Coconut Water: Nature’s Sports Drink

May 3, 2012

(Photo by Easa Shamih (eEko))

Coconuts are amazing. Which other fruit has so much to offer: delicious meat, fatty milk, almost magical oil, and of course mineral rich water. Coconut water isn’t just a delicious drink. Like the coconut itself, it’s got much more to offer than the obvious.

What is Coconut Water?

Coconut water is the clear liquid inside young green coconuts. As a coconut matures, it loses water and becomes more meaty. You can still drink the water that you find in a mature coconut, but it’ll contain hardly any potassium, iron, and Vitamin C relative to the water from a young coconut. The taste of the coconut water will also vary depending on the age of the coconut.

Why Drink Coconut Water?

“It’s a natural isotonic beverage with the same level of
electrolytic balance as we have in our blood. It’s the fluid
of life, so to speak,” says Mr. Morton Satin, Chief of FAO’s
Agricultural Industries and Post Harvest Management

Coconut water is 95% water. But it also contains the electrolytes sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphate as well as small amounts of many essential amino acids. This makes it nature’s sports drink – an all natural electrolyte replacement. Compared to sports drinks, coconut water does a great job of rehydrating, and should be sufficient for the average active person. Competitive athletes may wish to increase the sodium content, as coconut water has less sodium than a typical sports drink. All those minerals and electrolytes also make coconut water a great hangover cure. In fact, coconut water contains the same 5 electrolytes found in human blood – it gets used intravenously when conventional hydration fluids are unavailable. Coconut water is also said to have a myriad of health benefits including: reducing risk of heart disease, improving digestive disorders, improving thyroid function, and helping with urinary infections and kidney stones.

Buying Coconut Water

Coconut water is also simply a delicious beverage. You can drink it directly from a green coconut, or buy it bottled from your grocery store. You can also add coconut water to your smoothies, or combine it with water in recipes to add flavour. The only real downfall, other than its cost, is that it does contain some sugar. So unless I need to replace electrolytes, I only consume it occasionally as a treat. I still can’t get over how delicious it tastes. I’ve tried a few different brands, and my favourite is Taste Nirvana (especially the one with the coconut “pulp” in it). Flavor-wise, it blows all the other stuff out of the water (pun intended), and it comes in glass bottles. I just wish it was organic. Other than buying an actual green coconut (the ones my Whole Foods sells aren’t organic), the best alternative nutrition-wise seems to be to buy the raw, unpasteurized stuff (for food safety, they use a heat-less high pressure process). The local Whole Foods sells some by Organic Lives – it’s in the freezer section (unfortunately bottled in plastic).

Do you drink coconut water? What’s your favourite?

Shared with Fight Back Fridays,  Monday Mania, and Real Food Wednesdays.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Aaron May 3, 2012 at 4:03 PM

About 11 years ago I was hip to the benefits of coconut water and wanted to use it in my water bottle while running and cycling. The product wasn’t available then unless you went to an Asian market (but those usually have added junk) or cracked your own. Now you can’t go to the market without tripping over coconut water everywhere. I missed the boat on that opportunity!

When it did become available five or six years ago, I used it for my chronic cardio habits, with some sea salt added. I liked it a lot, but I don’t have the need or desire for it now.

You wouldn’t believe how much of that stuff we sell at the store. That Coke and Pepsi both own or have stakes in multiple coconut water companies should tell you something.


[email protected] May 3, 2012 at 7:43 PM

You were ahead of your time, coulda made some big $.. as for Coke and Pepsi, when those two own stakes, the only thing that usually tells me is to run the other way… but I guess they do also sell bottled water.. still a good idea to always check that you’re buying actual coconut water, and not some coconut-water flavored beverage that’s trying to pass for coconut water..


Aaron May 4, 2012 at 7:10 AM

Unfortunately these days the landscape of who owns who (whether we’re talking food and beverage companies or not) mostly boils down to a few big boys.

The first time I recall learning about this process was in the late 90’s when General Mills tried to get into the ‘natural’ cereal line introducing a product called Sunrise (I think it was sunrise). Nobody bought the product with GM on the label so what did they do? They went and bought a small mom and pop operation out of Warshington called Cascadian Farms. At that time all C.F. made was fruit and veggies that were sold frozen. So, GM naturally expanded the line to include cereals and a whole bunch more. Sneaky eh?

I’m not saying it’s wrong that this stuff happens, or that there aren’t some really great small companies still. It’s just hard to compete with big money.

Case in point, as I’m sure you’ve heard, is that Procter and Gamble just bought the supplement company New Chapter. This surprised a lot of people, but business is business.

n March 12, 2013 at 10:29 PM

“You can still drink the water that you find in a mature coconut, but it’ll contain hardly any potassium”

The link in the post shows the opposite..the mature having more potassium..

what gives?


[email protected] May 4, 2012 at 6:03 PM

Yah, I was just reading a few articles about how all the products we buy are owned by a handful of big companies. Pretty sneaky. But as long as the ingredients are clean and they keep them that way, then it’s fine. It’s just that obviously a lot of these companies are driven solely by profit.


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