We all know about coconut water by now. It’s delicious, hydrating and slightly sweet with a hint of nuttiness. It’s taken America by storm, and just when you thought you found your new life elixir, a new health water appears on the scene that’s vying for its spot. That fierce new competitor is cactus water, a popular drink in South America and Mexico loaded with anti-aging antioxidants and a handful of electrolytes.
Unlike coconut, cactus has a berry undertone. The fruits are juiced and pureed and usually blended with a citrus concentrate. Think watermelon meets kiwi. Early research suggests a link between ingesting cactus flesh and a decrease in inflammation and blood glucose levels. Other studies have found that the fibrous pectin in the plant may lower diabetics’ need for insulin.
It’s also used as a hangover helper in Mexico. The antioxidant found in prickly pear extract — betalains — has been shown to reduce symptoms of nausea and dry mouth. Or, you can use it to create the hangover. The fruity undertones of the water make it an extremely versatile base: Blend your Cosmopolitans with prickly pear cactus and aloe or mix in cactus water with tequila.
These days, the prickly pear juice can be found at most health food stores like Whole Foods. While its claim as a top superfood may just be another fleeting fad, it most definitely is a healthy alternative to sodas and sugar-heavy juices.
Best part? It contains half the sugar and calories of most coconut water brands.
We’re liking the sound of that.
Which do you prefer, cactus or coconut? Let us know in the comments!