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Coconut Water: Nature’s electrolyte replacement drink

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 ZicoVita 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!

Written by

Katherine Pennington is a diet and lifestyle coach, writer, and founder of Be in Balance, which helps women and men lose weight, reduce stress and achieve more balance in their lives. Katherine is also an avid runner and marathoner and also advises athletes on how to fuel for maximum performance and health.

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10 Responses to "Coconut Water: Nature’s electrolyte replacement drink"

  1. Carly Romero says:

    Great post, I’ve been reading up on coconut water for the last hour and it seems fantastic. Previously I’ve always stuck to sports drinks (with aspartame and not sugar) which have worked fine but a natural source seems better to me.

  2. Yes, natural is always better! We fight so hard to keep junk food and soft drinks out of our diet then drink “healthy sports drinks” filled with sugar and high fructose corn syrup! Makes no sense!!!

  3. Tracy says:

    I love coconut water during my long runs! I’ve experimented with 3 different beverages to consume on my long runs (1-plain water, 2-a powdered electrolyte mixed into water, coconut water with pulp).
    •Plain water serves its purpose to hydrate;
    •The powdered drink mix tastes strange;
    •Coconut water hydrates my body, but also tastes yummy and gives me a little more energy to burn off than either plain water or the drink mixture. I love chewing on the soft pulp too.

  4. Kish says:

    What if I don’t care for the taste of coconuts? Any recommended alternatives?

  5. Abaker says:

    I drink it thru a straw. I don’t care for the flavor at all. I drink it only for the health benefits.

  6. Anita says:

    I love the benefits but don’t care for the taste. But I do put it in my daily smoothie/green drink and can’t taste it at all! I run in the mornings and come back and drink this:
    1- banana, 1 1/2 cups berries of some sort, one kind or mixed( I switch it up so it tastes a little different each day)
    1/2 cup orange juice 1/2-1 cup 100 % coconut water, 2 huge handfuls of spinach (organic is best when it comes to spinach) 1/2 cup crushed ice 1/2 cup nonfat Fage or other high protien Greek yogurt and then blend= it’s delicious and has a good amount of protein, electrolytes, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber and it keeps me full for hours. It’s about 400 calories if I remember right.

    • Cynthia says:

      Thanks for the recipe. I also can’t stand the taste of coconut water but I could probably handle it in a smoothie. Will try it today or tomorrow.

  7. Jim says:

    What video???

    • rdesign says:

      Thanks for letting us know the coconut video link was down. I have fixed the link to the video.

  8. Patty says:

    Will the coconut water have the same effect if I dilute it?

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