Gatorade, Powerade, and other electrolyte sports drinks seem to be consumed by a majority of runners out there. Their ads online and on television make the drink seem irresistible and thirst quenching. Athletes are shown drinking from their Gatorade bottle during stoppage of plays, intermissions and commercial breaks.
Most aid stations at race events stock up on Gatorade for the runners. These drinks help replenish lost electrolytes on your run. But many of these drinks contain inexpensive sweeteners and sugars such as high fructose corn syrup and sucrose syrup, and they also contain colored dyes.
Here are 5 alternative sports drinks you can consume during your next run.
1. Coconut Water: With less sugar than sports drinks, this water contains glucose, Vitamin C and Vitamin B and more potassium than a banana. One major benefit I find with coconut water is the decrease and elimination of muscle cramps on my runs from the potassium in coconut water. Coconut water can be found in almost every convenient store with such brands as Zico, Vita Coco, C20, and Naked. I stay away from those brands, they tend to contain added fruit sugars and they don’t taste like fresh coconut water. My personal favorite is Harmless Harvest Raw Coconut Water and Taste Nirvana. Or you can buy a fresh organic coconut, crack it open, drink the water, and eat the coconut meat.
2. Maple Water: Containing 46 vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, this water is the sap that comes straight from tapped maple trees. Instead of boiling down the maple water to turn into syrup, you can drink it raw from a maple tree. Maple water also contains about half the sugar of coconut water. The only 2 brands I’ve tried and have come across are Wahta and Vertical Maple Water, each tasting very similar to raw maple water. In March, you can save money and tap your own maple trees! I would like to only drink maple water for my next ultra-marathon.
3. Cactus Water: I recently tasted cactus water and found the water to be extremely light tasting. This water contains half the calories as coconut water and other sports drinks, and is supposed to reduce inflammation. True Nopal and Caliwater are the 2 cactus water brands I’ve come across, and I have only tried True Nopal. Very tasty alternative to Gatorade, with only 3 ingredients(water, pear concentrate, and natural flavors.) I would love to try raw cactus water.
4. Aloe Vera Water: This water is said to have healing and soothing effects for the body, especially for cramps. This drink contains vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids. Extremely tasty drink, however it contains quite a few ingredients, 7 to be exact; Water, Aloe Vera Juice, Cane Sugar, Honey, Citric Acid, Vitamin C, and Natural Grape Flavor.
5. Birch Water: Similiar to Maple Water, this tree is tapped in early spring. This water contains potassium, iron and other antioxidants and vitamins. I haven’t come across birch water in stores yet, and have only seen one brand online, Sealand Birk Birch Water. The birch tree is considered, “The Tree of Life”, and I’m anxious to give it a try this summer.
Stay hydrated this summer with one of these 5 alternative sports drinks to fuel your next run!