). If you like drinking things that taste like your skincare products, bottoms up.
The rating: C
The claims: Hydrogen-infused water (which has been favorite in Asia for years) acts as a powerful antioxidant, offering enhanced cellular protection against free radicals and inflammation. The hydrogen molecule has been said to aid muscles in recovery; increase energy levels; relieve fatigue; ease hangovers, allergies, and jet lag; fight inflammation; and improve circulation.
The verdict: There are more studies that need to be done to verify all of the claims, but research does show that drinking hydrogen-rich water can prevent metabolic syndrome and the symptoms associated with it like obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension, and high cholesterol.
The rating: A-
Have you tried any of these wellness waters? How did your favorite come out? Tell us in the comments below!