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Why Coconut Water Could Replace Your Sports Drink

By GMB Doctor Sandy Krafchik

Coconut water has become a popular beverage choice recently and is often marketed as “mother nature’s sports drink”. It is derived from young green coconuts and is rich in potassium and low in fat and sugar. Compared to sports drinks - it is lower in sugar, sodium and calories and much higher in potassium. Potassium assists in alleviating muscle cramps that may result from exercise. Coconut water contains small amounts of sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.

Straight up Sparkling Coconut water from Raw C is a fantastic hydration option as it contains 100% pure coconut water (it is not produced from a concentrate) and is free from preservatives/cholesterol/fat/sugar/added sodium. It is rich in potassium, vitamins and minerals. It has a good pH balance. Natural Raw C is the freshest and most natural coconut water on the Australian market. This brand uses only the youngest coconuts (up to 7 months old) ensuring the highest natural nutritional benefits.

Effects of strenuous exercise

Excessive sweating results in the loss of especially sodium, potassium and chloride. Therefore, in addition to water, athletes need to also replenish electrolytes after a strenuous workout. All the major fluids of the body require large amounts of potassium to function, and 90% of the body's potassium lies within the cell walls. Thus, it is essential to replenish these electrolytes daily through the intake of clean fluids and foods.

Fluid & electrolyte balance

When the kidneys are functioning correctly they regulate concentrations of electrolytes in conjunction with fluid levels in the body. During high intensity exercise or endurance sport much of the body's fluids (and electrolytes - especially potassium and sodium) are lost. Electrolytes are also lost during urination, vomiting, diarrhoea etc. Combining the intake of fluids with electrolytes results in more rapid rehydration as water follows electrolytes. Additionally, consuming electrolytes like sodium reduces the amount of water lost via urination, allowing the fluids to be more readily absorbed back into the muscles, tissue and nerves.

During strenuous exercise, endurance sport and extreme heat/humidity the body sweats excessively and loses both water and electrolytes. Staying adequately hydrated in these circumstances therefore requires replacement of both lost fluid and electrolytes. In these circumstances coconut water is a good choice.

5 benefits of coconut water

  1. Low in calories

    Compared to sports drinks coconut water is low in calories (19 calories/100g) and sugar.

  2. Rich in potassium

    The high potassium content of coconut water makes it a good rehydration option. Potassium is vital for the brain, nervous system and muscle strength.

  3. Good source of magnesium

    Low magnesium levels can lead to low energy levels and other issues. Coconut water contains about 14 % of your daily needs.

  4. Contains cytokines

    Cytokines in coconut water have been shown to have anti-aging properties.

  5. Rich in antioxidants

    Antioxidants absorb free radicals and toxins in the body. The antioxidants in coconut water help to negate the damaging effects of free radicals.

The importance of naturally occurring electrolytes

The human body is composed mostly of water. The essential electrolytes most commonly found in the body are sodium, potassium, magnesium, bicarbonate, chloride, calcium, and phosphate. Electrolytes are minerals in the body that have an electric charge. They are found in blood, urine, tissues, sweat and other body fluids.

Electrolytes are important because they assist in

  • balancing the amount of water in the body

  • balancing the body's acid/base (pH) level

  • moving nutrients into the cells

  • moving waste products out of the cells

  • the optimal functioning of the nerves, muscles, heart & brain

Electrolytes are obtained through your diet, but in cases where you need significant rehydration, beverages that contain water as well as electrolytes are key. In cases of severe dehydration medical treatment is required.

Live Science. 2018. Why Coconut Water Could Replace Your Sports Drink. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 17 September 2018].
Gina Matsoukas. 2018. Coconut Water Benefits | POPSUGAR Fitness. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 17 September 2018].
Coconut Water by Raw C, benefits of Coconut Water - Natural Raw C. 2018. 330ml - Coconut Water Straight Up - Coconut Water by Raw C, benefits of Coconut Water - Natural Raw C. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 17 September 2018].
Dr. Group's Healthy Living Articles. 2018. Electrolytes: What Are They & Why Are They So Good For Us?. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 17 September 2018].
Jessica Hendricks. 2018. Homemade Electrolyte Replacement Fluids | LIVESTRONG.COM. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 17 September 2018].

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