How Healthy Are The New Boosted Waters Really? We Put Them To The Test
First juice, then kombucha, now...water? The new beverage of choice in every health nut's hand and Whole Foods fridge is, well, water, but not the kind that comes out of the tap. This new breed of waters is boosted, amped up with ingredients like rosewater, activated charcoal, collagen, vitamins, adaptogenic herbs, and more. But do they actually taste good? And, more importantly, are they actually good for you? We put them to the test—and had functional medicine expert Dr. Amy Shah, who specializes in Ayurveda and Western medicine, weigh in.
One of the simplest of the bunch, rose water is simply water with a splash of rosewater. According to Juice Press, where we got our rose water from, "Dating back to the 16th century, rose water has been thought to provide stress relief and support digestive functions. The taste is subtle and fragrant." Here at the office, we thought it was "very floral yet refreshing." One tester commented that "even the scent is relaxing" while another didn't like it at all, saying it smelled like perfume. Dr. Shah confirmed the assertion that rosewater was calm-inducing and "aromatherapeutically, rose makes you feel warm and blissful, safe and protected" according to our beauty editor (and aromatherapy student!) Kayla Jacobs (she also notes that you can make your own by simply combining a splash of rosewater, available at many Indian grocery stores and liquor stores, with filtered water). If you're feeling stressed out, this is a good one to reach for!
While there are plenty of actual aloe juices on the market, aloe water is a subtler take on the drink. "It tastes just like water," our testers noted. According to Juice Press, "Aloe is considered to be one of nature's most effective cleaners because it contains amino acids, vitamins, and minerals." While Dr. Amy Shah agrees with them in theory, she's more skeptical in practice. "While aloe can be anti-inflammatory, there's simply not enough of it in this water to make any sort of real difference," she says. She'd recommend drinking this one only if it gets you more excited about drinking water period, as anything that boosts hydration is great for your body.
Activated Charcoal Water
Ah, the ever-trendy black water that you can tote with your yoga mat to say to the world, "I'm cool! I'm into health stuff!" We sipped on Dirty Lemon Detox Water, which combines the activated charcoal (sourced from coconut shells) with lemon, dandelion, and ginger to "support our liver/kidney function and trap impurities before they can be absorbed by the body" (according to Dirty Lemon's site). Doctors tend to agree: Activated charcoal is actually what they use at hospitals for overdoses to get the toxic substance from your body. While testers absolutely loved this one—"it tastes exactly like lemon and water," said one, noting that you couldn't taste the charcoal at all; another noted that it was "acidic without being astringent" and "had a nice kick"—be careful not to consume it too close to any prescription medicines or other herbs you might be taking, as it can interfere with absorption.
Chlorophyll & Trace Mineral Water
This water is meant to be consumed nightly. According to Sakara, this water's creators, "Chlorophyll...floods your body with excess oxygen to improve circulation and encourage rapid cell rejuvenation, boosting your energy and supporting your body's natural healing abilities. Among the 72 ionic trace minerals in Night Water is magnesium, which...helps to improve digestion, encourage regularity, and regulate the body's stress response." Dr. Shah loves the inclusion of trace minerals, as "they're depleted from the modern diet and not contained in the filtered water many health-conscious people drink." This one had a more distinct flavor. "Tastes like good medicine," one of our testers said (although she finished every drop!).
Vitamin D Water
We all know how important Vitamin D is to our health, and Vitamin D water combines "Vitamin D3 (the recommended form is Vitamin D3 because it mimics the natural form of vitamin D the body makes from sunlight), with filtered water to deliver 2,000 IU of vitamin D3, comfortably providing the recommended daily value." While Dr. Shah agrees the D3 is best, she suggests consuming it in a different form than water. "It's better to take separately as a supplement with a full meal," she says, "since it's fat-soluble and thus better absorbed when taken with a fat." The flavor of this one? Just plain water—you'd never know the D3 was hidden inside.
Dubbed as the go-to water for skin, hair, and nails, this blend (we tried Dirty Lemon's Skin + Hair water) purports to "improve skin elasticity, hydration, and skin density; increase internal collagen; and offer nutrients for optimal hair health." While collagen is everywhere these days, Dr. Shah thinks that most of supplemented collagen "will be broken down in the digestive enzymes in the stomach and with digestion, with little being absorbed and brought to the skin," although she concedes some could get through, and that collagen is an important part of skin and hair health. She suggests supporting your body's own collagen production by consuming fresh vegetables and vitamin C-rich foods (we're sure there's a water for that!). While a few testers thought this was too spicy, a brave few liked it's "bright and fruity aroma."
Liz Moody is an author, blogger and recipe developer living in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated with a creative writing and psychology degree from The University of California, Berkeley. Moody has written two cookbooks: Healthier Together: Recipes for Two—Nourish Your Body, Nourish Your Relationships and Glow Pops: Super-Easy Superfood Recipes to Help You Look and Feel Your Best. She also hosts the Healthier Together Podcast, where she chats with notable chefs, nutritionists, and best-selling authors about their paths to success. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Glamour, Food & Wine & Women’s Health.