It’s been spotted in the hands of the hottest celebs, in gym refrigerators next to your favorite sports drink, and even in Dr. Oz’s “Fountain of Youth Shake” recipe as a key ingredient. What is coconut water; and is it safe to dub it the ultimate health and/or sports drink?
Coconut water is the thin, clear liquid that is extracted from the center of a young coconut (the liquid is what ultimately becomes the white solid within the shell). The drink has gained popularity as a result of its health benefits and advertisement as a natural sports beverage. It is extremely hydrating, non-fat, low-calorie, low-carb, low sodium, and loaded with potassium. Coconut water manufacturers sell their products to athletes by marketing the drink’s high electrolyte content, which is necessary for hydration and recovery.
Coconut water is also widely used for its supposed healing abilities. Bruce Fife of the Coconut Research Center states that the coconut water has been reported to relieve kidney stones and bladder infections; and has even been used for treatment of the flu. Coconut water is also claimed to prevent dandruff and improve skin texture and appearance!
Sounds like perfection in a carton, right? While, yes, the drink is beneficial to one’s overall health, consumers (especially athletes) should not just abandon other nourishment options for the sweet coconut drink. Sports Nutritionist Nancy Clark explains to WebMD’s Director of Nutrition, Kathleen M. Zelman, “Coconut water is low in carbohydrates and sodium and rich in potassium, which is not exactly what athletes need when exercising rigorously.” Zelman goes on to claim that “adults don’t exercise strenuously enough to require sports drinks or coconut water,” and plain old water is enough to do the trick!
Coconut water is fine for recreational athletes — but so are plain water or sports drinks. – Kathleen M. Zelman (WebMD)
Regardless, the beverage is used and promoted by many of the hottest celebrities. Recording artist and Barbados beauty, Rihanna, became the face of Vita Coco’s ad campaign in 2012. Mega-star Madonna has also contributed to the drink’s popularity, investing $1.5 million to the same company.
While coconut water may not be the ultimate health beverage that it seems to be, it’s health benefits have captured the attention of health- conscious consumers on a global scale. If your budget allows for it (for one container costs $2-3 on average), it would only prove beneficial to slip in a container or two of coconut water into your daily routine!