Everywhere you go, people are talking about coconut water. This popular drink is the juice from young coconuts that aren’t mature enough to produce coconut milk, and is being touted as an energy drink and a cure for dehydration and even hangovers.
So what is behind this coconut craze? Slate Magazine proposes that these coconut drinks have come into vogue as a byproduct of the nation’s current fascination with yoga, wellness, and natural foods. Highly processed concoctions that would be at home in a laboratory like soda and sports drinks are becoming increasingly vilified for their artificial flavors and chemical additives. And the LA Times reports that coconut water has up to fifteen times more potassium than the average sports drink.
Coconut Drinks For Hydration
Coconut water is naturally rich in amino acids, sodium, magnesium, potassium, phosphate, and calcium, and combination that suggests recovery potential. The LA Times goes to cite one study about coconut drinks that found coconut water has superior hydration powers to water. In the study, men were asked to exercise for 90 minutes in the heat, then either drank coconut water, a sports drink, or water. The study found that the men who drank the coconut water and the men who drank the sports drink regained more body weight, indicating that those men were a little bit more hydrated then the men who simply drank water. This happened because the sports drink and the coconut drinks both have electrolytes, which help the body replenish water levels.
However, coconut water is very low in protein, carbohydrates, and sodium. This means that while coconut water may be appropriate for an average work out, more intensive training should be followed with a drink that has “true recovery” potential, ie high amounts of sodium, carbs, and protein.
When it comes down to it, coconut water does have health benefits and is useful for rehydration. But be wary of claims that it is the next magical super food. Coconut water is better enjoyed as a refreshing treat.
- “Coconut water: A health drink that’s all it’s cracked up to be?”, LA Times
- “‘Gatorade Is The Antichrist’”, Slate Magazine
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