During the hot summer months, it’s important to stay hydrated. But reaching for a bottle of water has gotten complicated. Water—that most basic, nourishing substance—comes in so many forms, including alkaline, electrolyte-rich, fortified, caffeinated, and even with an extra H or O.
These waters are part of the growing enhanced-water trend—premium bottled water with a little something extra. One common type is alkaline waters, which have a pH higher than regular drinking water. The popular Essentia has a pH of 9.5, compared with regular water, which comes in at 7—right in the middle of the 1–14 scale. Also called ionized water, it’s said to improve our energy and balance a body’s pH levels. Waiākea Hawaiian Volcanic Water, naturally filtered through volcanic rocks, has a pH of 8.8, plus natural electrolytes. Waiākea comes from a pristine source in Hawaii, an alluring benefit in an era when water safety is a concern.
Electrolytes, typically in sports drinks and coconut water, are widely present in enhanced waters, a boon to those looking for flavorless, zero-calorie replenishment. Nourishing electrolyte minerals, such as potassium and sodium, provide what a body needs after heavy sweating. Sodium helps prevent dehydration, so these beverages are best before an activity. NestléPure Life, LIFEWTR and CORE Hydration are just a few examples.
A newer variation is hydrogen water. Inspired by a Japanese trend, these products feature extra hydrogen, believed to boost endurance and energy and provide antioxidants. HTWO Hydrogen Water comes in a pouch to prevent hydrogen from escaping the package. For maximum hydrogen benefit, it needs to be consumed within 30 minutes of opening. On the other side of H2O is oxygen, plentiful in OXiGEN water, which features two bonded 02molecules to create a stable 04molecule that stays put in the bottle to provide extra energy.
There is little hard science to back up most enhanced-water claims, but that isn’t slowing down this energetic trend. Any water is welcome on a hot day. And if a bottle isn’t handy, there is always that summertime favorite, the water hose.