We all know the importance of keeping hydrated and drinking enough water - especially in the heat of the summer or while exercising. Our bodies are nearly two-thirds water so it is very important we drink enough fluids to stay hydrated. This is particularly important in the heat of summer or when exercising due to increased fluid loss from sweating.
Dehydration can cause headaches and tiredness so to make sure you perform at your best, it is recommended you drink at least 6-8 glasses of fluid a day
. However, it is easy to get bored of water and many alternative drinks are high in sugar and do not fit into a healthy balanced diet if consumed on a daily basis.
But is there an alternative?
Tree waters - which are simply sap collected from trees, with nothing else added - are a healthy alternative to water. Each type of tree provides sap with a unique taste and nutritional profile, meaning it can be enjoyed without needing any sugar or preservatives added. Nutritionally, they even trump other natural waters such as coconut water. This is due to their naturally low sugar content meaning tree water drinks contain up to 4 x less sugar than coconut water.
What stands out nutritionally is the low levels of natural sugars. The harmful effects of consuming too much added sugar has hit the news this year and now the government recommend no more than 5%
of energy intake to be from added sugars - roughly 30g. With some sports drinks containing around 50g of sugar per 500ml bottle, it is clear to see that this is not a healthy choice for hydration during exercise. As sweetened drinks are one of the main sources of sugar
in the diet, replacing them with low or zero sugar containing drinks is a simple way to get closer to meeting these new sugar intake recommendations. Naturally hydrating tree waters contain no added sugar and between 0-5.9g of natural sugars per 250ml bottle, making them suitable for an everyday drink.
Often forgotten about is the role dietary sugars play in dental health. Tooth decay is the biggest cause of hospital admissions
among young children which is partly due to children’s sugar intakes being over double the current recommendations
. As sugary drinks contribute significantly to children’s sugar intake, The British Dental Association continue to emphasise the importance replacing these drinks with low or sugar free alternatives.
The different tree waters also boast their own unique nutritional benefits.
Take maple water for example (which is not to be confused with it’s concentrated version-sugar laden maple syrup) which along with it’s naturally low levels of sugar-twice less than coconut- is packed with Manganese. This essential mineral helps the body form connective tissue and bones and is therefore essential for strong bones
. Or how about bamboo water, which is the highest natural source of silica.
Silica stimulates natural production of collagen in the body, making bamboo water an excellent choice for promoting good skin, hair and nails. Additionally, bamboo takes the nutritional gold medal in the tree water category as it contains 0g sugar and 0 calories.
No matter how nutritious it may be, it’s not going to hydrate you if you can’t stand the taste. Each type of tree sap has a unique taste, resulting in a range of distinctly different tasting tree waters. This variation in taste makes it difficult to tire of this hydration source- and provides an option to suit everyone. Birch water has a light, slightly sweet taste with a subtle hint of forest. For those with a sweet tooth out there, the maple water provides a low sugar sweetness hit for with its afternote of maple syrup. If you aren’t a fan of sweet drinks, the bamboo water tastes similar to green tea.
Overall, tree waters are a great alternative to other sugar laden choices-helping you to keep hydrated while also keeping your sugar intake within the new current recommendations for which your short and long term health will greatly benefit.More from the Journal