Coconut water is the new “it” drink. It’s on billboards, in the hands of celebrities, sold whole to hipsters with a straw, and in practically every grocery store across America. In just a few years, this little blue box has become a staple everywhere from yoga studios to marathon finish lines. Why all the attention? Coconut water provides 15 times the potassium and electrolytes than one sports drink without any of the added sugar.
Benefits of Coconut Water: Hydration is the key to recovery after an intense workout and the key to a healthy body. Electrolytes, namely potassium, chloride and sodium, are essential for hydration and muscle repair. Sports drinks, while hydrating, are loaded with artificial colors, flavors and added sugar. While drinking water can replace lost fluids without the added sugar, it doesn’t restore the essential electrolytes lost through sweating. Coconut water hydrates and restores electrolytes naturally. An 11-ounce container of ZICO coconut water contains 670 mg of potassium, 5 essential electrolytes, 60 mg of sodium, 15 g of carbohydrates, zero fat, zero cholesterol, zero added sugar, and 60 calories. A 12-ounce Original Gatorade contains 80 calories, 21 g of sugar, 160 mg of sodium, 21 g of carbohydrates and 45 mg of potassium.
What is Coconut Water: Coconut water is harvested from young green coconuts, before they’ve had a chance to produce any coconut flesh. It’s packaged when the cloudy water reaches the desired level of potassium and the necessary balance of essential electrolytes. Coconut water is not to be confused with coconut milk. The milk is made by combining shredded coconut meat and water, and is high in fat. Coconut milk is great for soups, sauces and Thai inspired dishes, but I wouldn’t drink it.
Coconut water is ideal after a workout or a late night out, as a mid-afternoon pick me up, as a base for smoothies, and as an overall thirst quencher.