We are always talking about the importance of hydration. But we have also written many blogs about why you shouldn’t drink juice, soda or other sugary drinks. Water is the best source of hydration because it’s neutral. It’s also boring. We try to write about as many options as possible. We want our customers to stay hydrated and don’t want it to be a chore!
Some people have referred to coconut water as “the fluid of life.” Whenever a drink or food makes large health claims, we look into it. They are usually too good to be true.
Coconut water is the fluid found in the center of a coconut when it is young. It feeds the coconut as it grows. It’s a good source of electrolytes and has some nutrients. However, it also contains some sugar. Because of its electrolytes, it is sometimes called “nature’s sports drink.” Unlike most sports drinks, it doesn’t have additives and is low in calories without being artificial. An eight-ounce serving has 45 calories, 11 grams of sugar and 25 milligrams of sodium. If you are going to reach for a drink after a workout, it’s not a terrible choice, but you have to be mindful of the sugar. It does not contain any fiber.
Some people drink coconut water to cut sugar from their diet. If you usually reach for soda, juice or another sugary option, coconut water can be a great steppingstone to sugar-free drinks. It contains sugar but nowhere near as much as many juices. If you are using it as a tool to cut back on sugar, be sure to pick an unflavored version that is not from concentrate and has no sugar added. It will still be sweet but much less sugary than the flavored versions.
The thing to be mindful of when drinking coconut water is potassium. An eight-ounce glass of coconut water contains 470 milligrams of potassium. If you have kidney problems, coconut water might not be a suitable choice for you. On the other hand, it flushes chlorine and citrate out of your system, helping prevent the formation of kidney stones in people with healthy kidneys.
The antioxidants in coconut water may help health. In a 2012 study, insulin-resistant rats ate a high-sugar diet. When they drank coconut water, the free radicals in their systems decreased along with blood pressure, triglycerides and insulin levels. In a 2016 study, rats fed a high-fat diet got significantly better cholesterol levels when they had coconut water. As of yet, no studies have looked at how the antioxidants in coconut water impact human health.
There is some animal research that says it may aid heart health. But much more research is needed before claims can be made for human heart health. While the ways it helps a hangover are verifiable, heart health claims aren’t proven.
Overall, our conclusion on coconut water is that it’s a nice drink if you are looking for an option that isn’t water, want some salt and account for the carbs. You need to be aware of the potassium in it. But if you like the taste, you should feel free to enjoy a glass. It’s nice to have variety in your beverages! However, we’re calling all the headlines that call it a wonder drink and nature’s elixir bogus.