If Mother Nature chose an ideal sports drink for light-to-medium exercise, it might be coconut water, the clear liquid found most abundantly inside young, green coconuts.
That’s the conclusion reached by Indiana University Southeast lecturer Chhandashri Bhattacharya, Ph.D., in presenting his research to the American Chemical Society.
“Coconut water is a natural drink that has everything your average sports drink has and more,” says Bhattacharya. “It has five times more potassium than Gatorade or Powerade. Whenever you get cramps in your muscles, potassium will help you get rid of them.”
A 12-ounce serving of coconut water may also help balance the typical American diet, which is too low in potassium and too high in sodium derived from excess salt; individuals consuming such diets tend to have twice the risk of death from heart disease and a 50 percent higher risk of death from all disease-related causes. Coconut water is also high in healthful antioxidants.