Coconut Water: Healthy or Hype?

What do an athlete, secretary, pilot, nurse, diabetic, infant, construction worker, and the President of the United States all have in common?

Stumped?

They all need more minerals in their food and water. In fact, every single person in the US is most likely mineral deficient. Did you know that in order to meet the RDA (recommended daily allowance) for vitamins and minerals, you’d have to eat close to 5000 calories of food, every day! The fact of the matter is we just don’t have the nutrient dense soil of our ancestors and need to fortify those minerals any way we can.

One of the best ways to get your daily dose of minerals and trace minerals is from the liquid inside young green coconuts aka Coconut Water.

Yes, coconut water is the hottest trend in health drinks, but did you know that the healing properties of coconut water go way beyond just sports fuel. Doctors have actually used coconut water in IV’s for it’s blood plasma-like similarities and hydrating properties. Because coconut water is rich in electrolytes, it has gained international acclaim as a natural sports drink for oral rehydration.

Benefits of Coconut Water

Not only can coconut water rehydrate, because of the mineral-rich composition, it’s been used for:

  • The treatment of infectious disease that cause dehydration, like cholera, dysentery, and influenza.
  • It’s therapeutic effect on the treatment of bladder infections, kidney stones, and improves sexual vitality.
  • Strengthening the heart, reducing high blood pressure and improving circulation
  • Blood sugar regulation and improving insulin sensitivity
  • It’s anti-aging effect on human cells and tissues
  • A nutrient dense energy source
  • Improving digestion and bowel function
  • Helping relieve symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Supporting thyroid function

Coconut water has made its way from the tropics to local grocery stores, yoga studios, running shops, and continues to spread amongst health-minded individuals like wildfire. What many thought to be fad, has turned into a nutrient-based phenomenon. While the coconut itself has numerous benefits, ranging from food to fat source, it’s the sweet water inside that contains a complex blend of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, carbohydrates, antioxidants, enzymes, health enhancing growth hormones, and other important nutrients.

How to Use for Health and Sport Performance

Best used as a pre and post-workout aid, coconut water has 15 times the amount of potassium as most sports and energy drinks, significantly less sugar, and no high fructose corn syrup – a waistline killer. In addition to potassium, coconut water is a good source of major minerals like calcium and magnesium, and trace elements like zinc, selenium, iodine, sulfur, manganese, boron, molybdenum, and others. These are all derived from volcanic soils and seawater from which the coconut palms are grown.

When we perspire, we lose minerals (electrolytes) in our sweat that need to be replaced. Simply drinking purified or tap water is not good enough because they do not contain the same mineral composition that our body needs to be able to bring water into the cells for hydration. That’s why drinking coconut water during and after a workout is so beneficial for optimal recovery. It seems that mineral composition of coconut water is best for those engaging in short-moderate bouts of higher intensity exercise and may actually have too much potassium for excessive consumption during endurance events. The higher cost of top brands of coconut water may be a turn-off for some, but compared to popular sports drinks, you’ll get much more bang for your buck. (see comparison chart).

One thing the coconut water manufacturers won’t tell you is that you can get similar hydrating and electrolyte benefits by simply adding some unprocessed sea salt to your water at significantly less cost.

And there are several electrolyte powders and capsules on the market that can be used as well. So, if you can afford some coconut water and like the taste, go for it, but if you think it’s gonna break the bank or too trendy for you, then there are alternatives for you. Either way, get them in because we need them.

Drink it straight out of the fresh young coconut, pound a bottle post-workout, or sip a coconut water smoothie as a snack during the day. Any way will be beneficial and help boost those minerals that we can’t get from our foods. Hawaiians call coconut water noelani (no-way lah-nee), which means, “dew from the heavens”, and has a long history of use as both a food and as a medicine. Add some coconut water to your active lifestyle and enjoy improved hydration and health.

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