Water is involved in every bodily function from performance to digestion to temperature regulation and nutrient absorption. And while plain water is great on its own, sometimes adding a couple of vitamins, minerals or superfoods can ratchet up its dietary value. Here’s a selection of heathy, enhanced beverages categorized by their research-backed benefits to consider for your next hydration boost.
Research in The Journal of Nutrition shows that getting adequate amounts of branched-chain amino acids such as leucine, isoleucine and valine may reduce the duration of exercise fatigue and improve muscle protein synthesis. Electrolytes such as potassium and calcium help maintain fluid balance and assist with muscle contractions, and caffeine can improve physical performance and signal the body to break down fat for energy, according to research published in Food Science and Biotechnology.
Ultima Replenisher electrolyte drink mix, sweetened with organic stevia, replaces electrolytes and minerals lost through sweat and exercise to promote hydration and prevent cramping.
Oikos Pro Fuel delivers 25 grams of protein, about 20 grams of carbs and 100 milligrams of caffeine for optimal replenishment.
$2-$2.50, retailers nationwide
Celsius BCAA recovery drink contains 2.5 grams of BCAAs per bottle as well as vitamin D3, electrolytes, tart cherry juice and caffeine to energize your workouts and promote recovery.
Balancing and bolstering your gut flora with prebiotics and probiotics can boost immunity, improve energy and facilitate fat loss. And the more diverse the species and strains of microorganisms in your microbiome, the better your metabolism, brain function and immune response, according to research published in Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases. Dietary fiber is also key, and research published in Science revealed that the byproducts released by your gut microbiota during fiber digestion bolster intestinal cells and help your body break down food more efficiently.
Good Culture Wellness Probiotic Gut Shots contain 50 billion live and active cultures and 12 live and active strains, as well as turmeric, matcha, chaga and collagen to support total-body health.
Tropicana Essentials Fiber drinks contain 100 percent juice and 4 grams of fiber per serving.
$3.50 (32 oz), tropicana.com
OWYN plant-based shakes are fortified with 5 grams of fiber to feed your microbiome and contain very little sugar to prevent inflammation.
Up Your Immunity
When it comes to immune function, fortifying yourself with antioxidants is a smart move, and anti-inflammatory ingredients are popular add-ins for commercial drinks. Curcumin — the active ingredient in turmeric — is even being looked at as a possible anti-cancer element. Anthocyanins — the phytochemicals responsible for the blue, red, pink and purple hues in berries and grapes — are another power player and, according to the Journal of Gerontology, may prevent neurological diseases, reduce the incidence of cancer and combat inflammation.
Kabaki Kenyan Purple Tea contains plenty of anthocyanins, is low in caffeine and comes in five flavors.
Bai Antioxidant Infusion is made with coffee fruit, a cherry-like superfood, and delivers free-radical-fighting antioxidants and a big energy boost.
Numi Organic Tea Daily Super Shots are nutrient-dense drinks that fuse the power of fruits, roots, herbs and spices.
Getting a full night’s rest is always a win when it comes to optimizing recovery, and ingredients like GABA and melatonin can help promote more restorative sleep. Tart cherry juice has been shown to increase the quality and quantity of sleep, according to researchers at Northumbria University in England, and CBD oil has been shown to help decrease inflammation and boost oxygen uptake, helping flush out excess lactic acid.
Cherrish contains 96 Montmorency tart cherries per 12-ounce bottle to regulate blood sugar and metabolism, speed recovery, and ease joint and muscle soreness.
O2+ Hemp CBD drink delivers 10 milligrams of broad-spectrum hemp extract, seven times the oxygen of tap water and twice the electrolytes of traditional sports drinks.
Som Sleep contains a blend of L-theanine, GABA and melatonin to help your brain and body fall easily into restorative sleep.
When it comes to training, caffeine can help improve focus, exercise performance and fat burning, and research out of Georgia State University found that caffeine improved muscular endurance and strength, particularly in movements that use larger muscle groups. Ingredients such as matcha can boost cognitive performance and reaction time, and capsaicin, when paired with caffeine, increases focus and attention.
Optimum Nutrition Essential Amin.O. Energy Plus Electrolytes provides 5 grams of amino acids, a bevy of electrolytes and 100 milligrams of natural caffeine to power up your training sesh.
Hint Kick caffeinated water is free of artificial sweeteners and contains 60 milligrams of caffeine per bottle.
Kitu Super Coffee Triple Shot Espresso drink contains L-theanine for added focus and 180 milligrams of caffeine.