I am in no way a nutrition expert, but I do spend a lot of time reading about foods and beverages to improve athletic performance. I have heard many people tout the benefits of coconut water, so I looked into it. This is not medical or performance advice, but here are some points about it worth considering.
Coconut water can help prevent dehydration during training and competition.
With intense training and competition, especially in hot and humid conditions, it’s easy to get dehydrated. Along with some of the better known sports drinks, coconut water can serve as a good source of fluids to keep you at peak performance during long, demanding activities.
It’s a good source of electrolytes.
One of the reasons this drink is thought to help prevent dehydration comes from its supply of electrolytes. When you sweat, you not only lose water but also sodium and potassium. Coconut water provides some of these electrolytes.
It’s easy to digest.
Many beverages promoted as performance boosters contain sugars and other substances that can be hard for the stomach to digest. Many proponents claim coconut water is easy to digest, making it ideal for sports and exercise.
Coconut water has fewer calories than many sports drinks.
One of my concerns with sports drinks is the high number of calories many of them contain. While drinking them as part of 60 or 90 minutes of intense physical activity seems ok, drinking them throughout the day could bring a lot of unnecessary calories. Coconut water has fewer calories than many sports drinks.
It can provide several amino acids.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Coconut water offers a supply of several amino acids that could be beneficial during training and recovery periods.
One word of caution!
Be careful about drinking too much. One of my friends is a family medicine doctor. She had a patient whose routine labs showed a fairly elevated potassium level, which can be dangerous. She found out he was drinking a lot of coconut water to stay hydrated at his job. While some of it can be good for you, the potassium in it can add up if you drink many bottles a day, as he apparently was. If you have any questions, be sure to discuss coconut water with your doctor.
Hydration key in summer heat