Coconut water, the clear, tangy liquid inside young coconuts, has his the U.S. market by storm. It’s been promoted as the sports drink of Mother Nature and has even been claimed to help with weight loss, slow aging and in lowering blood pressure.
However, there has been little research to prove these claims. So what are the facts about this popular and trendy drink?
BETTER THAN A SPORTS DRINK?
When you sweat, you lose water and essential electrolytes, including sodium and potassium. While it is true that coconut water contains these electrolytes, you’d need to drink 10 eight-ounce bottles to reach the recommended daily intake of potassium for adults.
Most of us don’t sweat enough through regular exercise to need anything other than water to rehydrate.
Sports drinks are mainly for elite athletes who spend hours in vigorous training. So even if you sweat more than usual or have been outside, it is recommended that you rehydrate with water and a piece of fruit.
BENEFITS OF A HIGH POTASSIUM DIET
Evidence has shown that an increase in potassium intake can reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension, help prevent muscle cramps and maintain both bone and brain health.
If you’re worried that you’re not getting enough potassium, you’re better off making sure you eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. One eight-ounce bottle of coconut water has the same amount of potassium as a banana.
Other foods high in potassium include whole grains, dark leafy greens, apricots, yogurt, avocados, nuts and seeds. There’s about 1000mg of potassium in a whole avocado and 470mg in a bottle of coconut water.
FACE THE FACTS
Although coconut water has less calories than traditional sports drinks, it still contains about 12 grams of sugar and 60 calories per eight-ounce serving. If you’re using coconut water instead of regular water to rehydrate after a workout, the calories and sugar can add up.
There are cheaper and healthier ways to restore your electrolytes, so opt instead for a big glass of water and a banana.