Did you know that certain tree saps are incredibly nutrient dense and some mineral waters are more mineral rich than others? There has recently been chatter among the clean living community about how amazing birch sap and maple water are for you. These “tree juices” are claimed to have health benefits ranging from improved hydration, to better cholesterol control. They are said to help boost the immune system and may enhance detoxification. Should be consuming these more regularly, or are they simply over-priced bottled waters?
Keeping my water levels in balance has always been a challenge – too little water intake leads to tiredness and brain-fog, too much and I spend most of my life in the bathroom. This is an issue that I have been able to manage better over the years by regularly adding in green vegetable juices. Despite this, it is always good to know of other options.
When I came across coconut water in the UK a couple of years ago, it was a revelation to be able to drink lovely fresh coconut water and experience a sharp brain, without needing to nip to the loo every 5 minutes. I adore coconut water and drink it regularly. My kids love it too, but they prefer it blended in with some other fruit such as berries or mango.
Images of birch sap and maple water have popped up on my Instagram over the last year, which has made me very curious to try these. I had not spotted any in our local supermarket but have recently discovered that you can buy both through Ocado.
Birch water is simply birch sap tapped from the silver-birch tree. It is the saponins in the birch water that are meant to bring you its special health benefits. These include maintaining optimal blood lipid levels and boosting the immune system. Birch water is also well known for its anti-inflammatory properties. This is why I have been so keen to try it. Luckily a few weekends ago at the Food Bloggers Conference there was some Sibberi birch water to try. To be honest it was not my favourite taste (think slightly gluey-sweet pine flavour) but it certainly hit the spot and kept my energy levels up for the rest of the day.
Sibberi kindly let me take a bottle of Birch water home with me, as I was doing a big muddy run the next day and would need all the help I could muster to get me round the course. The 12 mile Tough Mudder, was as it said on the label – very tough and very muddy. I think the birch water did help hugely as I was about the only one in my team of 12 who did not develop cramp, and I was still able to drive my kids up to London afterwards without zonking at the wheel.
Maple water also contains tree sap from the maple tree. Maple water is also meant to have a number of health benefits which includes supporting immunity, strengthening bones and may help to keep stomach lining healthy. It is also packed with calcium, iron and manganese which are often lacking in those with limited diets.
The evening after the run, I happened to be in WholeFoods and came across Drink Maple water. Pretty whacked from the big run, but still on roll from the birch water, I just had to give this a go. Well, I thought it tasted pretty scrummy – think watered down maple syrup – and it certainly restored my energy levels within a few minutes. I would definitely give this a thumbs up and I reckon it would go down well with the kids too. This would also be very easy to blend into smoothies or fresh juices.
Fiji water was first recommended to me by some of my patients. This water is packed with electrolyte minerals including sodium, potassium, magnesium and chloride. It is really helping some of my little patients with neurological challenges, who have problems with high ammonia levels and/or heavy metal toxicity. They say the high levels of silica in this water helps to flush these nasties out the system. At a slightly alkaline pH of 7.7 this will also help to alkalise an over-acidic system. Silica also helps those with collagen issues including aches and pains and tendon or cartilage issues. I found this in my local Waitrose (Ocado also sell it) and tastes squeaky clean and delicious, and therefore good for any children who are funny with new tastes, but need the boost of electrolytes and silica.
So what do I conclude from trying these new “super waters”? I think birch sap and maple water are a perfect option if you like the idea of improving your health through what you drink. Fiji water is a great solution for children, who often hate taking mineral supplementation, and they want to avoid the chalky tablets and salty liquids typical of mineral supplements. I am also a big believer that nature knows best and that you will probably gain holistic benefits from drinking these waters as their precise nutritional benefits are difficult to replicate in a man-made supplement.
Remember, these waters are not cheap with birch water coming in at 66.4p per 100ml, maple water at 42.2p per 100ml and Fiji water at 14.9p per 100ml, so they will add quite a whack to your weekly food bill. That said they certainly made my recovery from the Tough Mudder much easier and I will definitely be stocking up with Fiji water, birch sap and maple water for my next charity long distance run.