Hydrate With the Help of Plants This Summer

Flavored water is nothing new, but things are quickly moving far beyond the familiar flavors. Now, ingredients like rose and cactus are entering the H2O equation. But are they actually beneficial to your health, or just another hollow trend? We decided to find out.

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Water is one of life's greatest natural amenities. It cleans us, hydrates us, and, across cultures, stands as a symbol of spiritual restoration. But sometimes after sipping on it all day, the thought of drinking another glass of water just sounds boring—an inevitable yearning for flavor (actual flavor, not fake lemon additives) sets in. How to quench this particular kind of thirst?

Infused and plant-based waters aren't new concepts, but recently, bottles of aloe, rose, and even cactus water, have shown up in the hands of beachgoers, commuters, and workout buffs alike. 

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We asked New York-based dietitian Sharon Richter about this new trend because, like most of you, we're wondering if these drinks offer any specific benefits to our skin and bodies. "In regard to skin, they all may help with their vitamin and antioxidant properties," Richter says. "I would recommend trying them and drinking those that you enjoy, but they may just be extra hydration." Keeping yourself hydrated is always a key to better skin and overall daily function, so what harm can drinking these waters do?

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Get the details on rose, coconut, aloe, and cactus waters, to see if they're right for you.

Rose Water

Roses smell sweet, and look beautiful in a bouquet, but what else do they have to offer? "Drinkable rose water is said to contain many beauty and health benefits," Richter says. "One of the claims is its antioxidant properties," she says, which can help brighten skin and slow down signs of aging.

Water + Rose, $3, juicepress.com.
Beauty Water, $24, sakara.com.
Rose Water by Cortas, $6, gourmetfoodworld.com.

Coconut Water

Most products that derive from coconut benefit the body in a number of ways—coconut water notable among them, which is the liquid naturally found in the fruit. "Coconut water is beneficial at the right times," Richter notes. "It's a good source of potassium, low in carbohydrates and sodium, but still contains natural sugar." She suggests drinking one during a workout, to keep you hydrated, and it can also help revive you after a late night out. Richter does have one warning, though: "Be mindful to avoid flavored versions with added sugar."

Pure Coconut Water by Vita Coco, $5, target.com.
Coconut Water, $30, h2coconut.com.
Organic Coconut Water, $27, zico.com.

Aloe Water 

Sadly, humans don't benefit from aloe water—yet. "No studies have shown any benefits to humans," Richter says. "The good of aloe," Richter says, "has been seen topically." So consider skipping the plant-based water this time, and sticking with these aloe-rich skin products instead. 

Modern Friction, $40, origins.com.
Aloe Shave Gel, $17, clinique.com.
Aloe Vera Toner by Mario Badescu, $15, ulta.com.

Cactus Water

Give up on sugary sports drinks and grab some cactus water, which Richter notes contains both electrolytes (which restore muscles) and antioxidants. (Cactus water is a derivative of nopal cactus, otherwise known as prickly pear.) Keep a bottle handy in your gym bag for a refreshing post-workout treat. 

Cactus Water Wild Prickly Pear, $30 for 12, drinkcaliwater.com.
Cactus Water by True Nopal, $6, luckyvitamin.com.
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