Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Coconut Water Friend or Foe?

A few moths ago a fried of mine asked me if I drink coconut water.  I was shocked and confused by her question.  I admitted that I did not.  She told me it was very healthy and all stores now sell it in the health food section.
Recently I was reading on a health blog and again they were talking of coconut water.  They said coconut water is full of "potassium and electrolytes."  That right there flew up a red flag for me.  Potassium is an electrolyte!  This blog obviously was not as high up on the nutrition know how as I thought.

This reaffirmed my previous thinking that coconut water may indeed be a health fad.  But before I was to take stance on the matter I asked myself: What do I know about coconut water?

I lived in the country, right on the shore of Oahu for 4 years.  The locals, to tease tourist, would break open a coconut and let them drink the water.  Many times the tourists would spit it right out.  Its a different taste in its fresh and pure form.  After the laughs were over they would then tell of its "natural powers," i.e. laxative, horrifying them that their evening would not consist of dancing on the beach but sitting on the porcelain thrown.

But indeed that is more what I've been told and seen, than what I know.  Many people confuse the two and that's how fads get started or how people can say potassium and electrolytes.

What do we know:
  • The coconut water is indeed packed with electrolytes so its great to replenish depleted stores. But lacks appropriate amounts protein and carbohydrates needed for recovery after vigorous exercise (meaning an hour or more).
  • It's fairly high in natural sugars which is hard for many people to digest. 
  • Natural diuretic (so sensitive to sugars or not you will be "releasing" more.)
  • We know that packaged coconut water has added sodium in it.-watch out.
  • We know that Nothing is as good for you packaged and processed over fresh. -lots of nutrients are destroyed and lots of bad added in to preserve.
  • Some comes in Flavors which adds processed sugar.- not good.
So those are the facts.  My thinking is moderation in all things.  I'm not going to hype over it, nor am I going to never use it.  I'll stick to only fresh, and in small amounts as needed.  Such times when your low in electolytes like pregnacy and summer workout sessions.

What are your thoughts, and experiences with coconut water?


  1. Last year a patient asked me about Coconut water. Since it's in the "health food" isle it must be healthy...right?
    It's a fad. I'll stick to regular ole water thank you!

  2. I agree. Everyone wants a quick fix and a cure all. The are no doubt good things in coconut water like with all fruits and veggies but probably not enough to make it a wonder food nor ever something to replace water.
    -Thanks for your comment!

  3. I've been wondering about this. I've heard all the talk and was going to buy some but it was kinda expensive. Reading this I now won't even bother with it.-thanks

  4. Jamie. I LOVE coconut water! Straight from the coconut, it's delicious, and has never made me had to sit it out on the throne (haha). I've been drinking a lot of it the last few months, not because I think it's a cure all or anything, only because I think it's delicious. Although I did read a book about coconut water, and I think it does have some good qualities. Interesting fact- did you know that it is an ingredient in some kinds of fluids that hospitals use as I'V solutions? Kind of cool! Anyways, it IS a fad, but I don't think it's a particularly bad one :). Also, if you buy it from a can its much better than the cardboard boxes. In my opinion :). Wellll....it's the best straight from the coconut!

  5. IV-seriously?! Very intriguing. I may have to put it to the test.

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