Whether you are a yogi, runner, crossfitter, or any other kind of fitness fan or athlete, one thing we all have in common is the need for a really amazing re-hydration drink after an extra sweaty workout session.
When we sweat, we are working off those extra chocolate chip cookies, but we also are losing necessary water and electrolytes needed to keep our body running well. But with so many different sports drinks out there, making the best decision for your body can be kind of difficult.
I personally want something as clean and natural as possible after a workout. Something that will be both good for my body and low in calories. I would rather get my post-workout fuel from a high-protein snack rather than a sugary beverage, and for that I always reach for coconut water. (I actually often drink it during and after a workout.)
What Exactly Is Coconut Water?
Coconut water is the clear liquid that comes from the inside of very young coconuts. While coconut water has only recently made its way onto mainstream supermarket shelves, it has long been a popular drink of choice in Southeast Asia, where it is available fresh and right from coconut trees.
One interesting fact about coconut water is that it has been used as an intravenous hydration fluid where medical saline was unavailable in some less developed countries! Can you believe that? While we luckily don't need to use coconut water for medical purposes here in the US, just think what it can do for you after a workout!
What Are The Benefits Of Drinking Coconut Water?
For starters, coconut water is relatively low in carbs, calories, and sugars, and is 99% fat free. Not to mention it is 100% natural and usually organic. Coconut water helps to keep the body cool and at the right temperature. It also does wonders to raise your metabolism, and can help promote weight loss.
But the aspects of coconut water which I find to be most beneficial are that it is capable of cleansing the digestive tract, balancing your pH levels, and has the potential to reduce the risk of cancer. Coconut water is also a natural isotonic beverage, with the same levels of electrolytic balance as our own blood, making it a seamless way to re-hydrate and re-charge our bodies electrolytes.
Need more reasons to choose coconut water over your typical sugary post workout beverage? I sure hope not!
So what can coconut water do for athletes?
Let's get into the nitty gritty, shall we? When we sweat, we are torching killer calories. But we also rid our body of key electrolytes, nutrients, and good old water. All of these properties are critical in our body's ability to function properly, so it is incredibly important to re-hydrate and replenish immediately after or during a high sweat, high cardio workout.
Because coconut water contains more potassium than most sport drinks, coming in around 117mg, it is an amazing choice for those people doing any intense cardio who need to keep muscle cramps at bay. In comparison, coconut water also has much less sodium, around 25mg, where most sports drinks have 41mg, and most energy drinks have 200mg!
While some sodium is necessary in an athletes diet, North Americans tend to get far too much sodium on average, which can cause dehydration and increased disk for heart related disease.
Don't Like The Taste? Here Are Some Tips!
Now, if you haven’t been convinced by all of that information that coconut water is definitely an amazing addition to add into your diet, I don’t know what will. I do understand however that some people really don’t enjoy the taste of coconut water so here are some tricks I have found to get the benefits of Coconut Water without the somewhat acquired taste.
- Try adding coconut water to your post-workout smoothie instead of using orange or apple juice. It will cut down on the calories of your smoothie and will still provide you with the benefits of coconut water.
- Pour your coconut water over ice or leave in the freezer for a little bit before drinking. When the water is really, really cold it becomes much more tasty.
- Try a flavored coconut water from VitaCoco, which is my favorite brand, to help change-up the flavor a little bit. I personally really enjoy the pineapple coconut mix.
So after your next workout, put down the sugary or artificially flavored sports drink and pop open a coconut water. Your body will thank you, and trust me—after feeling the benefits, you will never go back to your previous drink of choice.