Whether you’re going hard on the treadmill, waking up with a mind-numbing hangover or just quenching thirst on a hot day, sports drinks have become an American staple. Children even pack them in their school lunches. But should we be downing this drink as often as we do?
The market has expanded since the inception of these beverages in the ’90’s. Other energy-boosting alternatives (like beet juice and blends) take up just as much space in the market aisles. But today, we’re comparing three options. Between sports drinks, vitamin water and coconut water, which is the better choice?
The answer? Well, it’s important to focus on how you’re going to use them and just what ingredients go into your specific drink of choice. Let’s dive in a little deeper with a comparison.
How Do Sports Drinks Fare?
Exercise and Performance
Sports drinks weren’t always multi-purpose. They were first created in response to fatigued football players on the field. Does its purpose keep up decades later? A University of California, Berkeley report suggests that the beverage might actually be beneficial for hydration and endurance. But…there’s a catch.
The study merely suggests that they could be beneficial…if someone is working out vigorously in a session for 90 minutes or more; however, those results can’t be extended any farther than that. And it does not take into account how daily consumption would contribute to overall health.
What does this mean? Well, for the average person putting in say, 30 to 60 minutes a day, these drinks wouldn’t be doing the job. And even then, the harmful extras could do more harm than good in the long run.
So, what danger lurks in these drinks?
Most sport drinks contain a bunch of additives, which makes adding these as your daily go-to’s a definite no-no. Some of these drinks may include:
- high fructose corn syrup (glucose-fructose syrup)
- sucrose syrup
- sodium citrate
- monopotassium phosphate
- food starch
- color additives (such as red 40)
Does anything already stick out to you? You might have already found at least two things you are shaking your head at. There are no super nutrients, just super dud ingredients.
First, let’s tackle the syrups. High fructose corn syrup helps sweeten and lengthen the shelf life of food and drinks. However, the syrup is associated with consequences. For example, the American Society of Nephrology suggests the syrup can contribute to higher blood pressure levels in adults, even with no history of hypertension.
And sucrose syrup? This sweetener has been tied to the promotion of obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and artery disease. (1)
But, do the added chemicals do any benefit? Short answer, not really. In theory, adding potassium and sodium may sound like a good idea, but they don’t really add anything when drinking from sports drinks. You’re much better off just getting this from trace minerals from fruits, veggies and whole foods. (If you need help working greens, try our 4 easy steps to start eating more veggies).
Let’s not forget bout the color additives. You should stay away from those. Their sole existence is to make the drinks look more marketable, but studies have linked them to higher risks of hyperactivity in children and risk of other diseases.(2)
What About Vitamin Water?
Okay, so maybe sipping on a sports drink isn’t the best idea. Is vitamin water any better than sports drinks?
Like sports drinks, this concoction was created when plain water just didn’t do the trick. Some people thought, “what if we could add minerals and vitamins to boost rehydration?” Flash forward to now, where vitamin waters are plentiful, with diet and zero-calorie options to match.
But are they any different than sports drinks? Not really.
Exercise and Endurance
Again, adding minerals and vitamins to your drink sounds appealing. For people who avoid swallowing vitamin capsules (it can be difficult, we get it), seeking out vitamins through this route seems ideal.
With added electrolytes, certain vitamin water choices might come in handy, but only during hard, intense workouts here and there.
But what about an average user? The additives may set the drink back.
In theory, vitamin waters are great: just replenish what you’re losing. Perfect, except that’s not exactly how that works.
Some of these beverages can contain excess amounts of vitamins, way more than one person would need in a day. And unless you were really pumping iron, like every second of a long workout, there is no way you would lose enough electrolytes or vitamins to even warrant the excess in each bottle.
But that’s fine, right? The more, the merrier? Actually, no. As with lots of things in life, too much of anything can be detrimental.
Plus, these drinks often fall prey to the same ingredient listings as sports drinks, including harmful syrups and sugars, and their potential damage. (3) It’s best to opt out of this choice.
So, how does coconut water compare?
Is Coconut Water Any Better Than Sports Drinks?
Is coconut water just another online health fad or does it actually have value? Until recently, coconut water was only seen as a healthy, hydration choice, especially for those that wanted a little different taste from plan water. But nowadays, it’s multi-purposeful.
So, what does coconut water have going for it?
Naturally, coconut water contains several plant nutrients:
- antioxidant properties (like those of tart cherry)
- vitamin C (like the amla berry)
- important minerals, like electrolytes, magnesium, calcium and potassium
But can coconut water be beneficial for working out?
Coconut Water & Working Out
Part of the water’s antioxidant properties can help fight free radicals, which can be triggered during stress or injury. This can affect blood pressure, which may indirectly affect your workout. (4)
As for actual workout benefits? The research is sparse, but it’s still looking good. Because this water contains electrolytes, it can be a good source of replenishment after a good round of exercising.
One study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sport Nutrition suggests there this hydrating drink can stand up to high-electrolyte drinks in the replenishing category, with less calories and more natural nutrients. (5) Another study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology and Applied Human Science suggests sodium-infused coconut water and regular sport’s drinks perform on par as well. (6)
Of course, plain water can fuel average workouts too, but when it comes to intense workouts, you can opt for coconut water instead of high calories and fructose-filled options. Just be sure your coconut water uses pure and true ingredients and is free of added sugars.
Pure Planet Coconut Water
Coconut water is already great, so some superfood-help can only make it more awesome! That’s why we carefully crafted our premium coconut water blends.
- Joint Rescue: Optimized with tumeric and black pepper, this blend promotes healthy joints–for athletes and non-athlete’s alike!
- Rehydrate: Mixed with ginger, mineral salts and rooibos, this blend provides boosted hydration support, supporting electrolyte balance.
- Energy: Specially-designed with yerbe mate and rhodiola root, this blend promotes stable energy.
Stay hydrated, friends!
- Shapiro, A., Tümer, N., Gao, Y., Cheng, K. Y., & Scarpace, P. J. (2011). Prevention and reversal of diet-induced leptin resistance with a sugar-free diet despite high fat content. British Journal of Nutrition, 106(3), 390-397.
- Arnold, L. E., Lofthouse, N., & Hurt, E. (2012). Artificial food colors and attention-deficit/hyperactivity symptoms: conclusions to dye for. Neurotherapeutics, 9(3), 599-609.
- Malik, V. S., Schulze, M. B., & Hu, F. B. (2006). Intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain: a systematic review–. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 84(2), 274-288.
- Santos, J. L., Bispo, V. S., BC FILHO, A. D. R. I. A. N. O., Pinto, I. F., Dantas, L. S., Vasconcelos, D. F., … & Gomes, O. F. (2013). Evaluation of chemical constituents and antioxidant activity of coconut water (Cocus nucifera L.) and caffeic acid in cell culture. Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências, 85(4), 1235-1247.
- Kalman, D. S., Feldman, S., Krieger, D. R., & Bloomer, R. J. (2012). Comparison of coconut water and a carbohydrate-electrolyte sport drink on measures of hydration and physical performance in exercise-trained men. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 9(1), 1.
- Saat, M., Singh, R., Sirisinghe, R. G., & Nawawi, M. (2002). Rehydration after exercise with fresh young coconut water, carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage and plain water. Journal of physiological anthropology and applied human science, 21(2), 93-104.
If you’re looking for a natural substance that can not only help boost your health on the inside while encouraging clear, fresh skin on the outside, then you’ve stumbled to the right place. Today, we’re talking about fulvic acid and its benefits.
We know what you’re thinking: what the heck is fulvic acid? To be honest, it doesn’t really sound all that appealing. It kind of sounds like it comes straight out of a nuclear power plant or superhero movie. Luckily, it will not give you radioactive super powers, but it can give your body some natural super powers. We’ve been pure and true since 1992, so no chemically-altered ingredients here, just pure superfoods.
Interestingly enough, these organic compounds come straight from the earth (literally!). Even though it is widely available, it can be a little hard to find in stores. You’ll have to look into specialty health places to get your hands on some (or you can visit pureplanet.com, of course).
Allow us to shed some light on why we love this natural acid and why we think you’ll love it too.
What is Fulvic Acid?
Fulvic acid is a humic substance, meaning it is organically found in soil, bodies of water, and particular foods. Some believe this acid helps give greens and fruits some of their minerals when they are grown in rich soil.
As a supplement, you’ll likely see it as a yellow powder or in liquid form.
What Does It Do?
Acting as an electrolyte and mineral, this acid helps the body cleanse toxins and boost nutrient absorption (1). In more scientific terms, the acid helps convert inorganic substances to organic substances that our bodies can easily use. What’s more, fulvic acid helps the body at the cellular level (2). It helps cells become more permeable, so that they may absorb more water, but release toxins and metals in a chelation process (3). Like chlorella, this is a must-have in any detox regimen.
Here’s how the unique properties affect major body functions.
It encourages metabolism and digestion
Because of its cleansing benefits, fulvic acid can help rid the gut of “bad bacteria.” What’s more, the acid works like a prebiotic to create a safe space for the “good” bacteria to live in the stomach. In essence, you just found your probiotic’s best friend! Reminder: Probiotics are great for nurturing your gut’s bacterial flora and can be found naturally in foods or drinks, like apple cider vinegar.
Plus, some studies suggest that trace minerals found in the acid boosts metabolism by helping to digest protein and carbs quicker. It’s a digestive powerhouse, which is why we like to use it every day.
And guess what? This process can help your skin too!
Fulvic acid may help the body respond to inflammation & improve healthy appearance of the skin
Through detox, fulvic acid promotes healthy elimination of chemicals that contribute to free radical production. Free radicals help the body in some ways, but too many can lead to inflammation, wrinkles and skin damage. These chemicals are in highly processed foods and even polluted air.
What’s more, this natural acid boasts antioxidants that naturally fight free radicals. Anecdotal evidence suggests skin appears more tightened and tone after use; however, more research is needed to confirm this.
Either way, fulvic acid is definitely one of the easier beauty tools to use that won’t require you to watch a 20-minute make-up tutorial and fail miserably (come on Kylie Jenner, it looked so much easier when you did it!) It’s really awesome when superfoods, like rice bran solubles, are able to help us feel beautiful on the inside and out.
It may help boost your workouts and encourage recovery
As a natural way to fight free radicals and prevent inflammation, this compound makes for a great workout recovery supplement. Your muscles will thank you! Because the acid contains electrolytes, it can also help replenish those lost while you were sweating up a storm. In other words, it helps your stay hydrated.
Plus, mixing fulvic acid with your plain water is much more beneficial to your than chugging a sports drink, full of sugar. We recommend mixing it with some beet juice to keep you energized. Or at the end the night with a little tart cherry to lighten the day’s load on your muscles and inspire some deep sleep.
Looking for a Natural Source?
For any supplement, it is important to choose products that are made naturally and do not contain any fillers. We offer two super potent fulvic acid blends: Ionic Elements (mixed with trace minerals) and Fulvic Zeolite (mixed with zeolite).
- Carrasco-Gallardo, C., Guzmán, L., & Maccioni, R. B. (2012). Shilajit: a natural phytocomplex with potential procognitive activity. International Journal of Alzheimer’s disease, 2012.
- Man, D., Pisarek, I., Braczkowski, M., Pytel, B., & Olchawa, R. (2014). The impact of humic and fulvic acids on the dynamic properties of liposome membranes: the ESR method. Journal of liposome research, 24(2), 106-112.
- Christl, I., Metzger, A., Heidmann, I., & Kretzschmar, R. (2005). Effect of humic and fulvic acid concentrations and ionic strength on copper and lead binding. Environmental science & technology, 39(14), 5319-5326.
If you’re on the lookout for nutritious, yet delicious food, there’s no reason why rice bran solubles shouldn’t be on your list. Unless of course, you have no idea what they are.
But that excuse ends now. Ready for your crash course?
What Are They?
Most of us know how great brown rice is. It’s right up there with barley, in terms of healthy kitchen staples. But do we know what part of the rice makes it most nutritious?
Yes! It’s the rice bran solubles, or the outer hull of brown rice that is packed with a variety of nutrients.
Here are 4 reasons to integrate them in your life.
1. They contain tocotrienols.
Tocotrienols, also known as tocos, are popping up in coffee shops around the world. We wouldn’t be surprised if they become the next big health craze. Found in wheat, barley, rye and rice, these antioxidant-like nutrients are actually related to vitamin E.
That association has food-lovers and beauty gurus alike buzzing for a fix. In a Bon Appetit interview, nutritionist Dr. Christopher Brown boasts the nutrient’s ability to hydrate skin and connective tissue. He notes that both consumption and skin application share similar results.
One study published in the Journal of Dispersion Science and Technology sought to investigate these skin claims. Researchers examined the power of these rice brans in an anti-wrinkle cream.
What was the verdict? It helped improve the appearance of skin!
But tocos can help with more than just that. They are heralded for their antioxidant properties. They can help the body manage free radicals, which can encourage the body’s response to inflammation.
Plus, they also support:
- heart health
- gastrointestinal health
- brain health
2. They are easily soluble and taste like a dessert ingredient, without the sugar and additives.
This is super cool, although we know it sounds really boring. But these rice brans dissolve quickly (hence, the name), which make them perfect to add to beverages. This results in a creamy texture.
And why would you want to add them?
Well the bran does not taste like rice; instead, it has more nut buttery taste. Some people find it tastes a little more like vanilla to them. Either way, YUM! Congrats, you found the secret to making a healthy dish or drink taste more like dessert, even when its not.
Plus, there aren’t any drawbacks — no additives or extra sugar. So, you won’t be adding excessive calories on as if you were using heavy creamers.
Milk? Fine. Iced coffee? Knock yourself out. Your green smoothie? Absolutely! You can even add this to food recipes, like oatmeal, granola and other complementary nut-butter counterparts. Read on or scroll down for a quick and scrumptious recipe.
3. Rice bran solubles contain other minerals, vitamins and CoQ10.
You thought it couldn’t get better? Well, you’re wrong. But don’t worry, this time it’s a good thing. These solubles also naturally contain minerals that can support healthy bones and brain function.
Plus, this bran also hold vitamins B-5 and B-6. These vitamins help support overall function of the body. But what lots of nutritionists love is the CoQ10 content. What is that? Good question.
This isn’t just a random assortment of letters and numbers, it’s an antioxidant that is said to promote cell energy and nutrient absorption.
4. These solubles also pack a healthy source of fiber.
Naturally, they contain fiber, which can help support healthy weight and digestive health. Plus, fiber can help you more full, which can help you snack less often.
These fibers are also said to help maintain healthy blood glucose levels and cholesterol.
If you have trouble ensuring you get your daily fiber, these solubles can help that process be a little easier. Just sneak a little in here and there in breakfast bowls, morning drinks and more.
Are you out of ideas of where to fit them in? Don’t worry. We have you covered!
Healthy Protein Bites Recipe with Rice Bran Solubles
First of all, you’re welcome. Secondly, you need to try this recipe! Chalkboard Magazine created the perfect creamy vanilla protein bites. With only a few ingredients and simple instructions, you’ll have a tasty, but nutritious snack.
Don’t Have the Main Ingredient on Hand?
Sea algae might be something you’re willing to try, but how exactly do you do it? Tablets are easy to ingest daily, but what about powder? Some of us may not like mixing the green blends with water. But hey, that’s a good way to go.
We’ve outlined a few ways you could try nature’s multivitamin, spirulina. We also covered red marine algae. Now, we’re giving you some ideas for chlorella, a strain of algae that has fascinated nutritionists for a long time now.
Before we get to the recipes, here’s a quick run-down of the benefits of chlorella.
Benefits of Chlorella
Like other greens, this single-celled algae is nutrient-dense, making it a good way to supplement. We’ve covered these benefits more in depth, but here’s the gist.
- Chlorella binds to heavy-metals, making it a helpful veggie during cleanses.
- It contains antioxidant, which can help manage healthy blood pressure, blood sugar levels and even help lower cholesterol.
- It may help boost aerobic exercises (through antioxidants and other plant nutrients).
- It could help boost your immune system, helping your body fight against infections and viruses.
Okay, are you ready for chlorella recipes? Our mouths are watering so let’s get started.
Who doesn’t love avocado? Why not boost the nutritious green with help from another? Sea algae guac may not sound appetizing, but you’d be surprised how good it can be.
Here’s the simple instructions.
- 1 Avocado
- 1 teaspoon chlorella powder (try ours)
- Spices or chili flakes (we like our guac to have a little punch)
All you need to do is mash the avocado and chlorella together. Mix thoroughly. Then sprinkle in your spices. Poof! You’re done. Try spreading it on bread or crackers for a light snack. You can also use it for you taco dinner night!
Gwyneth Paltrow and the folks over at Goop created a Merman Smoothie that we can’t wait to try. We love ourselves a good mermaid-themed dish. It includes pumpkin seed milk, coconut meat, mint and more! Yum, right?
Add a little cacao nibs, and you’re on a smooth train to relaxation.
“Chlorella De Ville”
A Disney pun? That’s really all you needed to get us hooked. Greenblender created this recipe packed with vitamins, fiber and protein. Mixing swiss chard, kiwis and banana, this smoothie is the green dream
Looking for a tasty yet nutritious topper for your breakfast AND dinner bowls? My New Roots has you covered. Using maple syrup and tahini, this recipe transforms chlorella into a multi-functional cream that you’ll want to drench over everything.
Vegan cacao balls are a main-stay for plant-based eaters. You can never really go wrong with chocolate, right? Using almonds, cashews, dates and more, Better Nutrition walks you through instructions in creating decadent treats.
Coconut + Chlorella Water
This recipe is simple yet effective. Instead of using plain water to mix chorella with, use coconut water. It helps boost hydration and could be the perfect pick-me-up after a good workout. Plus, you can use ours, which has ginger infusions and more for extra taste.
What You’ll Need:
- Coconut water or Pure Planet Coconut Water mix
- Chlorella powder
- 1 glass of water
- Simple mix on tbsp of each in water and stir. Viola! Enjoy.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Hangover Smoothie
Okay, no judgement, we’ve all been there. Sometimes when you’re recovering from a night of drinking, you wake up the next morning with a raging headache and new lease on life–no more drinking (at least for a short while). Why not recover with this chocolate-packed smoothie? Don’t worry, there’s chlorella in it, so you don’t have to feel bad.
In fact, some people believe the algae can help “cure” hangovers, but only if you take it before the boozy adventures begin. The results are based off a 1996 medical study in Japan though, so we’d like to see some more current research to help back that up. Either way, it can’t hurt to try.
Thank Happy Veggie Kitchen for the recipe!
For more superfoods blends, check out our website.
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
It seems that new health trends are constantly popping up — it’s way hard to keep track, right?
From intermittent fasting to milk from roaches (yes, that’s actually true), so many people are searching for their health fix that will make them achieve their ultimate goal.
One such trend that has been gaining quite a bit of traction is spirulina. Touted as an excellent source of nutrition, it has been referred to as a super-nutrient. But what exactly is it and does it really possess super-nutrition powers?
Let’s find out!
Normally, the saying goes “unless you live under a rock, you should know…(insert: obvious info).” That’s actually the opposite when it comes to this superfood. Because, if you DID live under a rock, specifically one in the ocean, you might have actually come across this very, hidden plant. Spirulina is blue-green algae.
What? We know, that may be a little off-putting, but bear with us.
This form of bacteria is known as a cyanobacterium, which uses sunlight to produce energy. With amazing properties, it probably offers most people what they’re looking for in a supplement. And yes, of course, it’s safe to consume.
So, why would you want to take it? We’re glad you asked.
First of all, spirulina is protein-packed. And that can do wonders when you are looking to either lose weight or toning up your muscles.
One study showed that high-protein can help burn more fat and speed up metabolism.
But that’s not all that this superfood can provide when you want to get fit.
Spirulina provides a good source of oxidative support, so is ideal for working out and cardio activity. A study explored its effects on people who exercised regularly, but weren’t total pros. They focused on a group of men who moderately exercised.
Here’s what they found:
The time it took for these men to be fatigued after a 2-hour run increased after taking spirulina. For you science-oriented folk, spirulina consumption led to a 10.3% decreased carbohydrate oxidation rate and increased fat oxidation rate by 10.95!
In English? The men were able to exercise for longer, with improved endurance and performance.
And that’s not all!
There is also, at the very least, a connection between spirulina and muscle maintenance. Another study investigated this connection by focusing on average people (not physically trained) who added the superfood to their diet for three weeks. After treatment, their blood was examined and they were monitored while using an incremental treadmill.
What did the researchers find? Spirulina consumption was linked to:
- boosted exhaustion time, even for average exercisers
- muscle damage protection, even during all-out exercise
Sounds pretty cool to us. But if you don’t exercise, can it still be beneficial for you?
Hmm…let’s find out!
Weight Loss, Blood Pressure & Cholesterol
Why, YES. The algae supplement also seems to have the ability to benefit both blood and body weight, even for those who don’t exercise.
In a randomized double-blind study on overweight individuals with hypertension, 40 patients took spirulina daily. Their BMI, weight and other functions were surveyed before and after.
Why did they find? Their BMI improved, along with weight and blood pressure. Score!
Seems like this green source of goodness is pretty nutritious, right? Speaking of greens…
In addition, thanks to the results of this spirulina study, we have learned that the super-nutrient encourages healthy cholesterol in those with type 2 diabetes, by helping lower LDL levels (bad) and promote HDL (good) levels.
Okay, if you’re still unimpressed because NONE of the above applies to you, there is more!
That’s right, we’re talking to all those who fear every spring breeze or beautiful new bloom because they will soon bring on itchy eyes and fits of sneezing. This green source of goodness can be your non-pharmaceutical, organically-grown support when combatting high-pollen air times or your fluffy pet’s fur.
An allergic rhinitis (sinus allergies) study focused on 127 people and found that spirulina consumption could actually help reduce symptoms such as runny nose, congestion and even itching.
Do you STILL not think that spirulina is something you need daily?
Well, keep reading.
Green Clean, Metal-Cleansing Machine
Whether we know it or not, our bodies can sometimes absorb heavy metals. This can happen by unknowingly ingesting pesticides or inhaling or coming into contact with metal-poisonous sources.
But, the good news? Spirulina might be able to help with that. Greens have always been known for cleansing and alkalinity balancing and this green superfood is no different.
One study reports that spirulina, when paired with zinc, can help eliminate arsenic poisoning.
The report studied 41 patients with chronic arsenic poisoning, randomly prescribing them to either a placebo or spirulina-zinc extract for 16 weeks. The patients lived in areas where clean water is scarce, and metal-posioned water is unfortunately plentiful. These individuals were also given metal-cleansing filters to ensure they drank clean water.
But luckily, there’s a happy ending!
By the end of the study, their arsenic-poisoning was reduced, proving that blue-green algae could be of use for treatment.
Last, but certainly not least, this superfood is an antioxidant. This is due to a phytochemical called phycocyanin, which is responsible for its blue-green color and some of its oxidative stress-relieving effects. It can also help fight free radicals and inflammatory signals in the body.
Studies are promising but, of course, more research is necessary.
An Important Note
Because spirulina is algae, it is important to know the product origin, to ensure quality and cleanliness. You should only buy from brands that you trust.
That’s why we ensure our non-GMO, California-grown spirulina is up to par. With our promise of being Pure and True since ’92, you can count on only the purest spirulina, just like all of our other products!
- Spirulina (capsules): In capsule form, this can be added to any health or exercise regimen.
- Choco-Mint Spirulina (powder): For those looking for a little more flavor, our Choco-mint blend gives you all the nutrient support plus a boost of flavor. This is especially good for those with a more picky palette.