Pure Coconut Water - A Natural Electrolyte Replacement Sports Drink

Is coconut water the latest sports drink fad? After viewing a story about coconut water on a local news channel, I must admit my interest was piqued. Young people seem to be trending toward coconut water as well as professional endurance athletes.

My primary interest in coconut water is whether or not to recommend it to my husband who is always looking for a more natural alternative to sports drinks which can contain high amounts of sugar and/or caffeine neither being good for a type 2 diabetic.

Although I am not now nor will I ever reach the workout levels my husband regularly engages in, I would still be willing to give it a try, as I often experience dehydration especially if I am well enough to be semi-active.

Coconut Water - Not to be Confused With Coconut Milk

Having never drank a cup of coconut milk or coconut water, the first thing I was surprised to learn was that there is a difference between the two. (My first DUH moment)

From what I now understand coconut water is what comes from a green coconut, whereas milk comes from a fully ripened coconut.

Further if the hype is to be relied upon, many professional athletes are making the change to pure coconut water to replenish their electrolytes while engaged in heavy duty physical activity such as marathon or biking races.

Research on this point is rather sketchy. I assume I will find more well known athletes giving their testimony to coconut water’s benefits as time goes on, however right now I find mostly a generic reference to its use by “professional athletes” without many specific names.

Results of Search for Professional Athletes Using Coconut Water

Bryant Shaw, a professional football player has been cited by ZICO’s operations manager, John Farrell as having benefited from their Coconut Water. You can judge the credibility of his statement for yourself, as I have linked to the statement.

Thus far it is the only professional endorsement I have ran across, of course I have only begun to look, so hopefully will be able to add more to this section as I discover them in my Internet searches.





What Coconut Water Does - Exactly

So what is it about coconut water that makes it so helpful with dehydration and recovering from exhertion?

Here's what I have discovered so far

According to Zico:

ZICO contains the five essential electrolytes your body needs to keep nerves firing, muscles moving and to help manage stress. One ZICO has more potassium than a banana – 15 times more than most sports drinks – to prevent cramping and promote recovery. 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.

As to help benefits in general:

Muscle performance All-natural energy Weight-loss aid Heart health Stress reduction Skin, hair & nail health Alkaline balance Mental acuity Kidney cleansing Natural hang-over cure

According to Vita Coco's FAQ's Section:

What kind of coconuts do you use for Vita Coco?

Only green coconuts! Most people don’t realize there is an enormous difference between green coconuts and the brown coconuts we’re used to seeing at the grocery story, and in most pop culture imagery. Green coconuts have all the nutrition and healthful benefits. We harvest green coconuts in the north of Brazil, in a farm near Fortaleza. The average age of the coconut is about 7 months, the best age to extract sweet coconut water that is fat-free (before the coconut ages, turns brown and the water turns to hardened “meat” – fat city!).

Do you pasteurize this product?

Yes, we use a flash pasteurization process. Our machinery uses a patented method to extract the coconut water then filter and flash pasteurize it at 120° for two seconds before packaging the water in its aseptic Tetra Pak package. (As per FDA guidelines, flash pasteurization is mandatory for bottled beverages.) Only Tetra Pak can stabilize and give the coconut water a shelf life of 12 months, allowing us to keep it 100% natural – no additives, no preservatives, and all the healthful benefits.

Can women who are pregnant drink Vita Coco?

Yes, because it is pasteurized. Many doctors suggest that pregnant women drink coconut water regularly, since it has so many nutritional benefits. Coconut water contains high levels of lauric acid, what the body uses to make monolaurin, a disease-fighting fatty acid derivative. Lauric acid has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties that protect the body against various infections and boost the immune system.

Is there added sugar in Vita Coco?

No, there is no added sugar in any Vita Coco products.

Is your beverage organic and fair trade certified?

No, Vita Coco is not certified organic…yet. However it is 100% natural and we can assure you our beverages include only fresh and natural ingredients, and no additives or preservatives.

Is Vita Coco kosher?

Yes, Vita Coco is kosher and is Star-K certified.

How long after I open the 11.2 ounce (330 ml) Vita Coco does it stay fresh?

No more than 24 hours! We suggest that once you open this size Vita Coco, you should drink it immediately. But if you don’t finish it, put in the fridge for no more than a day.

How long after I open the 17 ounce (500 ml) or 1 liter does it stay fresh?

You’ve got a little longer with Vita Coco’s re-sealable sizes: up to 48 hours.

Does Vita Coco need to be refrigerated when unopened?

No, because of the Tetra Pak process, Vita Coco does not need to be refrigerated prior to opening, however we suggest you drink Vita Coco chilled!

Will Coconut Water Rival Gatorade

I can’t help but wonder if coconut water will rival Gatorade, and so am searching for information in that regard.

I have been noticing buzz about ZICO as a great sports drink source. All natural, no added sugar, no preservatives, sounds like just the ticket for those who regularly work up a sweat and need to remain hydrated.

Of course ZICO has not cornered the market or even invented coconut water. It has been touted for its health benefits for decades and even boosts of being a hang-over cure for those who overindulge in alcohol consumption.

Gatorade is most readily associated with endurance sports, so it will be interesting to see if coconut water becomes the new Gatorade of the up and coming generation.

I was able to find one muscle building forum that contrasted the two. One poster mentioned coconut water has no sodium, which some athletes may need to replenish during a workout. Gatorade has sodium.


Coconut Water Easily Attainable

There doesn’t seem to be any difficulty in obtaining coconut water. I discovered it being offered at a grocery store chain. Seems any place that sells healthy foods will have some type of coconut water.

Brand names like ZICO seem to be advertising heavily at present, but a quick comparison of ingredients and prices will no doubt lead to the best bang for the buck.

I would be happy to include any testimonials in this article, so if you know of a good source at a good price, please let me know in the comments section.

My Recommendation

My search is ongoing and very new, but based on what I have learned so far, I will be recommending coconut water to my husband to try out.

If it ends up affecting his diabetes negatively, I will not hesitate to update here.

If he doesn't like the taste, again I will update that as well.

I'm hoping it is a winner, something he will be able to use regularly, in addition to good old fashioned water!

It would great if I find I like coconut water and find it helpful find helpful with any MS symptoms. If I find it to be the case, I will happily share that info too.

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Comments 42 comments

CocoNUT 4 years ago

Coconut milk is actually both the "water" from mature coconuts AND the juiced meat. As the coconut reaches maturity, the water is used by the plant and the resulting liquid attains a high level of fat and smells and tastes more like you would think a coconut drink would taste/smell like. Fresh young coconut water will often times have very little taste or odor. Mature coconut milk will be very milky in color and have a strong coconut smell due to the high fat content and long exposure to the meat. Commercial versions of the meat are simply retailers creating more milk than that which natually occurs in the ripe coconut. They do this of course by taking what milk is left, adding more water and basically blending and juicing the meat to make a thicker milk. My cousin works for a large international coconut supplier and has been creating the commercial version of the milk since the 70's. He tells me that the purists still only drink the milk provided by the plant, but the 'American Milk' as he calls it, is what everyone else drinks. Cheers!

carol 5 years ago

Once you open the carton of zico, how long can you keep in refrig?

jump program 5 years ago

Wow. We have this coconut drink in our place. Nice to hear this.

waterwizard profile image

waterwizard 5 years ago from New Westminster, BC

Great post! I discovered coconut water several years ago, and have found it to be a fantastic hangover cure! Hahahahah! Its true, athletes and such use it to replenish electrolytes. Alcohol consumption drastically reduces the natural electrolyte supply of your brain tissue, so rehydration with such a rich source makes the day-after-the-night-before so much more easy to tolerate! It works wonders!

The Jump Manual 5 years ago

Coconut Water is considered to be very good for the pregnant ladies. At our place there are plenty of coconuts and we really enjoy the coconut water.

Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 5 years ago from Delaware Author

Hello Karen, thanks so much for the great information. I finally saw a demonstration of what you described and it does look relatively easy. I guess I'm closer to trying the real thing myself. I'm sure I will enjoy it more. :)

Karen 5 years ago

Hello, I came across your page by accident. Very informative. I just wanted to add, if I may, that coconut water can come from more mature coconuts as well as young green ones. In fact, I believe it would be healthier for all health conscious people to obtain their coconut water from the produce section of most any American supermarket (sometime as low at 99 cents each at "Food City" and even Safeway!) and drink the water fresh. I can't help but question if the pasturization used by Vicco and other vendors destroys some of the benefits of the water, which is why I would prefer fresh. They are actually quite easy to crack open with the claw side of a hammer (just hold the coconut with one hand, and tap firmly with hammer around the circumference of the nut - creating a straight crack line. Pry open a small hole through the flesh and let the water out, then pry open the whole coconut to eat the "meat" if you want. But since the coconut is cheaper than a store bought pre-packaged one, you could just drink the water and throw the rest in the compost (wasteful, I know, but still more economical and buying a prepacked one!) or save it in the fridge for later use. The easies way to get the meat out of these halved shells is with a Filipino coconut grater, available at most Asian markets. The other thing I wanted to add is that coconut milk is actually the milk obtained from the white, mature "meat" inside the coconut (the milk must be sqeezed out of the meat - it is not a naturally occurring liquid). Coconut milk is white, milky, creamy and very rich! Thanks again for the great article!

Jacob Hiller 5 years ago

Cocunut water is the liquid inside a coconut. Coconut milks is when the "meat" of the coconut is "juiced" into milk.

Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Hi Lita, it is a pleasure to meet you. Thanks so much for your comment and mail!

Lita C. Malicdem profile image

Lita C. Malicdem 6 years ago from Philippines

I had heard tips from our oldies that coconut water is a good oral alternate for dextrose. Now I know, it's because of its electrolyte content. The most preferred coconuts are those with meat between not too thin and not too hard, or those not too young and not too mature. Great hub! Thanks!

Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Well that sure shows the importance of electrolytes, fooduciary, thanks for sharing your experience, I'm glad you are no longer dehydrated.

fooduciary profile image

fooduciary 6 years ago from Playas del Coco, Costa Rica

I drink at least a gallon of water a day, so I was shocked when my nutritionist tested me and told me I was dehydrated. After talking it through, the conclusion was I wasn't getting enough electrolytes. Well I didn't want to even go near the freakish sports drinks. Coconut water was the solution for me. I started drinking a glass a day and was shocked by the results. I started feeling less thirsty and my water intake decreased (still above average). I went in for a follow up test and found out I was "hydrated to an optimum level." Amazing. Thanks for the great hub.

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Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Thanks for the tips Island Hopper! I have been wondering about coconut milk as well. I have read many positive comments about it.

Island Hopper profile image

Island Hopper 6 years ago from USA

I love coconut water and milk. I think the best coconut water comes from those beige colored Thai coconuts. Those are the best. They're often inexpensive at Asian food stores. I use a manual, hand held hacksaw to open them though.

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Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Thanks for leaving a thoughtful comment, Mark. I appreciate your observations.

Mark Moller 6 years ago

I see this really catching on at Yoga studios and such! It has to be a lot better for you than those sugar filled sports drinks. While all these drinks are great for staying hydrated or getting re-hydrated, drinking quality water is by far the number one tip! Thanks!

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Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Your welcome Dr irum, thanks for reading.

Dr irum profile image

Dr irum 6 years ago

Damn nice information ,its amazing for me as coconut water a natural electrolyte replacement sport drink.Thanks to share with us.

Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Thanks for the recommendation Jennifer. Now if I could only remember to order it. My husband has been anticipating it since I first told him about it. (smile)

Jennifer 6 years ago

I love coconut water, especially Vita Coco. It tastes amazing and is wonderful for you. There's no competition for the best coconut water out there.

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Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Your welcome pinkhawk, glad it is useful to you.

pinkhawk profile image

pinkhawk 6 years ago from Pearl of the Orient

...i'll bookmark this, thank you very much, very informative! ^.^

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Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

We are now anxious to try it since we've read so many good reviews. Now if I could only remember to order it. lol Thanks for the endorsement MFB :-)

MFB III profile image

MFB III 6 years ago from United States

Always did love coconut water, used to call it milk...it tasted so good, especially after working so hard to crack that brown hairy shell in such a way as to not lose a drop. Good to know it know comes bottled.....MFB III

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Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Hi Cathi, I have recently read about coconut cream and was wondering about it. I will ask my husband if he wants to give it a try. He's excited about the coconut water.

Micky we are going to order a case through Amazon, free shipping. Hope you like it too

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Sounds great. I've got to try it. Thanks.

Cathi Sutton profile image

Cathi Sutton 6 years ago

Good Hub! I have a friend who's husband is diabetic, and she uses coconut cream to "fry" his eggs, "butter" his pancakes, and other ways. She says it has helped him alot. But I don't know how that would relate to coconut water as far as the properties involved. I personally use coconut milk in cooking. But I enjoyed this Hub, and now want to find out if this would be a good drink for my kids! Thanks so much!

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Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Your welcome De Greek!

De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

Wonderful stuff, many thanks :-)

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Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Thanks so much for leaving such a helpful comment and link, rmcrayne. I will certainly check out the site and read your review as well. I look forward to your hubs during weeks 2 and 4!

rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas

Jen, You should become acquainted with The Body Ecology website, and The Body Ecology Book, by Donna Gates. It is recommended for people with a variety of health problems, including autism, cancer, and MS. I have a brief review of the book in my hub “Books That Impacted My Journey” and will be writing more in weeks 2 & 4 of the contest. Among other strategies, Donna recommends making kefir from young coconut water. I think it would be great for your husband and you! Here is the kefir link:


Donna uses fresh young coconuts, but I use the boxed. It was sporadic to get it from Whole Foods. If you order 2 cases from Amazon, the shipping is free ($25 and over), and the coconut water is about the same price as the grocer. I've used Vita Coco and Zico.

Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

fishtiger, as soon as I try some I'll let you know if it has a strong coconut flavor.

Tammy, seems like everyone who has tried it likes it. I am sure my husband will enjoy it too, whether straight-up or mixed.

Thank you both for your comments. (-:

Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago

It's a really good drink, my husband likes it. But he likes it with rum too LOL

fishtiger58 profile image

fishtiger58 6 years ago from Momence, Illinois

I wonder how it tastes, as I don't care for coconut. It would be great though to get the kids off all these high sugar sports drinks they love so much. Great article Jen as usual.

Jen's Solitude profile image

Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Yes, I read that Bill. Guess all that's old is new again. Thanks for the comment.

ocbill profile image

ocbill 6 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

It is a very good drink. Most Brazilians drink that when at the beach, plain water or cervejas. Acai, now coconut water. Next it'll be eating black beans.


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Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Thanks Paradise, I spent a large chunk of my afternoon admiring your writing skills and can't wait to get back to your ongoing series.

Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

This is a good hub, Jen. I never would have thought of coconut water as a sports beverage, but it sounds much healthier and much more natural than what you see; especially any drinks that are bright blue.

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Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Well that's good news Sue, thanks so much for letting me know. Now all I have to do is remember to share all this good info with him when he gets home. I hope he is impressed with my discoveries. (smile)

emohealer profile image

emohealer 6 years ago from South Carolina

Great article Dar!!! Spreading the awareness as you find it yourself, awesome! Nothing can beat natural so step aside gatorade, which is something I do not indulge in. Just FYI for your diabetic husband, I hope he likes the taste because it will have no ill effects for him and actually be beneficial for his condition, this from my dad who is a DR. of Chiropractic as well as being diabetic. Looking forward to your personal experience updates!!! =)

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Jen's Solitude 6 years ago from Delaware Author

Hey Bk, I just read a very nice interview between you and Fastfreida! :) Thanks for reading and posting a comment. I'm always amazed at how much I don't know and so glad there are always plenty of new healthy alternatives to learn about.

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BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

This is the best! In the summer I walk a lot and nothing states me better than coconut water. I grab a small container and sip as I walk and stay well-hydrated.

I am so glad 'we the people' are seeking out what is healthy and natural - forget those sports drinks. The coconut has some of the most amazing benefits.

Thanks for putting this all together ever so nicely!

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