Research suggests that coconut water has everything your average sports drink has and more. For the last decade we have watched star athletes emerge from their respective sports and very quickly appear on television throwing back a Gatorade after a sweaty and exhausting workout. You may have noticed Usain Bolt during the London Olympics appearing in commercials for the most dominant sports drink of the century. However we are yet to see a professional athlete appear in a marketing campaign sipping on coconut water!
Many people are still unaware of the benefits of coconut water versus your average Gatorade or Powerade. Firstly, you need to be aware that not all coconut water is the same. Typically coconut water comes from young and often green coconuts, not the hairy brown mature ones. When selecting your brand, try to purchase products that are all natural, no additives and certified organic. A helpful hint is to check the ingredients list for any added surprises.
As you may have noticed, the first benefit of coconut water is obvious and significant; it is a natural product! No processing, added sugars or colours are needed to produce it. This alone is an important reason to consider switching teams if you are a regular sports drink consumer.
The second benefit lies in the potassium content of coconut water. Modern diets are typically high in sodium and low in potassium, a mineral that is important for general health and also helps prevent cramping during exercise. In fact, coconut water has five times more potassium than an average sports drink.
While there are many easily identified benefits for coconut water, the debate is still alive when it comes to the two alternatives. Some still argue that higher intensity exercise such as marathon runners require higher sodium and sugar content in which Gatorade has the advantage. Other research has shown that test subjects showed no difference in performance or post workout hydration during high intensity exercise when comparing the two drinks.
Regardless of which side of the debate you fall on, there is no arguing that coconut water is a fantastic natural option to consume for moderate to high intensity workouts. A very small percentage of the population are endurance athletes and require the elevated sugar and sodium levels. For your average Joe, coconut water is definitely the healthier and recommended alternative!