Coconut Water: Nature's Sports Drink Which May Even Save Your LifeFitness Equipment
In the season of summertime activities, there are some things you might want to be aware of before you reach for those sports drinks.
As we are probably all aware, sports drinks tend to be loaded with sugar and calories. Not only are these things detrimental if you are exercising to lose weight but, frequently in cases of illness or extreme dehydration, can be harder to digest and might even leave you more dehydrated. Not to mention, if you have a family, do you really want your kids partaking in even more calorie-ridden sugary foods?
I first learned about coconut water after recovering from a serious case of food poisoning about a year ago and was still experiencing the effects of severe dehydration, which leads to loss of electrolytes. No small matter, electrolytes are necessary for heart and neurological function, fluid balance, muscle function and acid/base balances, among other things. Electrolytes allow for the proper functioning of cells by carrying electrical impulses. Potassium, in particular, regulates blood pressure and heart function. Severe electrolyte imbalances can lead to heart failure and even death.
Needless to say, after my case of food poisoning I was still feeling that accomplishing even minor daily activities were beyond my grasp. I was painfully weak and my muscles hurt, my short term memory was gone and even simple motor skills had become difficult. I talked to a woman at my local health food store and she gave me an education I will never forget, as well as a profound recommendation for coconut water.
As I was to learn, coconut water has five electrolytes, which is more electrolytes than most sports drinks, including fifteen times the potassium (and more potassium than a banana). In addition, it has a fraction of the calories of sports drinks, no added sugars and (unlike sports drinks) has protein (albeit only 1 gram), phosphorus, calcium, Vitamin C and riboflavin.
Coming from young, green coconuts, coconut water (not to be mistaken with coconut milk or juice) also has no fat, no cholesterol and no preservatives. Other health problems I had, which helped to cause low potassium levels and led to water retention, muscle cramps and heart irregularities, almost immediately went away upon ingestion of coconut water. Potassium supplements in the store did little which isn't surprising as they tend to only contain 3 mg of potassium. Sports drinks contain 40 mg per 11.2 ounces, coconut water has 670 mg (and sometimes more) for the same amount. Admittedly, coconut water can be cost prohibitive, usually ranging from $1.60 to $2.00 per single serving. However, like most vitamins and health foods, you get what you pay for. I decided that my health was worth my cutting back in other areas in order to keep coconut water handy. In addition, within the past year, I have seen new and delicious flavors of coconut water emerge and often with even more potassium. It helps me to grab it before I crave something really sweet such as a soda.
If you know if someone who has problems with water retention or other health issues which can lead to electrolyte imbalances, it is worth recommending to them that they try coconut water and keep in on hand. At the least, you may help them feel better. At the most, it might end up saving their life.
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