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Maple Water: The Next Natural Energy Drink

February 23, 2014

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Coconut water is the sports drink of choice right now for a natural way to replenish your fluids and electrolytes post-workout, but its days in the spotlight may be numbered. New research suggests that to reenergize, the liquid-like sap from a mature maple tree may be your best bet. A new forecast by nutrition industry expert Julian Mellentin claims that tree water is next in line to be the natural sports drink superstar, and estimates two billion dollars in revenue from these plant-based functional nutrition drinks by 2025.

Maple water is a natural sap that resembles tap water in its consistency and appearance and has healing qualities that invigorate the body and replace its energy stores. The sweet sap is just 2 percent sugar and 98 percent water, making it a more dilute and healthier form of maple syrup, which has a sugar content of 66 percent, according to the Quebec Foundation of Maple Syrup Producers.  

But how does maple water work as a sports drink? For one thing, it contains both fructose and glucose, simple sugars that break down quickly to fuel your body during a tough workout, aid in muscle recovery post-exercise, or simply replenish your fluids and give you a little non-caffeinated pick-me-up.   

Although it has a subtle, sweet taste, don’t think maple water is completely devoid of nutritional value. It’s also a dense source of minerals and trace vitamins, including heart-healthy potassium and calcium; manganese and riboflavin to stimulate your metabolism and repair muscle and cell damage; and immune-boosting zinc and niacin.  Canadian companies that produce maple water claim the sap contains up to 54 different antioxidants, including polyphenols and amino and organic acids, and is also a prebiotic, a microorganism that assists the good bacteria, or probiotic activity, in your gut.

In Canada, over the course of last year, three companies developed maple water drinks and maple energy products that have quickly become some of the hottest items on the market. Tree waters from both birch and maple are also enjoyed in parts of Japan, China, and Northern Europe, and Koreans have been sipping maple sap for generations, as it’s traditionally known to promote bone and joint health and aid digestion. Maple is also a popular ingredient in juice cleanses, as it’s thought to assist in the detox process.  

Can’t find the sterilized sap in your health food store? Make your own homemade version of maple water with this yummy and energizing recipe:

Orange-Ginger Maple Water

1 1/2 cups spring water

2 tbsp. fresh navel orange juice

2 tbsp. organic dark maple syrup

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

¼ tsp. (or less) powdered ginger

Mix all the ingredients with a spoon in a tall glass until combined. Add ice cubes, if desired. Makes two servings.

What’s your favorite natural energy or sports drink?