Coconuts and coconut water in particular, are known for their high concentration levels of electrolytes, vitamins and minerals. It is made using the clear liquid inside green coconuts. However, it can often be confused with coconut milk, which is made from the water and the flesh inside a mature (ripe) coconut. The coconut water is taken from un-ripe coconuts and is the clear liquid.
Coconut water has been consumed by thousands of people for hundreds of years, mainly in the more tropical regions around the world. It is believed that coconut water aids digestions, urination and even semen production and has been used for these health reasons in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for many years. It has also been used to help treat dehydration due to it’s high levels of natural electrolytes.
A Natural sports drink
Due to it’s naturally high levels of electrolytes, it makes for the perfect natural alternative to the more traditional and well-known sports drinks that are full of preservatives and sugars.
Countless studies have shown that coconut water can actually perform just as well, if not better than the traditional sport’s drinks to keep you more hydrated and will help to replenish your fluids after a workout.
However, coconut water has a much lower sodium content, which is the main electrolyte you lose when you sweat, as well as having fewer carbohydrates meant for endurance performance. So, although it’s a great natural alternative, it won’t give you endless amounts of energy for long periods of time, perhaps around 2 hours maximum. Which is why this is a great drink to opt for while you work out in the gym. No one should be working out in the gym for more than 2 hours anyway so this will easily cover your workout time.
While coconut water won’t help you rehydrate your body any more than water will, a study found that people thought it was easier to drink in larger amounts than that of water or ay other drink, without causing nausea or an upset stomach from the excess fluid in your stomach.
Lower in calories
With only 45 calories per serving, coconut water is a great substitute for the higher calorie drinks such as – squash, fruit juices and fizzy drinks, as well as having less sugar and carbohydrates than most other drinks. It also has more minerals and electrolytes like sodium and potassium than any other drink available.
Coconut water has more than 10 times the amount of potassium found in most sports drinks. In fact, one glass of coconut water has as much potassium as that of a large banana and less than half the calories. The potassium in coconut water can even help ward off any unwanted cramps after strenuous exercise.
The potassium in the coconut water will even help to keep the fluid and electrolyte balance in your body, especially during intense exercise as there is more potassium than sodium in the water. The potassium will also help to balance out sodium’s effect on your blood pressure and could possibly even help to lower it.
Calcium and Magnesium
While coconut water does contain more calcium and magnesium than other sports drinks and fruit juices, it actually contains less than 5% of your recommended daily dose of each so do make sure you top both of these up in other ways, whether through vitamins or in the foods you eat.
Calcium is vital for helping your muscles move and contract and work properly. As you exercise, your muscles will pull on your bones and break them down slightly over time, so it’s vital you get enough calcium in your diet, especially if you workout a lot. As your body recovers after exercise, your bones will use this calcium to repair any damage and get stronger.
The magnesium will help to move the calcium and potassium into your muscles to aid in contraction and relaxation. It also helps with the production of energy for your body and supports organ function. An intense workout can leave you lacking in the magnesium it needs which is why you are more prone to cramps, restless muscles, and spasms after a workout.
In addition to all of its other amazing health benefits, coconut water also contains a plethora of antioxidants that will help to neutralise oxidative stress and free radicals created by intense exercise. However, you do want to make sure you purchase the best, freshest and most natural coconut water you can find to get the highest levels of antioxidants. Look for the 100% natural sign on the front of the bottle.
Coconut water contains more essential amino acids than that of cow’s milk. It’s a major source of arginine which is an amino acid that helps your body respond to stress, like the stress caused by working out, and may also help to keep your heart healthy.
Cytokinins and actually the hormones that help plants to grow and thrive and can also be found in natural coconut water. It is believed to have anti-ageing and cancer-fighting properties.
Coconut water can be a great, natural way to help you re-hydrate after a hard workout where you sweat a lot so why not trying swapping your normal, sugar filled sports drink for coconut water for a few sessions and see how it makes you feel. You might find you get a better, and more natural boost of energy and don’t feel quite so lethargic after your workout.
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The Fitness Focus Team
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