Doctors and nutrition experts emphasize the importance of hydration as if you’d die without it or something. (Oh wait…) It’s the most fundamental way to lead a healthy life. Of course, while guzzling the contents of your S’well bottle is hydrating on its own, there’s a new trend emerging in the water world—and no, it has nothing to do with any of the different “types” of waters taking over the refrigerated section of the grocery store a la alkaline, hydrogen, or electrolyte. Instead, these waters are (ahem) swimming with extra benefits, from lowering anxiety with CBD to helping you sleep better with melatonin.
One such newly released water with benefits is Szent, which incorporates the benefits of essential oils through a little rubber ring right under the cap. The water itself is totally plain, but tastes flavored because you’re smelling the essential oil from the ring, as you sip. “We wanted to create a flavored water without using anything artificial, Szent chief creative officer Madeleine Grandbois says. Instead of using sugar or artificial ingredients, the flavor experience is all in the nose, but you’re still experiencing some of the benefits of essential oils.
Inhaling the citrusy tangerine, for example, can boost your mood while the mint flavor can help you focus. When I asked hydration expert and sports medicine professor Sandra Fowkes Godek, PhD if these essential oil waters were hype or healthy, she told me she was into the idea. “If the flavor benefit encourages someone to drink more water because they like how it tastes, then I’m all for it,” she says. In fact, beyond just the rings, she’s into the idea of adding a few drops of essential oil right into your glass (stick with citruses and mints for starters).
Hydration powders and tablets are another way to give water a boost, primarily to help the body better absorb electrolytes. It’s been the cornerstone of sports hydration brand Nuun since their inception in 2004 and in the past year, Liquid I.V. has sky-rocketed in popularity, working off a similar idea. The brand uses a blend of sodium, glucose, and potassium, which reportedly help the body to hydrate three times as fast as water on its own. This month, they’re releasing a sleep blend, made with l-theanine and melatonin.
In their soon-to-be-released clinical studies, the brand had one group of participants consume l-theanine, melatonin, and water on its own and then another group consume it with their cellular transport technology, which is the blend of sodium, glucose, and potassium meant to help you fall asleep faster. They took everyone’s blood 15 minutes before, 15 minutes after, and 30 minutes after consuming. “The majority of the group that used our delivery system had significantly more of the melatonin and l-theanine in their blood system,” CEO Brandin Cohen says.
“I’m a big fan of waters with natural minerals in water because I think we’re all depleted,” Dr. Godek says. “Just make sure when you’re buying these powders that they aren’t full of chemicals.” How can you tell? If the label is full of long, weird words you can’t pronounce, steer clear, but if it lists vitamins and minerals you know, go for it.
Sparkling water is part of the H20-plus trend too: There are two CBD-infused sparkling waters hitting the market this fall. One, Recess, also includes adaptogenic schisandra, ginseng, and l-theanine, aiming to help lower anxiety. Another, Sprig, is introducing a CBD sparkling water for sale nationally, and if you’re in a marijuana-friendly state, a THC-spike version as well. “They’re both all-natural and low-sugar, but the THC one is more recreational beverage, you get a definite buzz from it,” founder Michael Lewis says. “It’s more of an uplifting or fun alternative to alcohol. The CBD sparkling water is more of a wellness beverage with anti-anxiety benefits.”
Lewis says some people like to sip on the CBD water at work while others like to have it at the end of the day to unwind. “A lot of people tell us it helps them get a good night’s sleep,” he says. While the science on CBD is still out, some people do find it helpful in lessening anxiety or helping with sleep. (Worth a shot, right?)
Hydration in its OG form—straight from your tap or filter—is already doing your body a favor. Consider these new super-waters a little extra credit boost for when you’re looking for an added benefit; the cherry on top of an already healthy habit. Bottoms up!
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