plant, water, cactus, coconut

The New Wave Of Plant Waters

Alternative plant-based beverages are cropping up everywhere. But can they kick coconut to the curb?

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Once synonymous with palm trees and beaches, coconut water took on new meaning—as a recovery aid and health-promoting super-drink—a few years back when it caught the attention of the wellness community. The hallowed drink then monopolized the workout beverage industry, ousting other sources of hydration, even though its superiority is increasingly called into question

Even so, new plants are itching for the limelight, making their way into water bottles. Maple is moving away from pancake stacks. The prickly plants of the desert, cacti, are promising to hydrate, too. Even artichokes have their own drink.

And they all have health benefits—to an extent. “The benefit is the entirety of the plant,” explains Stacy Sims, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist-nutrition scientist. “The fiber and the complete aspect of aloe or cacti or maple syrup or artichoke create the health benefits. When you take the compounds out of nature—removing the antioxidant agents, vitamins, or minerals by extraction or squeezing juice out—you remove many of the co-factors that make things effective,” she says.

Here, four buzzed-about plant-based drinks, examined.