The beverage cooler at your local grocery store tells us a lot about what the average consumer wants these days. We see a lot more functional beverages right next to pop beverages on the shelves.
This shows us that today’s consumers are looking for more ways to quench their thirst with healthier options.
Functional beverages such as energy drinks, probiotic drinks, vitamin-infused waters, and black bottled water accommodate various lifestyles and dietary needs from sports performance, gut health, energy enhancement, and stress-reduction.
In this article, we’ll be looking specifically at functional bottled water and how you can make the most of this beverage to optimize your health.
WHAT ARE FUNCTIONAL BEVERAGES?
Functional drinks fall under the category of liquid food. They usually contain ingredients to support one’s health for a targeted function.
It’s important to point out that not all functional drinks are good for you.
The classification for this beverage category is quite loose. High-sugar energy drinks with synthetic nutrients and additives as stimulants, for example, make it onto this list.
That high-sugar, artificial energy drink might give you a quick mental or physical boost, but it’s not necessarily good for your health.
WHAT’S IN BOTTLED FUNCTIONAL WATER?
Plain old water is up against some tough competition against functional water.
Many health-conscious buyers are reaching for bottled functional water for their hydration because of the added conveniences to enhance their well-being.
Functional water is water that’s enhanced with vitamins, minerals, or herbs to provide you with many of the essential nutrients missing from the modern diet.
It’s a much healthier option than many other functional beverages on the shelves because you’re not adding to your sugar intake.
We’ll go into the common functional water beverages you may find on the market and discuss their potential benefits.
Many people prefer the subtle-sweet taste of alkaline water to plain bottled water. Better yet, there are a lot of benefits to gain from drinking functional alkaline water.
Regular tap water has a neutral pH level of 7. Alkaline water has a pH level anywhere between 8–9. The higher the number, the more basic or alkaline the solution is.
The pH of water can tell a story of the water’s chemical condition, microbial activity, biological functions, and even the nutrient absorption of other chemicals.
While you’ll find many at-home ionizing machines to alter the pH of your tap water, the best source of alkaline water comes from natural springs.
Machine ionizers use an electrochemical process to raise the pH of water. Still, genuine functional alkaline water is more than just the pH.
Naturally-derived alkaline water comes from springs surrounded by rock formations that contribute to the essential minerals.
Functional alkaline spring water is gentle on the digestive system, improves the absorption of nutrients, and may support weight loss goals
Electrolyte water contains electrically charged essential minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium.
We can’t produce these essential minerals in our bodies, so we need to get them from our diet. Essential minerals are vital for controlling our fluid balance and support the function of our brain and muscles.
Electrolyte water is best suited to rehydrate after intense bouts of exercise or if you’re sick.
The minerals in the water help to improve rehydration and help to alleviate muscle cramping. It’s a much better option over high-sugar sports drinks.
You can find some bottled alkaline water (especially alkaline water derived from natural spring sources) that contains electrolyte minerals. But not all electrolyte water is alkaline.
This is why it’s important to check where your alkaline water comes from to make the most from your functional drink.
Infused water is also called detox water, or fruit-flavoured water.
The biggest attraction of infused water is that it makes drinking water more enjoyable. It adds a natural fruit flavour.
While you could easily do this at home by adding a lemon wedge or cucumber slices to your water bottle, bottled infused waters make a convenient option for many people on-the-go.
BLACK BOTTLED WATER
Black bottled water gets its distinct colour from the addition of fulvic acid and humic minerals.
Fulvic acids and humic minerals give the water its interesting colour — but don’t let that put you off.
Black alkaline water still has that subtly crisp, sweet taste people enjoy. Only now, it’s fortified with organic minerals that our bodies not only need to survive but thrive.
The benefits of fulvic minerals and humic substances date back nearly 3000 years when it was initially used in traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda) . Humic substances are found in soil as a byproduct of the breakdown of biological substances. This is what allows the soil to become rich in nutrients to support life.
In Ayurvedic medicine, “shilajit” is a tar-like substance harvested from the Himalayas that contains anywhere from 15–20% fulvic acid.
According to ancient texts, this substance was used to support the immune system. Shilajit was used to heal a variety of ailments when ingested. When applied topically, it behaved as an antiseptic and pain-reliever .
It’s the fulvic minerals that supported all the health benefits. One fulvic molecule contains a wealth of minerals to support life.
Some of the benefits of fulvic minerals include:
- Support the immune system 
- Support cognitive function 
- Relieve attitude sickness 
- Support gut health 
Common Nutrient Deficiencies In Our Modern Diet
It probably comes as no surprise that the modern diet lacks many of the essential nutrients we need to thrive, which is why the health supplement industry continues to grow.
We’re filling up on the accessibility and convenience of empty processed foods.
On top of this, the fruits and veggies we eat aren’t as rich in the nutrients they used to be. This is thanks to over-farming, which has depleted much of the soil’s nutrients.
“Essential” nutrients are called essential because we need to find them in our diet. Still, it’s becoming more and more difficult for us to obtain in the modern diet.
We need calcium to maintain our bones’ health and as a messenger for our nerve cells to relay information between the brain and muscles.
If the body is deprived of calcium for too long, it begins to take the calcium from our bones, losing bone mass and making us susceptible to fractures and bone diseases, such as osteoporosis.
Magnesium is involved in many vital processes, including muscle and nerve function, balancing sugar levels, and protein production.
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency may look like fatigue, extreme weakness, and changes in appetite. In more extreme cases, it can lead to muscle cramps, seizures, and abnormal heart rhythm.
DO FUNCTIONAL WATERS REALLY WORK?
Regular tap water may be a good enough option for most people. However, many people are looking to get more out of their hydration, where functional waters step in to support health goals.
One of the easiest ways to include calcium and magnesium in your diet is by drinking naturally-sourced alkaline water. The calcium in your functional water comes from limestone, marble, or fluorite from the mountain and porous rock formations.
Not all functional waters will provide the same benefits to your wellness, so it’s important to factor in the water source and the minerals it contains.
For example, distilled ionized alkaline water isn’t going to give you the same benefits as natural spring alkaline water because it’s missing essential nutrients.
Among the four types of functional waters we’ve described, black functional water will give you the most health benefits in a convenient ready-to-drink bottle.
Trace Beverages offers black functional water made from naturally alkaline water from the Canadian Rocky Mountains to support a wide range of lifestyles.
If you’re looking for a healthy drink that supports gut health, cognitive performance, immune function and optimizes your hydration Trace Revitalizing Hydration is the way to go.
TIPS TO MAKING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR FUNCTIONAL WATER
Tip #1: Avoid Caffeine & Alcohol
Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, which means it increases the amount of water and salt removed from the body through urine, making you dehydrate much faster.
Tip #2: Choose The Drink That Suits Your Lifestyle
For days where you’ll need to be more efficient with your hydration (strenuous work out days, sweltering days, or bouts of diarrhea), you should consider a drink with electrolyte minerals to help retain water and refill lost essential minerals.
Tip #3: Keep Your Water On-Hand
Make drinking functional water part of your daily routine by stocking up and keeping it on hand when you need it.
Tip #4: Set Reminders To Drink Water
If you’re someone who struggles to drink water, setting reminders on your phone will help you keep hydrated.
THE TAKEAWAY: HOW TO GET THE MOST FROM YOUR WATER
Functional water is an umbrella term for beverages in the water market that include additional ingredients to support one’s health.
“Functional” is a loose term. One of the first things you can do to make the most from your functional water is choosing one that meets your wellness needs.
Not all functional waters are made the same. The water source (reverse osmosis vs. natural spring water) and the additional ingredients will impact how well your water will perform at hydrating you and delivering essential minerals and vitamins.
To stay on top of your hydration, we recommend setting timers as reminders to rehydrate, keeping your water on hand, and avoiding substances that can dehydrate you.
If you found this article helpful and are looking to learn more about the benefits of alkaline water and other functional beverages, check out our blog for more resources.
Stay hydrated out there and feel free to contact TRACE with any questions!
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- Rubab I, Routray I, Mahmood A, Bashir S, Shinkafi TS, Khan F, Ali S. Mineral pitch stimulates humoral, cellular and innate immune responses in mice. Pharm Biol. 2013 Aug;51(8):997-1007. DOI: 10.3109/13880209.2013.774027. Epub 2013 Jun 10. PMID: 23750745.
- Carrasco-Gallardo, C., Guzmán, L., & Maccioni, R. B. (2012). Shilajit: a natural phytocomplex with potential procognitive activity. International Journal of Alzheimer’s disease, 2012, 674142. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/674142
- Meena, H., Pandey, H. K., Arya, M. C., & Ahmed, Z. (2010). Shilajit: A panacea for high-altitude problems. International Journal of Ayurveda research, 1(1), 37–40. https://doi.org/10.4103/0974-7788.59942