A Dietitian Weighs in on Types of Water to Hit Your Hydration Goals

by | Updated: August 15th, 2022 | Read time: 7 minutes

Staying hydrated is an important aspect of overall health, and not just in hot weather. It keeps every system in the body functioning properly. Harvard Health recommends four to six cups of fluid daily for the average person. For people spending time in hot weather, taking part in strenuous activity, or for pregnant or lactating women, this amount increases. Water is considered the healthiest source of hydration, but there are a number of alternatives to supplement your water intake that will help you meet your daily recommended dose.

A Woman Drinks a Glass of Water in Her Kitchen, Representing Different Types of Water.

Types of Water to Quench Thirst & Stay Hydrated

Coconut water

Coconut water is the slightly sweet translucent liquid from the center of a green coconut. Unlike most juices, it’s naturally low in sugar and calories. Coconut water contains potassium and sodium, key electrolytes for our bodies. The sweet, nutty flavor may be a preferred taste over that of plain water. This type of water is often marketed for rehydration during exercise due to its electrolyte content.

It’s important to remember that electrolyte replenishment is typically recommended after exercising for more than one hour. Electrolyte replenishment, especially from a fluid source, is not needed after all physical activity. When shopping for coconut water, check the label. Look for options that are 100% coconut water without any added sugar.

C2O Pure Coconut Water
Taste Nirvana Real Coconut Water
Edward & Sons Nature Factor Organic Coconut Water

Cactus water

Cactus water is most commonly sourced from the fruit of the prickly pear cactus. It naturally contains a small amount of sugar and the natural electrolytes magnesium and potassium. Cactus water may also contain antioxidants, which may play a role in decreasing inflammation and supporting immune health. Antioxidants are most notably beneficial in food sources like berries, but more research is needed to support health claims made for cactus water. When shopping for cactus water, check the label for any sources of added sugar.

True Nopal Cactus Water
Only Natural Nopal Cactus Juice
BareOrganics Nopal Cactus Powder

Alkaline water

Alkaline water is a form of bottled water that has additives to increase the pH higher than that of regular water. The claim for alkaline water is to assist with neutralizing the blood stream. It is important to remember that the body has checks and balances in place to maintain proper pH. Alkaline water is a safe source of hydration for most, if it is your preferred type of water, but it not needed to keep your pH levels in balance.

New Wave Enviro Alkaline Pitcher Filter
AlkaZone Alkaline Drops With Antioxidant

Sparkling water

Sparkling water is a growing trend, and rightfully so! Sparkling water is a source for rehydration with a pop of flavor and fizz. It can be a great way to fill that desire for carbonation with out the extra dyes and sugars that are often found in other carbonated beverages. When selecting sparkling waters, be on the lookout for added sugar. If you prefer a diet low in artificial sweeteners, select sparkling waters that are flavored naturally.

Spindrift Sparkling Water Made With Real Squeezed Fruit Lemon
Alani Nu Sparkling Water Orange

Sports drinks

There are a multitude of sports drinks on the market today. Sports drinks are for rehydration after longer bouts of physical activity. After about one hour of vigorous activity, our bodies lose electrolytes through sweat, and it uses glycogen stores (stored sugar) to fuel the workout. Sports drinks can be an option to replenish these stores, especially if physical activity continues for an extended period.

It’s important to remember that sports drinks are not the only source of electrolytes and sugar in the diet. You can also replenish these stores through food too. A balanced meal consisting of carbohydrate and protein sources can do just the trick.

Liquid IV Hydration Multiplier Passion Fruit Electrolyte Drink Mix Packets
Cure Hydration Balancing Electrolyte Mix Wild Thing Berry Pomegranate


Although juice is not necessarily a type of water, it is a very popular source of hydration, especially in the summer months. Juice can provide nutrients that aren’t found in plain water and is considered a serving of fruit. A few points to remember; juice is a processed form of fruits and vegetables, and this processing removes the fiber from the original plant. Fiber helps to keep us fuller for longer as well as helps prevent spikes in blood sugar. If you are looking to enjoy juice as a source of hydration, it is recommended to stick to a serving size of less than 8 ounces per day and select options that are 100% juice.

Lakewood Organic Pure Juice Fresh Pressed Pomegranate
Martinelli's Gold Medal 100% Pure Cider
Bragg Organic Lime Citrus Refresher


It may seem simple but, in this case, simple is a great option. Plain water is an excellent option to keep you hydrated throughout the day, no added ingredients needed.

With so many different types of drinks on the market today, there are plentiful sources for all your hydration needs. Try several different options and find which one works best for you!

EcoVessel Boulder TriMax Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle
New Wave Enviro Safe Sporter
HD Designs Outdoors Gallon-A-Day Jug