The Coconut water craze is still going strong. Any why not? It tastes refreshing, is naturally sweet without added sugar and it’s low in calories. It is especially popular among athletes who use it for hydrating before and after serious workouts. Some people even call it “nature’s sports drink.” But is this drink really all it’s cracked up to be? Let’s take a look.
What is Coconut Water?
First, it should not be confused with coconut milk or coconut cream, both of which are made from the grated meat of brown coconuts. It is the clear liquid found inside green or unripe coconuts. In its natural state, coconut water has about 60 calories per eight-ounce serving. Each ounce contains 61 milligrams of potassium, 1.3 grams of sugar and 5.45 milligrams sodium. When compared to most sports drinks, coconut water provides much more of the good stuff, like potassium, and much less of the bad stuff, like sugar and sodium.
But the key words here are “natural state.” Due to its popularity, there are many coconut water drinks on the market that are anything but natural. Be sure to read labels if you’re trying to avoid sugary drinks filled with chemical additives. Putting the words “coconut water” on the label doesn’t automatically make a drink healthy.
Is Coconut Water a Super Hydrator?
A study published by the American College of Sports and Medicine shows that it replenished the body as well or better than plain water or the average sports drink. It’s also been shown to cause fewer problems with fullness or nausea when consumed in large amounts which are good news for those who lose a lot of body fluids while working out.
What coconut water can’t do is provide the sodium or carbohydrates needed for recovery from intense exercise. So if you’re a professional or endurance athlete don’t rely on it to give your body all it needs to prepare or recover from extended periods of exercise. But for the average person, coconut water is an excellent, natural alternative to those artificially colored and flavored sports drinks.
Coconut water is an excellent addition to your healthy diet. Enjoy its benefits for hydration and incorporate it into your everyday food plan by mixing it into other drinks or even cooking with it. But it is not a substitute for regular water. Those calories can add up quickly if you’re chugging glass after glass full.