"We are born to be fit, strong, and healthy." Robb Wolf

July 20, 2011

Coconut Water

Coconut water happens to be one of the healthiest drinks around. This drink has been very popular in tropical nations and has been consumed for centuries. Its consumption is slowly, but surely, increasing in the Western world.

Coconut is a wonderful food because it contains so many vitamins and essential minerals. It’s naturally sweet making it very palatable.

There are 5 electrolytes present in coconut water. They are potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, and calcium. These electrolytes are extremely important for the every day function of our cells. It also contains iron, copper, zinc, proteins, and vitamins C and B (1, 2, 3, 6, 9). Coconut water may contain preservatives so purchase the water without. It does not have any fat or added sugars. The unfortunate part is that most coconut water purchased in Canada and the US is pasteurized. Why??? Why must everything be pasteurized??? *a rhetorical question because I’m against it*

Coconut water contains a considerable amount of potassium, approximately 295mg per 12-ounce serving. This is considerably greater than your usual sport drink that contains, at most, 115mg. As well, the usual sport drinks contain sugar, and a lot of it.

The sugar content of coconut water is fairly low. The amount is usually around 5mg of natural sugar. Whereas the sports drinks contain anywhere from 10 – 25mg of refined sugar. *And we all know what refined sugar does*

Weight Loss – Fat Loss
Since coconut water contains fiber, the sugars in the water are absorbed more slowly. This prevents the spike in blood sugar normally seen with refined sugars.

Coconut water keeps us hydrated because it is… water. And its high electrolyte content, very similar to human plasma, distributes the fluid where it is needed providing homeostasis (balance). A well-hydrated body keeps the metabolism high. And a high metabolism helps burn more calories.

It has been found that coconut water improves thyroid function. People with thyroid disorders/dysfunction have problems burning fat.

Some of its other benefits include:
  • Boost immune system
  • Fight viruses, bacteria, fungi
  • Improve poor circulation
  • Aids digestion – contain many naturally occurring bioactive enzymes
  • Maintain a normal body temperature
  • Help transport nutrients and oxygen to cells
  • Help break up kidney stones
  • Reduce urinary problems
  • Decrease swelling to hands and feet
  • Good for burns
  • Good for hangovers

Coconut Water And Athletic Performance

Training on a regular basis is taxing on the body and water is lost through sweating, urination, and respiration. If an athlete only drinks water during or after an event, the remaining electrolytes in the body become diluted. This can seriously compromise health, particularly during the hot and humid days. Since coconut water is so concentrated with electrolytes, this makes it the best drink possible to help athletic performance. It helps with the rehydration and recovery process. The 2 main electrolytes responsible for athletic performance are potassium and sodium.

Potassium is the electrolyte responsible for rehydrating the body. In a serving of 12 ounces, there is more potassium than in a medium-sized banana and more than 15 times that found in your typical sport drinks (minus all the sugars).

Sodium is important in that it helps keep the body hydrated. The sodium draws water back into the blood stream in order to stave of dehydration.

This is so important because it will allow your body to be able to give that little extra push in order to excel in the workout/event.

There is no real “best time” to drink coconut water. Most people notice the benefits consuming it after an event. Some have noticed that consuming a little before and the rest after the event seems to work best for them. Play around with it a bit and find what works best for you.