Coconuts: Natures sports drink!
23rd August 2012
Coconuts have been referred to as ‘the fluid of life’ and ‘mother nature’s sports drink’ and with good reason it would seem. It has long been known that coconuts have a very high nutritional value, but now new scientific analysis undertook by Dr Chhandashir Bhattacharya has backed these claims up. "Coconut water is a natural drink that has everything your average sports drink has and more," said Bhattacharya. "It has five times more potassium than Gatorade or Powerade. Whenever you get cramps in your muscles, potassium will help you to get rid of the cramps. It's a healthy drink that replenishes the nutrients that your body has lost during a moderate workout." Dr Bhattacharya said that the potassium in coconut water also may benefit other people who do not exercise. The typical American diet is low in potassium and high in sodium, which is found in table salt. Other research has shown that such an imbalance is unhealthy. In one study, people who ate foods low in potassium and high in sodium had twice the risk of death from heart disease and a 50 percent higher risk of death from all causes. Other analyses indicate that a 12-ounce serving of coconut water has more potassium than a banana but equally important it has considerably less salt than common sports drinks such as Lucozade or Gatorade. Bhattacharya's team analyzed coconut water, Gatorade and Powerade and found that coconut water contained up to 1,500 mg/litre of potassium, compared to up to 300 mg/litre for Powerade and Gatorade. Coconut water, however, had 400 mg/litre of sodium compared to 600 for the other two drinks. It also contained considerably less sugar along with no artificial colours, preservatives or flavourings. Coconut water is the clear liquid found most abundantly inside young green coconuts, which are fruits of the coconut palm. It long has been a popular drink in the tropics, where street and beach vendors sell green coconuts with a drinking straw in the top. Interestingly coconut water was used for its medicinal properties as far back as world war two, where it was used to give emergency plasma transfusions to wounded soldiers. This could be done because coconut water has the same level of electrolytic balance that we have in our blood. Coconut water has also been used as an emergency short term intravenous hydration fluid as the high levels of sugar and other salts make it possible to be used in the blood stream. So it seems that we would be better off taking a coconut to the gym with us than our regular sports drink, however that would look a bit silly. Fortunately coconut water now is available in bottles, cans and other containers, and marketers have promoted it as a healthy beverage.