Coconut Water

Credit: Waiola Coconut Water

There’s been quite a buzz over the consumption of coconut water and Waiola’s posts seem to have been trending on Instagram (or the people I follow tend to prefer this brand to some others – ZICO and Vita Coco).

Apparently, there’s some reasons why too, according to the people at Waiola : )

Credit: Waiola Coconut Water

But I’ve wondered what’s with all the hype and went to Google it out of curiosity.

It’s said to be:

  1. Fat-free
  2. Cholesterol-free
  3. Low calories
  4. A rich source of electrolytes — sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium (equivalent to a banana), phosphorus
  5. Low acid — lower acidity than sports drinks and juices

It’s said to help with:

  1. Muscle performance
  2. Energy
  3. Weight-loss
  4. Heart health
  5. Stress reduction
  6. Skin, hair & nail health
  7. Mental acuity
  8. Kidney cleansing
  9. Natural hang-over cure

In a (coco)nutshell, if there are real benefits to be reaped from the hydration via a natural source (other than the good ol’ H2O),  I wouldn’t mind giving it a go since:

  1. coconuts are a perennial crop in Asia, which greatly reduces costs
  2. I am assured that my coconut water is 100% free of additives and from a natural source — its husk!
  3. I am nuts about the taste of sweet coconut water – enough to have paid $5 for a coconut (which would’ve cost $3 elsewhere) and drinking out of the intact husk while shopping in a mall downtown.

But, I am a little bit skeptical since all these attributes sound like someone’s sprinkled some coconut-scented fairy dust so here’s a summary of the results yielded during my desktop research:

Nutrition diva’s post seems quite helpful in rounding it off – an extract:

Basically, coconut water is like natural Gatorade. Like Gatorade, it contains water, simple carbohydrates (or, sugar), and electrolytes (or, minerals). Compared to a sports drink made with refined sugars, artificial flavoring, and blue food coloring, I’d say coconut water represents a solid upgrade. However, the benefits of sports drinks—whether natural or artificial—tend to be somewhat oversold.

Most sports drinks are consumed by people who aren’t exercising hard enough to need electrolyte replacement or benefit from additional carbohydrates. They end up consuming more calories than they’re burning.  Here are my general guidelines for sports drinks: If you’re exercising very hard for more than 60 minutes, or in extremely hot conditions, a drink containing sugar and minerals can enhance your performance. Otherwise, plain water works just as well—and saves you some calories.

At the end of the day, coconut water is a reasonably nutritious, natural beverage that appears to have health benefits similar to those available from fruits and vegetables. It doesn’t replace fruits and vegetables, but if you just like the way it tastes (or the amazing testimonials have gotten to you), there’s nothing wrong with including it your diet as well. Just remember to account for the sugar and calories it provides.

Commentary from R29’s article:

Barbara Mendez, RPh, MS, a NYC-based nutritionist and registered pharmacist. “Fresh coconut water has not been pasteurized, therefore it contains enzymes that help to detoxify and repair the body”

(Yay, I’m blessed to have access to fresh coconuts!)

Someone looking to cut calories may want to avoid guzzling gallons of coconut water, too. “Consider the added calories that coconut water provides — generally 46 calories per cup — while water has zero calories,” says Rothschild.

Bottomline? For my regime at the gym, I’d probably be better off drinking plain ol’ water – but, if I want to get a flavoured form of hydration, I could look to coconut water from natural coconuts for a low-sugar replacement of a sports drink — with a lower sodium content, which is also fab for lower water retention in the body. Yay, coconut water!


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