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The Health and Hype of Coconut Water

The Hype

Coconut water has been gaining a lot of traction over the past few years where it went from almost unheard of by most people to currently becoming a household name.  Coconut water is a booming niche market that is sky rocketing well beyond a $400 million dollar market just last year alone. But does all of this new found fame mean that we should be stocking our refrigerators and pantry shelves with coconut water?

The Health

The benefits of coconut water are varied but include replenishing electrolytes back into your system.  The two most prominent electrolytes across all brands of coconut water boil down to potassium and sodium.  The range differs depending on the brand but most cartons of coconut water have between 50-250mg of sodium per serving and usually around 700mg of potassium per serving. Coconut water is touted by many to be “nature’s sports drink” which traditional sports drinks have far fewer servings of sodium and potassium by comparison.  Most sport drinks have around 100mg of sodium and 50mg of potassium but they also have a lot of processed sugar and food dye.  The danger in consuming too much coconut water is based on the high levels of potassium concentrated in each serving.  Potassium toxicity can cause stomach cramping, irregular heartbeat, nausea and diarrhea. People who have kidney problems or are taking medications that can alter potassium levels in the body should be cautious about how much coconut water they consume on a daily basis as well as monitoring other foods containing elevated amounts of electrolytes.

As with most things in life moderation is the key component.  Coconut water can be a great beverage to consume after a workout to help restore electrolytes but it shouldn’t replace drinking water.

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