Coconut Water – Nature’s Gatorade?
In 1965 researchers at the University of Florida first developed the popular drink named after the school’s sports team, the Florida Gators.
Gatorade was a significant development for athletes in particular. It was an attempt to not only replace the water lost through sweating, but also the mineral electrolytes sodium and potassium, which are also very critical.
I do have some concerns however. What about calcium and magnesium? They are also essential for muscular contraction and relaxation among other functions.
Also, in recent years, I’ve been very disappointed to see the shift to artificial sweeteners such as aspartame (NutriSweet), and sucralose (Splenda). And when this is not the case, high fructose corn syrup is the sweetener of choice, which because of the political/economic impact and nutritional concern, is also not a good option.
While a person who spends the majority of their time sitting at a desk, or sitting on a couch has reason to concern over the number of calories consumed, the problem is largely due to the lifestyle rather the presence of calories in their food. (We’ll discuss some other options in a future article.)
A great alternative is coconut water, or what I like to call “Nature’s Gatorade.” It tastes fantastic, especially when ice cold.
Not only does the water of a single coconut contain less than half the grams of sugar as an 8 oz. bottle of the original Gatorade, but it also provides some healthy protein and fat which can help provide longer sustained energy.
Coconut water contains roughly 17 times more potassium, and twice the sodium as the original Gatorade. And unlike Gatorade, coconut water does provide calcium, magnesium, as well as a number of other vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
You may be saying to yourself, “But I thought sodium was bad!”
While it may be true that a diet that is very high sodium can be a problem for individuals suffering from high blood pressure, it is also true that when you are out in the sun and/or sweating a lot, not having enough sodium can also be very dangerous!
So if you’ve never experienced coconut water, pour yourself a glass and give it a try! If you are up to the challenge… start with a whole coconut! We will discuss the nutritional value of the coconut meat in another article.
Here is a video of me trying to get a clean glass of coconut water and the meat intact. Watch and enjoy! If you have any better methods or suggestions, please leave your comment below!