- From Zico’s website: “One ZICO has more potassium than a banana – 15 times more than most sports drinks – to prevent cramping. Drink ZICO before or during a workout for the natural energy you need for optimal performance. After a workout, ZICO replenishes and re-hydrates you to speed recovery.”
- From ONE coconut water’s website: “Throughout history, coconut water has been used to prevent and treat dehydration — and it has been shown to be more effective than plain water for hydrating.”
- From Blue Monkey’s website: “It is beneficial for athletes as it provides the essential salts, sugars and vitamins needed for a rigorous workout….Whether drinking coconut water for daily health or consuming after a night on the town, Blue Monkey may help alleviate fatigue. It naturally assists the body in replenishing lost vitamins and minerals.”
Coconut water is different than coconut milk. Coconut water comes from the liquid found inside a coconut, while coconut milk comes from grinding up coconut milk and pressing out the liquid. Coconut milk is much higher in calories and fat, and is often used in cooking and baking.
1 cup of coconut water provides about 45 calories and 10 grams of sugar (depending on the brand), so it’s definitely a better option than sodas and fruit drinks (fruit drinks = not 100% juice). If you hate drinking plain water and don’t like seltzer either, coconut water could be something worth trying. If you're watching your weight, though, remember to account for the additional calories you're consuming through these beverages.
It’s also got a whopping 400 to 500 mg of potassium per cup, which is essential for healthy hearts and muscles. Getting enough potassium each day and reducing your sodium intake, along with an overall healthy diet, can help lower your blood pressure too. That being said, potassium is found in fruits and vegetables which provide other nutritional benefits like fiber and phytochemicals. Coconut water is also a bit expensive, running about $2 or $3 per carton or bottle – versus $2 or $3 for a whole bunch of bananas.
What about athletes?
If you’re an athlete, coconut water generally shouldn’t be used as a replacement for sports drinks/gels during tough workouts. When you exercise longer than an hour, you need to provide your body with carbohydrates and electrolytes to keep functioning properly. Most brands of coconut water provide less carbohydrate than ideal, and not enough sodium. And some independent consumer lab tests have shown some brands contained even less sodium than the labels claimed.
A few small studies have shown coconut water may be appropriate as a rehydration beverage after exercise, but note that it should contain a higher sodium content to be on par with standard sports drinks. Some athletes may like that it is a more natural option, and some athletes experience less nausea and stomach upset when using coconut water as a rehydration beverage compared to other options.
The bottom line:
It's not a miracle beverage, and it's expensive. Plain tap But if you're looking for a natural way to get more fluid and don't like plain water, you may enjoy coconut water. If you're an athlete looking for a natural alternative to sports drinks, keep in mind that coconut water doesn't contain an ideal amount of carbohydrate and sodium.