It always amazes me that athletes will scrutinize their diets with a fine tooth comb and then use processed sports products packed with fructose and even high fructose corn syrup to boost their performance during – and replenish after – strenuous workouts! When we use sugar and other carbohydrates to temporarily boost our performance, we may see immediate effects, but in the long term this creates a roller coaster ride that is not good for our bodies. So, what do I recommend and personally use to replenish electrolytes after a tough workout? Coconut water!
Like the sports drinks on the market, coconut water contains all five essential electrolytes, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, and calcium and is an ideal drink to replenish the body’s fluids after a strenuous workout! An 11 oz. serving contains more potassium than a banana and 15 times the potassium in an average sports drink (and none of the sugar!) Coconut water is also fat-free, cholesterol-free and has only 45-60 calories per 11 oz. serving. Believe it or not, since coconut water is sterile and has an ideal PH balance, it has even been used in emergency blood transfusions!!! If it is good enough to put in someone’s blood, then it is good enough for me to drink!
That’s not all coconut water does! Coconut water also helps:
- boost immunity
- regulate digestion
- promote smoother skin
- promote healthier hair and nails
- boost circulation by carrying oxygen and nutrients to cells
- promote heart health
- enhance mental acuity
- regulate PH balance in the body
If one just focuses on short-term performance and does not put health first, then in the end one’s body will suffer. Coconut water, in my opinion, is the answer!
Where can I get coconut water?
The commercial brands that are my personal favorites are Zico, Vita Coco and One coconut waters. All of these come prepackaged in individual containers and can also be purchased in larger containers to keep at home. These coconut waters can be found almost anywhere- Whole Foods, your local grocery, and, I was even in our local deli here in New York where “healthy” consists of a sugar-laden muffin and they had them there!
While the pre-packaged coconut waters are, of course, health promoting and replenishing, there is nothing better than the fresh, real thing! The next time you are in Whole Foods or one of your local health food stores and see the young Thai coconuts, pick up a few and bring them home to have fresh coconut water to drink after your workouts and delicious coconut puddings to have as a decadent afternoon snack or for dessert!
How to open Coconuts
At first glance, coconuts may look intimidating to open, but they are quite easy to open if done properly. Basically, you cut off the top of the “cap” with a sharp knife and stick the knife in the top and just pluck it off. Watch this video before you get started.
Once you have opened your coconut, pour the water through a strainer. Coconut water can be kept fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and can be even be frozen for later use.
How do I use coconut water in my daily routine?
Coconut water can be used just like a sports drink. Place coconut water in your water bottle to bring on your long runs (on hot summer days throw an ice cube or two in.) Or, drink coconut water post-workout to replenish lost electrolytes and rehydrate. I even use coconut water in my morning smoothies. Enjoy!