Learn about coconut water and whether it’s good for you.

Coconut water has recently become a popular drink, well-touted for possessing many health benefits. But is it all that the hype says it is?

What Is Coconut Water?

Coconut water is the clear liquid that you'd find in the middle of an unripe coconut. It's not the same as coconut milk or coconut oil, which have different nutritional values.

What Is Good About Coconut Water?

When compared to other sports drinks meant to rehydrate and replace electrolytes, coconut water is lower in calories and has less sodium and more potassium. It has less sugar than most sports drinks or soda.

Note: If you have kidney problems or are on medications, check with your doctor before using coconut water.

Maintaining a proper electrolyte balance in your body is critical for staying healthy. It helps maintain your blood pressure, heart health, and hydration levels. Many people in the US are deficient in potassium and get too much salt. So a drink like coconut water that is low in sodium and high in potassium can help keep a person's electrolytes balanced, especially when it is used as part of an overall healthy diet that's low in sodium.

Is Coconut Water Good for You?

Coconut water does contain sugar, so it's not a good idea to drink it all day long. However, using some to replace other more sugary drinks that you are already drinking might be a good idea. Still, you should check the label to make sure there aren't any added sugars, which some of them have to produce other flavors and tastes.

For athletes, coconut water may help rehydrate the body better than water alone because of its electrolytes. However, if someone is exercising hard, especially in the heat, they need to ingest carbs along with fluids to replenish their electrolytes and give themselves energy. A banana, which is high in potassium, is a great idea.

Also, it's a good idea to eat something nutritious with some carbs before you work out. Peanut butter on a whole wheat bagel is one great idea.

Most people who are not professional athletes can probably rehydrate safely with water alone. Check with your doctor for individual work-out food and hydration recommendations.

A Final Word on Coconut Water

Here are our final thoughts on coconut water:

  • Coconut water shouldn't be used to replace plain water in your daily diet. However, it might be a good alternative to sweetened drinks in moderation.
  • If you exercise moderately, coconut water can be a good way to aid in your rehydration efforts, but if you are a professional athlete, you will need to explore other options.
  • Look for coconut water without added sugar.
  • Choose coconut water that is as lightly processed as possible so it retains more of its nutrients.

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Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem. Do not take any supplements without first consulting with your physician if you are on any prescription or over-the-counter medications.