Coconut water can be a good source of some electrolytes such as potassium. However, doesn’t offer a good balance of electrolytes.
A lot of my clients ask me is coconut water a good source of electrolytes as many are looking for sports drinks substitutes. As I have explained to them, the unique constitution of coconut water means that it isn’t a simple yes or no answer.
The following post breaks down the coconut water electrolyte content and compares it to sports drinks, plus more. Check it out!
Table of Contents
Let’s first take a look at the electrolyte content of coconut water per 240ml serving.
You should bear in mind that these are averages. Thus, the actual content can vary from one fruit to another or from one brand to another.
In particular, it should be noted that mature coconuts tend to have a higher quantity of electrolytes than young coconuts. Naturally, when you are buying boxed or bottled coconut water, it can be tricky to know which kind of coconut has been used.
More often than not, young coconuts are used for their coconut water. Not only does the liquid from green fruit taste better, but these young coconuts also tend to hold a lot more as well.
Now, the above numbers can seem pretty impressive. However, what you have to pay close attention to is the daily requirement percentage. As you can see, these amounts are pretty low.
On the other hand, coconut water is incredibly high in potassium, which is certainly a good thing as potassium is an important electrolyte. In fact, coconut water has much more potassium than most other energy drinks.
On average, energy drinks are only required to have around 18 to 46mg per 8 ounces. As you can see, coconut water absolutely blows these amounts out of the water.
On average, coconut water does have a better balance of electrolytes than most fresh fruit juices. Therefore, it is a better alternative to these beverages. However, it can’t really compare with sports drinks or other beverages that have been specifically boosted with electrolytes.
Before answering these questions, let’s take a look at the electrolyte content of Gatorade per 16 ounces. Bear in mind that they are many different types and flavors of this drink. The following content is simply an average of some of these beverages:
With the exception of potassium, coconut water has fewer electrolytes than Gatorade. This is especially true for sodium. Even when you adjust for 16 ounces of coconut water with each serving, coconut water still comes up short.
On the upside, though, coconut water does have far less sugar. And, in many instances, coconut water has fewer calories as well. While it may not rebalance your electrolytes as well as Gatorade, it can be argued that it is certainly healthier for you.
Of course, if you are a serious athlete, are in training, or are trying to quickly replenish electrolytes after a grueling workout, then Gatorade should be your pick.
For a while, now, people have been trying to figure out whether coconut water can be used as a substitute for calorie and additive-laden sports drinks. While coconut water can definitely be used to replenish your electrolytes after a workout, there are some limitations.
In one study, it was discovered that coconut water worked as full-body hydration after exercise. In fact, its effects were on par with that of a carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage.
Even more interesting was that participants noted fewer side effects when they drank coconut water compared to other beverages. They were less likely to suffer from nausea, a feeling of fullness, or a stomach upset.
Many reported that the coconut water was sweeter and more pleasant to drink. The participants also found that it was much easier for them to consume larger quantities of the beverage, allowing them to rehydrate more efficiently.
The issue, though, is that sports drinks are required to contain between 82 and 162mg of sodium per 8 ounces. It should also contain 12 to 24g of carbs – usually from sugar – for that same amount to replenish energy.
If you take a look at the coconut water electrolyte content, you will see that its values are far below what is required. However, this doesn’t mean that coconut water is completely out of the running.
Despite their widespread popularity, sports drinks are meant for serious athletes and those doing strenuous exercise for extended periods of time. These drinks are also suitable for individuals working out in very hot conditions where the loss of electrolytes through sweat is significant.
In reality, the average gym-goer or someone who is doing mild exercise doesn’t sweat enough to require this kind of electrolyte boost. Therefore, if you fall into this category, then you will find that coconut water will provide you with all the electrolytes that you need.
Of course, it is a good idea to keep an eye on how you feel. If you have drunk coconut water after your workout and are still feeling a little dizzy or tired, then it could be that you aren’t getting enough electrolytes. In this case, you may need to try a sports drink as well.
You may want to avoid drinking more than 8 ounces of coconut water each day as well. Certain side effects can be triggered if you consume more than this.
There’s your answer – yes coconut water does have electrolytes, but it isn’t as complete of an option as a sports drink. Still, you can use it as a replenishing drink with mild forms of exercise.
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