Many conventional sports drinks are loaded with sugar, food dyes, and artificial flavors.
As a result, many health-conscious people have been turning to “plant waters” as a substitute for those other sports drinks. Now I personally feel that electrolyte replacement drinks are good when needed such as during a sporting event or if you are working outside in high heat, but they are not the end all and be all.
Coconut water was one of the first and most successful of these new, natural sports drinks. In fact, the various brands of coconut waters topped $400 million in sales in 2013!
As a result, it’s no wonder the beverage companies are scrambling to introduce additional plant waters to quench the thirst of this very profitable market.
Trying to cater to consumers that are increasingly attuned to health and anything “natural,” beverage companies now offer:
♦ Aloe water
♦ Almond water
♦ Artichoke water
♦ Birch water
♦ Cactus water
♦ Maple water
♦ Olive water
♦ Watermelon water
♦ Waters containing various combinations of the above
The manufacturers of these waters make special health claims that some dietitians believe are often exaggerated. You should be aware that we can obtain the same benefits or more by simply eating whole foods.
In particular, those who enjoy regular exercise or who work outside during the summer months are looking for alternative ways to replenish electrolytes. Some of these important electrolytes include: sodium, magnesium, potassium, and calcium.
When electrolytes are depleted through sweating and exertion, cramping, low energy, irregular heart rhythm, and even more serious symptoms can result.
Replacing electrolytes is especially vital for extreme athletes and those exercising in hot and dry or extreme cold conditions.
A problem with electrolyte depletion is that its symptoms mimic those of simple dehydration.
If you’re experiencing low electrolytes, but try to remedy that by drinking normal water, the water can further dilute the minerals in your body and worsen your condition.
Can plant waters replace electrolytes?
While many of the plant waters are high in one or more minerals, they may be lacking in others. They also typically fall short in the area of carbs and protein.
Also, remember that just because something is natural does not mean that you can drink it safely to your heart’s content.
Aloe vera juice, for example, carries some serious warnings: it’s a laxative, can deplete potassium levels, cause uterine contractions in pregnant women and contains latex!
♦ Plant waters all contain natural sugars that add to our already sugar-overloaded diets
♦ Plant waters offer poor alternative to their solid-food counterparts
♦ Plant waters are expensive, costing on average $3 per 8 oz.
Instead of plant waters, consider replenishing electrolytes with whole foods:
♦ Potassium – bananas, avocados and dates
♦ Magnesium – cashews, fish, beef, artichokes, bananas, avocados, dates, peanuts
♦ Calcium – kale, almonds, cheese, yogurt, whole, raw milk
♦ Sodium – broccoli, celery, kale, cheese, lacto-fermented vegetables
Now, having said that, drinking all natural plant waters from time to time is fine. Just don’t over do it. And don’t forget that you’re going to get the most nutrition and energy replacing goodness from whole foods.