Maple water is simply sap that is tapped from maple trees. It is not sticky, but instead, it looks and feels just like regular water. It’s packed with nutrients from the tree, such as electrolytes, antioxidants and prebiotics.
Compared to coconut water, it has half the sugar and is more hydrating.
Here are some of the exercise and performance benefits of maple water, according to the available research.
Hydration: Obviously, hydration is a big one. Maple water offers another flavorful way to hydrate, whether you mix it with something or drink it on its own.
Plus, as mentioned in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, unlike regular water, it has electrolytes and antioxidants included naturally! It also seemed to make study participants thirstier after drinking, leading them to drink more liquids and achieve better hydration overall.
Polyphenols and Antioxidants: Maple water also has several polyphenols and antioxidants. These nutrients are great for reducing inflammation and may provide some anti-aging benefits. When we are training intensely and often, our bodies are subject to higher amounts of oxidative stress, which can create inflammation in the body.
Getting antioxidants through the diet can be powerful in counteracting these effects and improving recovery and immunity, too!
A University of Rhode Island study found over 25 phytonutrients in maple water, including electrolytes, prebiotics, polyphenols, organic acids and antioxidants.
Athletic Performance: There have actually been several studies done on maple water in relation to exercise performance.
A study done by Dr. David Bellar, et. al, at University of Louisiana at Lafayette (who is now at the University of North Carolina) found that people were able to consume more oxygen during exercise after consuming maple water compared to a placebo.
VO2 max, or the maximal amount of oxygen one is able to consume during exercise, is a great biomarker of endurance capacity. The more oxygen you breathe in, the more energy (ATP) your lungs and body can produce.
A greater VO2 max may correlate with more energy production, hence, able to exercise for longer and at a higher intensity before “hitting the wall.” So, you can see how this may be beneficial to runners!
May Help GI Discomfort – Oftentimes, as I discuss in this post about runners stomach, sweeteners and additives may be irritating to some. Whether it comes from high concentrations of added sugars, high fructose corn syrup, or even no-calorie sweeteners, these can have adverse effects on many.
Maple water has no added sugars of any kind, and hence, may be digested more easily for people with sensitive stomachs, making for a more efficient and more powerful workout.
Enhanced Well Being and Overall Health – Dr. David Bellar, who led the research study (not yet published) now at UNC, states, “The research has shown that Maple Water has the ability to enhance exercise and also promote health. Not only did we find that it improved physical health, but when people regularly consumed it they reported feeling better about life in general.”
Since there are no added sugars and I find maple water quite tasty, I love sharing it with Camryn. She finds it as a fun new way to hydrate, and she also sees us drinking it after runs and workouts.
I also enjoy the sparkling maple water. All of the flavors are delicious, but I especially love the cucumber lemon and blackberry lemon flavors.
Have you ever tried Maple Water?
Matias, Alexs et al. “Rehydrating efficacy of maple water after exercise-induced dehydration.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition vol. 16,1 5. 11 Feb. 2019, doi:10.1186/s12970-019-0273-z
Tao Yuan, Liya Li, Yan Zhang, Navindra P. Seeram.”Pasteurized and sterilized maple sap as functional beverages: Chemical composition and antioxidant activities.” Journal of Functional Foods, Vol 6, 4 1582-1590. 2013. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jff.2013.06.009.
Sarah Schlichter is a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s in Public Health Nutrition. She specializes in family nutrition, sports nutrition and intuitive eating. She also co-hosts the podcast, Nail Your Nutrition.