Top Myths About Coconut Water

If you search of the internet for "health benefits of coconut water " you will get a lot of good information... like Low in calories, naturally fat- and cholesterol free, more potassium than four bananas, and super hydrating - these are just a few of the many benefits ascribed to America’s latest health craze: coconut water. It help with a whole host of conditions, from hangovers to cancer and kidney stones.

But is coconut water capable of delivering on all the promises or is it hype? This “miraculous” hydration drink has exploded in popularity in the last few years. You’ve probably seen it at yoga studios, gyms and even at grocery store checkout lines. 

Coconut water companies claim that coconut water is the BEST, all natural way to hydrate. Better, in fact than pure water due to it’s high electrolyte content. Truth or myth? Maybe people get carried away with all the benefits of coconut water, so here we bust a few myths and misconceptions....

They say, Coconut water is an ideal post-exercise drink.
Our verdict: Myth.

You may see gym-goers guzzling coconut water on the treadmill because it contains electrolytes, which you lose when you sweat. But for the average light-to-moderate exerciser, "If you're consuming enough fluids and eating healthfully the rest of the day, having coconut water after a workout is not going to significantly benefit you any more than hydrating with water," says nutrition experts.

When you sweat you lose water as well as essential minerals including sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Coconut water does contain some of these, most notably potassium, and research has found sodium-enriched coconut water can work as well as sports drinks for hydration after prolonged intense exercise.

Coconut water is notably higher in potassium than sports drinks, but is relatively low in sodium, which is necessary during severe dehydration. Studies that have directly compared coconut water (commercial) to plain water for rehydration after exercise have not found significant differences, however. 

On the other hand, some scientists have observed that natural coconut water (raw) is sufficient for hydration even compared to sports drinks. Others have suggested adding a small amount of table salt to pure coconut water for adequate rehydration (for recreational athletes, extra sodium is likely unnecessary).

Unflavored coconut water is low in sugar and calories and is not the perfect sports drink. Sports drinks are meant to replace fluids, supply energy, and replace sodium and potassium lost through perspiration. 

They say "Coconut water contains lauric acid which helps the immune system"
We say its a myth:

Lauric acid is a medium-chain fatty acid found in mother's milk and makes up about 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil, some people are mistaken by assuming that it's in coconut water also? Unfortunately, coconut water contains less than 0.5g of fat per 100g and therefore there will only be a trace amount of lauric acid in coconut water, if any, depending on how it was filtered. 

You could even call coconut water fat-free, and some of the websites that do call it fat-free also claim it has lauric acid - that's like saying your ice skates have good wheels.

They say "Coconut water is a good source of fibre"
verdict: its a myth

Dietary fibre comes in two forms, soluble and insoluble, neither of which can be found in coconut water. There is some fibre in the jelly-flesh of the green coconuts from which coconut water is extracted, quite a lot of fibre in brown coconut flesh, and heaps of fibre in coconut flour. Coconut water for fibre?; coconut water for electrolytes?....YES.

They say "Coconut water has anti-aging properties."
verdict: Myth.

Being well-hydrated does help you look and feel better, says Nolan, but water works just as well for this. And as to the online claim that coconut water "significantly increases plant cell proliferation without increasing the number of undesirable mutations," and that it therefore protects your cells—there's been no research to show that this plant-specific action makes any difference in an actual human being.

They say, Coconut water helps prevent stroke and heart attack.
The verdict: Myth

You may have seen coconut water touted as a heart-healthy beverage. The potassium in coconut water helps counteract the blood pressure-boosting effects of sodium, so in theory drinking coconut water could help prevent heart disease. However, says Thayer, "Your body's not going to differentiate between the potassium from coconut water, the potassium from a banana, or the potassium from a potato." In other words, potassium is good, but coconut water is not a miracle heart disease cure.

They say, Coconut water is healthier than fruit juice.
We say its a Fact.

If you're looking for a drink with some flavor but want to save on calories, coconut water can be a better choice than juice, says Thayer; fruit juice often has double the calories of coconut water. Thayer adds that coconut water has more potassium than many types of fruit juice. Just be sure to opt for unflavored coconut water—once you add sugar, the calories start mounting.

They say “Coconut water is high in sugar” 

This misconception comes from fruit juices in general, as many naturally squeezed fruit juices contain 10g-15g per 100g of sugar and weight-management can be hampered by drinking too much fruit juice, due to the high amounts of sugar naturally present in orange, pineapple, apple, pomegranate and other juices. Pure organic coconut water in its natural form contains just 4g to 5.5g of sugar per 100g, most of which is glucose not fructose.

Coconut water is fine for recreational athletes -- but so are plain water or sports drinks. In general, most adults don’t exercise strenuously enough to need sports drinks or coconut water because good, old-fashioned water works just fine.

There are some health benefits to consuming coconut water. It’s an all-natural way to hydrate, reduce sodium, and add potassium to diets. Most Americans don’t get enough potassium in their diets because they don’t eat enough fruits, vegetables, or dairy, so coconut water can help fill in the nutritional gaps.

If you enjoy the taste and your budget allows it, coconut water is a nutritious and relatively low-calorie way to add potassium to your diet and keep you well-hydrated.

Beyond that, the scientific literature does not support the hype that it will help with a laundry list of diseases. “There is a lot of hype about coconut water, yet the research is just not there to support many of the claims and much more research is needed

In conclusion, coconut water could well be a valuable and hydrating addition to your lifestyle and diet, especially if you're active and on-the-go, but with all the hype around it's always worthwhile researching the facts before choosing which one to spend your $s on.

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