You’ve heard of maple water and coconut water…but cactus water? Seems strange—or at least intriguing enough to try—since water may be the last thing you think of when you picture a cactus. But since new types of water are all the rage this year (they were named one of the food trends to watch out for in 2019), it makes sense that cactus water would be the next drink to hit the shelves.
Before you swap plain old water for a cactus variety, you may want to hear what a nutritionist has to say about the latest H20 fad.
What is cactus water?
Cactus water is made from the cactus fruit, or rather prickly pear concentrate, and water. So, it’s pretty simple with minimal ingredients. “It’s low in calories (18 calories per cup) and contains 4 grams of carbs, no added sugar, and 159mg of potassium,” says Dana Angelo White, RD, certified athletic trainer and author of Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook.
It’s not super versatile, but it can do a little more than just quench your thirst. “I would use for smoothies, or as a poaching liquid for fish,” says White.
But is cactus water healthy?
It’s not bad for you, but it’s also not a crazy nutritious beverage, either. There’s not a lot of info or research on the nutrition benefits, notes White. “It can certainly help hydrate you, and the potassium content can help with some electrolyte replenishment,” she says. “But it may not be worth the hefty price tag.”
Nutrition content in one box (11.2 oz) of Cali Water, Cactus and Peach Flavor:
- 10 calories
- 0 g fat
- 15 mg sodium
- 6 mg potassium
- 3 g carbohydrates
- 0 g fiber
- 2 g sugar
- 0 g protein
And while it may help you replenish your electrolytes after a workout, cactus water alone can’t supply enough.
If you decide to try cactus water, opt for flavors that don’t have any added sugar, or at least a very small amount (think 4 grams or less).
It’s also technically keto-friendly, as it’s low in carbs and has zero added sugar. “You can make the keto claim since it is very low carb,” says White. “Just keep the portions small as most keto models say no more than 8 to 10 grams per meal.”
Should you drink it?
Sure—it’s safe. But don’t expect too much out of it. “I wouldn’t go out of my way to point patients towards this, but I’d give them the green light to try,” says White.
White suggests two brands, Cali Water, which has flavors in peach, berry, and wild prickly pear; or Truenopal, the original cactus water on the market. Keep your eyes out because there are sure to be more brands to make a splash this year.