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Health Benefits of Coconut Water for Athletes

Updated on July 7, 2012
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Kim is a board-certified Holistic Health Coach, Healthy Living and Cleanse Consultant, and studied under Drs. Andrew Weil and Walter Willet.

Coconut Water Benefits

You have just finished running your last mile on the trail. Sweat dripping, mouth dry, you’re exhausted but you feel good about your work out. Your heart and muscles thank you for working out so hard. At the same time, your entire body is begging you to replenish the lost fluids. You’ve lost electrolytes and minerals through your sweat. Instead of reaching for any sports drink, you should consider drinking coconut water.

Coconut water is becoming increasingly more popular at health food stores like Whole Foods, and showing up in athlete’s gym bags. Why is it so popular and what’s the big deal? Why should you drink coconut juice over sports drinks? Are there any other benefits to drinking it?

Benefits of coconut water for runners
Benefits of coconut water for runners | Source

Coconut Water Health Benefits

Each time you sweat, your body loses important electrolytes. Drinking coconut juice will replenish this loss with 600 mg of potassium and 252 mg of sodium. Electrolytes are important for cells to interact with each other via voltages and impulses. So do yourself a favor and rehydrate your body with a natural sports recovery drink.

I’m the type of runner who doesn't drink as much water as I should be. I know the importance of refueling my body with proper amounts of liquid to keep it running smoothly. However, water itself can get boring sometimes. I need more flavor, more ‘oopmth’ without the added sugar. Ever since I discovered coconut juice years ago, I've been hooked on it.

Coconut juice has natural sugar so it tastes really great. It has been a Southeast Asian staple for centuries. Coconut water, also known as coconut juice, is the clear water that is extracted from young coconuts.

There have been a few skeptics, even nutritionists who detest about this drink. I've read from a random source that you’re better off eating salted pretzels after a workout if you want to replace sodium. Really? Are you kidding me? Let’s go over the real benefits of drinking coconut juice after a workout.


Other Health Benefits of Coconut Water

Many studies have shown that coconut water has antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may help minor to severe health conditions.

  • Regulate blood pressure and cholesterol level
  • Helps reduce wrinkles and spots on skin- coconut water has cytokines and lauric acid.
  • Alleviate digestive problems
  • Weight loss- isotonic beverage helps increase metabolism

Coconut Water Nutrition

This all-natural, hydrating beverage has been enjoyed for thousands of years throughout the tropical countries. In the United States it is now known as “nature’s sports drink."

  1. It has an impressive amount of electrolytes including: Potassium (600mg), Sodium (252 mg), Chloride, Magnesium (60mg), Calcium(57.2mg), Phosphorus (48 mg), Bicarbonate, and Sulfate
  2. Coconut water also contains vitamins! Vitamins are essential in aiding muscle recovery. You can find vitamin C, vitamin B9 (Folate), vitamin B1 (Thiamine), and vitamin B2 (Riboflavin). Vitamins are important in promoting energy metabolism.
  3. Fat-free, low-calories, and natural sugar. Compared to other recovery drinks, coconut water won’t throw you off with your calorie count or overload you with extra sugar. It is all natural, so you can benefit from drinking it.
  4. Gives you natural energy. By natural, I am talking about all of the vitamins and nutrients that give you a boost of energy, keep you hydrated, and replenishes your lost electrolytes.

As a long time athlete, I know that all of these factors are crucial in promoting weight loss by keeping your body hydrated and helping with muscle recovery.

The best coconut water in the market!
The best coconut water in the market! | Source

Where Can I Buy The Best Coconut Water?

There is a downside to drinking coconut juice. The drink is more expensive than regular sports drinks. A 11 oz bottle of Tetra can cost about $2 to $3 at Whole Foods, while a 24 oz of Amy and Brian can cost up to $2.50 a can. If you compare it ounce per ounce to Gatorade, it can make a bit of a difference in your wallet.

Don’t worry; there are a few methods you can apply to save some money on coconut juice. You can buy them in bulk cases of 12 on Amazon for a discounted price. You can save even more money by doing a subscription and get another 15% off, plus free shipping. The last case I bought was for $22, which comes out to be $1.83 or about $10 per case. That’s not bad at all! Coconut juice is a staple in my pantry. It’s a must for me. It’s a must for any athlete.

Once in a while I buy cases of fresh young coconuts at the nearest Asian store. I am lucky to live in an Asian-predominant area where there’s a supermarket at every five blocks. These coconuts are shipped from Thailand. Yesterday I bought a case for $10.99 for 9 coconuts. That comes out to be less than a dollar for each coconut!

When it comes to saving money, I’ve learned to prioritize on what I spend on. I would rather invest in my long term health than overspending on a designer jacket. It makes more sense to me to spend a bit extra on food and drinks that will save me money later on health care.

About the author

Turtlewoman has always educated herself on proper consumption of energy foods that help her body keep up with her athletic interests.

Read more about the energy foods that she eats to give her endurance during her runs. If you want to know more about her weird obsession with running in mud, check out this article.

Between the different brands marketed out there, so far I’ve come to the conclusion that Amy and Brian tastes the best, in terms of sweetness and closely matching to the real coconut juice that you get from a young fresh coconut. Some of the other brands are good too, but I prefer the taste of Amy and Brian. My fiancé seems to agree since he always takes my cans. My brother, on the other hand prefers the Zico brand.

If you are serious about looking for a sports recovery drink that does not have extra added sugar and other weird ingredients, try drinking coconut water. Buy the cans or if you're strong enough, crack a fresh young coconut open! I promise you will feel the immediate difference.

I tell you, there is nothing like the taste of fresh coconut water that has been extracted straight from the coconut itself. It’s refreshing, high quality, and taste like it’s filled with nutrients.

Disclaimer: Amy and Brian does not pay me for promoting their coconut water. I am simply sharing with you my personal preference to canned coconut water.

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Copyright © 2012 Turtlewoman (Kim Lam)


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      maria corazon llanderal 4 years ago

      thanks for this great article. I live in the Philippines and I know that we are blessed to have this great drink in abundance here. That's why I keep telling my running friends to drink this natural drink instead of buying those expensive sports drinks