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Photo: @scottkeneally, Instagram

Paddle Healthy | Comparing Alternative “Waters”

Flavorful and fun compared to "regular" water, plant-based waters are drowning out spring water and conventional sports drinks. With options like artichoke water and birch water lining grocers' shelves, we couldn't help but be intrigued by the trend. Here's a look at seven plant-based waters you may want to try.

Coconut Water

Naturally low in calories andd carbs, while filled with more potassium than bananas, coconut water is a great option for staying hydrated—if you get a brand that doesn't add sugar. The clear drink from coconuts is sweet and cholesterol-free, and contains electrolytes.

Average per 8 ounces: 46 calories, 9g carbohydrates, 9-13g sugar, 600mg potassium, 45mg sodium, 60mg magnesium, 45 mg phosphorous, 2g protein

Maple Water

The sap produced by maple trees isn't a new beverage, but it is a nutritious one. Maple water contains magnesium, calcium, potassium, manganese, and up to 54 antioxidants. It has half the sugar of coconut water, yet is still subtly sweet.

Average per 8 ounces: 15-25 calories 3-6g carbohydrates, 3-5g sugar, 25mg potassium

Artichoke Water

Nutritional benefits are the attraction when it comes to artichoke water. So far, there's only one type on the market: Arty. The maker of Arty—a triathlete—claims that artichoke water boasts electrolytes, antioxidants, Vitamins A, E, C and B, on top of minerals like sodium potassium, calcium, and iron. Other said benefits include anti-inflammatory properties, reducing joint pain and potential reduction in levels of oxidative stress biomarkers after exercise.

Average per 8 ounces: 30 calories, 8g carbohydrates, 8g sugar, 45mg potassium, 20mg sodium

Cactus Water

Derived from prickly pear cactus fruit, the berry-flavored beverage is packed with nutrients as well as five naturally-occurring electrolytes and 24 betalains, which hydrate and revitalize skin cells. The plant, also known as nopales, has anti-inflammatory properties and can be used for treating certain diseases and hangovers too.

Average per 8 ounces: 25 calories, 6g carbohydrates, 5g sugar

Birch Water

Just like maple water, birch water is technically the tree's sap. Birch water has a subtle taste and is high in zinc, potassium and magnesium. It contains xylitol, which helps prevent tooth decay, and also saponins, which help reduce cholesterol. Some even claim birch water helps increase metabolism by detoxifying the liver and kidneys, however, most birch water brands do add sugar as a preservative, so drink wisely.

Average per 8 ounces: 37 calories, 8g carbohydrates, 9g sugar

Watermelon Water

It's like drinking in summer but with potassium, vitamins C and A, plus a little splash of lemon. Watermelon water is technically a cold-pressed juice packed with lycopene, electrolytes and a variety of amino acids—some of which help reduce muscle soreness. We're sold.

Average per 8 ounces: 30 calories, 15g carbohydrates, 12g sugar, 740mg potassium

Aloe Vera Water

Think aloe vera is just used topically on sunburns? Think again. Aloe vera water has been used internally and externally for centuries and is great for the immune system. It's rich in antioxidants and can help promote healthier skin—which we can all use. Aloe vera water has anti-inflammatory properties and is also a great source of vitamins A, C, E, and B12.

Average per 8 ounces: 41 calories, 11g carbohydrates, 9g sugar, 23mg sodium

More Paddle Healthy.

Now that you know what to drink, find the best gear to carry your drink of choice on your next paddle.