The Truth About Coconut Water

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The Truth About Coconut WaterIf you haven’t spotted coconut water on grocery store shelves, you probably haven’t been looking hard enough. It is the latest trendy foodstuff, a beverage touted as an all-natural sports drink. The alternative to “Gatorade.” Scientists have had a look, and they have come back with an opinion on its link to our health.

RECOMMENDED: Read This Before Grabbing That Energy Drink

The latest health news was delivered at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting. Anyone who exercises (hopefully most of us) should take note.

This beverage is clear and found inside unripened green coconuts. In tropical areas, it is a popular drink and a source of entrepreneurship with people selling husked coconuts with straws sticking out of them. Now it is has entered the mainstream and you can find it in your supermarket’s fridge.

Many believe it to be a sports or energy drink that is straight from nature. According to researchers, it has significantly higher potassium than leading energy drinks, a mineral that can limit muscle cramps during a workout. Potassium is the key nutrient here, as even those who don’t exercise regularly could benefit. The Westernized diet contains far more salt than potassium, so coconut water (the typical serving of which has more of the mineral than a banana) could even out the equation a little more. And protect people from the consequences of too much sodium: a higher risk of heart disease and other serious problems.

Some quick numbers to mull over:

— Coconut water: (up to) 1,500 mg/liter of potassium, 400 mg/liter of sodium

— Gatorade/”Powerade:” (up to) 300 mg/liter of potassium, 600 mg/liter of sodium

Based on these study numbers, the coconut water is the better choice. There is a “but” here. If you are a person who tends to exercise strenuously and perspire a lot, you still might be better off with a Gatorade or Powerade. That’s because we lose more salt than potassium while sweating and coconut water won’t be able to replace lost salt by itself.

Of course, humans were surviving long before sports drinks and energy drinks came about. A balanced diet and plenty of water can still serve as the basis for your pre- and post-exercise health. This study is useful if you happen to be standing in a corner store, choosing a beverage.