|It’s impossible to get through a supermarket these days without running smack into an enormous display of coconut water. It is being heavily promoted as a healthy and natural alternative to sports drinks. It has turned into a bona fide health craze particularly among athletes.
Coconut water is the clear flavored liquid inside young coconuts. Do not confuse it with the high fat coconut milk which is made from the white flesh of the coconut.
Coconut water hit stores about 5 years ago and the coconut water industry went from zero to $35 million. It sells for $2 – $3 for an 11 fluid oz. tetra pack.
There are many unsubstantiated claims for coconut water. A few of these are that it will slow aging, improve circulation, fight viruses, boost immunity and reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke. WOW! Wouldn’t that be nice…
What we know for sure is that coconut water is low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free and rich in electrolyte potassium. Potassium helps regulate blood pressure. A typical serving of coconut water has 569 mg of potassium and 160 mg of sodium. 14 fl.oz. of Gatorade has 52.2 mg. of potassium and 192.5 mg of sodium.
Bottom line: It is not a magic cure-all. However, it will re-hydrate the body after a moderate workout and for those who just like the taste it is a healthier drink than a soda. At $2 -$3 per serving, plain water might do just as well.
It is not recommended that serious athletes replace their sports drinks with coconut water. Coconut water does not contain the sodium or protein offered in a true ‘recovery’ drink.
Vita-Coco is the largest seller of coconut water in the U.S. To read more about their product or to order go to http://vitacoco.com/.