Move over Coconut Water, there’s a new kid in town!
Like many industries, trends in Health & Wellness move fast. Just as coconut water has become a household name, with everyone from your yoga teacher to your Granny singing its praises, it would seem that it’s about to have some tough competition in the form of Birch Tree Water.
So what exactly is it?
Birch water is the sap that flows through the tree every spring, awakening new growth, and it is said by many to be a health elixir. While people in the Tropics have been drinking coconut water for many years, it would seem that our neighbours in Northern & Eastern Europe have been enjoying birch water. It can be tapped directly from the trees, in much the same way as maple is collected. Tapping does not harm the health of the tree, but the tapping season itself is relatively short. Harvesting only takes place for one month each year, usually March to April, before the first green leaves have appeared. Birch water is highly perishable, lasting only between 2 -5 days. So unless you’re lucky enough to have a tree in your garden, all birch water that you buy will be treated in some way, pasteurisation being the most likely.
Why should I be drinking it?
Birch water has a similar chemical profile to coconut water, think natural energy and rehydration, but it does have some extra benefits. As well as some protein, enzymes and electrolytes, it also has saponins which are thought to be anti-inflammatory and may help lower cholesterol. Birch Water has xylose-derived xylitol, which may strengthen enamel and reduce dental decay. It is a powerful diuretic and has been used historically to treat many disorders including fluid retention, obesity, cellulite, high blood pressure and arthritis to name but a few. It’s beauty-boosting credentials come from vitamin C (antioxidant), zinc (necessary for growth and repair of cells) and copper (thought to be anti-aging).
What else should I know?
Even though I’m not one for counting calories personally, for those of you that are interested, birch tree water has approximately 18 calories per 100ml and 4g of naturally occurring sugars. I bought the one pictured (Sealand Birk Blueberry) in TK Maxx and paid €2.99 for 330ml. I loved the taste. It was akin to a very lightly flavoured spring water. It would have been great to try the natural flavour but alas, they didn’t have it. I’ve read that it has a slight sweetness with some reporting a “woody” or “pine” after taste. Although I’ve known about it for some time, this is the first time I’ve seen it for sale. I would expect this to change as it’s popularity grows. Overall, I feel that birch tree water is a great alternative for those times when you want something more than plain water. Oh! and it gets the kid seal of approval too!