The brutal winter is ending and the summer heat will be here soon. After being stuck inside of gyms and studios for months, many of us will take our workouts outside to enjoy that longed for sunshine. Working out and getting your sweat on outside is priceless but the intense heat can cause dehydration and overheating.
It is super important to make sure your body is hydrated and full of those awesome molecules called electrolytes aka sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and so on. Without getting too scientific, electrolytes are charged particles that help maintain voltage and send electrical impulses between the cells. Think of your body as a battery, your heart, muscles, kidneys and nerves communicate and operate via these electrical impulses. Electrolytes provide the charge to keep your battery running. When you exercise and sweat you lose electrolytes, or your charge. Without them you are like a dead battery, 0% on the charge bar.
Coconut water is a great, healthy way to stay hydrated and replenish electrolytes. The best option is the real deal; most smoothie houses such as Liquiteria and Juice Generation offer young coconuts ready to drink straight from the nut. If you can’t find this look for a bottled product that keeps it clean. Below are a few facts about coconut water and tips to picking a clean product, so study up and stay hydrated.
It’s Juice! That’s right it’s not water, it’s juice that lives inside a young, green coconut. If you went to a beautiful tropical island hacked open a green coconut with a machete you would find liquid inside, that’s the juice. In the big city we just run to the deli and grab a bottle. Look out for added sugars and from concentrate, avoid these and always keep it real.
More Potassium Than a Banana: One small bottle (about 9.5 fl oz) of coconut water can have up to 600mg of potassium, more than a banana which contains around 400mg. Great if you experience leg cramping before, during, after your workout or to recover from one too many margaritas.
No Dyes or Preservatives: Unlike sports drinks coconut water does not contain any harmful dyes. You won’t see any color in coconut water unless it’s raw and pink. This is simply antioxidants interacting with light. If it’s pink it’s good! Be sure your “go to” brand does not contain preservatives such as sodium benzoate, or added sugar, read the label. Although amazing, coconut water does not contain as much sodium as a traditional sports drink like Gatorade so it may not be an efficient replacement for athletes during heavy competition but it’s a great, healthy alternative for hydration with your daily workout or when thirsty.
Moisturizer: Dermatologists have found that using coconut oil will hydrate your skin and increase the natural skin barrier that helps keep in moisture, without producing excess oil. Try using coconut oil in place of lotion. Coconut water is being studied by dermatologists to verify if it hydrates the skin from the inside out, more research is needed here, but it’s a pretty good bet.
Beyond Potassium: Besides potassium, the tropical juice contains roughly 250mg of sodium, 60mg of magnesium and 60mg of calcium to help replenish those depleted electrolytes we discussed above.
Low, Healthy Fat: If you’re drinking coconut water without the pulp, there’s very little to no fat, 0-.5g. If you prefer a little coconut meat you’ll be getting more fat, but don’t be scared, it’s great for your brain and can help settle a queasy, dehydrated stomach and give you some energy.
Coconut water will help you stay cleanly charged and hydrated through the hot summer months so you can keep on sweating. Remember to drink good ole regular H2O as well, the classic hydrator.
To see more from Abbey Matson, visit her website Mind To Body Health.