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Coconut Water: The Natural Alternative to Commercial Sports Drinks — an article on the Smart Living Network
May 14, 2011 at 1:00 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Coconut Water: The Natural Alternative to Commercial Sports Drinks

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Summer is fast approaching, and it will be more important than ever to be prepared for the heat! Whenever you exercise or participate in any physical activity, it is necessary to stay hydrated for several reasons. This is especially true for people who work out during the summer months or in warmer places. Without maintaining a healthy level of fluids in your body, you are at a much greater risk for illnesses, heat stroke, and exhaustion. There are many ways you can prevent dehydration, and here are a few of the available options, including water, sports drinks, and coconut water.

Water and Sports Drinks

Water is the natural hydration choice. However, it does not have a bold taste and some people find it to be less than exciting. For this reason, they cannot drink a lot of water when they need it the most. Of course, this is no excuse for interfering with the body's need for fluids. Sports drinks are one of the most common alternatives to water because they have flavors that appeal to people. They also contain electrolytes, which can be helpful when exercising for long periods of time. But many are concerned about the additives that are put into sports drinks, specifically the chemical dyes, preservatives, and emulsifiers. So, how can you get the natural benefits of water without drinking sports drinks?

Coconut Water

Coconut water is one of the drinks used as an alternative to sports drinks. Not surprisingly, it is very popular in the tropic regions of the world, and has a great taste similar to the fruit itself. Throughout the years, doctors have been studying the positive effects that coconuts have in terms of hydration. First, coconut water is absorbed by the intestinal wall more quickly than plain water, which means that it will provide a faster replenishment of fluids. Its speedy absorption can be attributed to its chemical composition that is also very similar to human blood plasma. Coconut water contains vitamins, minerals, sugars, amino acids, and hormones that aid in the growth and development process. Our bodies naturally contain electrolytes that need to be replaced when they are lost. Unlike those in sports drinks, the electrolytes found in coconut water are the same as the ones found in the human body fluids. Since it is important to restore both water and electrolytes, coconut water would even be more beneficial than plain water from that point of view. Besides the positive hydrating effects it has, coconut water has been used as a treatment for diseases such as cholera and influenza. Its powerful combination of nutrients makes it especially effective in combating the sicknesses, leading to a 97 percent recovery rate from them with its use. In addition, coconut water features potassium, chloride, phosphate, calcium, magnesium, and antioxidants - valuable ingredients that are missing from commercial sports drinks. Another impressive aspect of coconut water is that it can be injected directly into a person's bloodstream. Also, it has been shown to reduce the risks of cancer while improving blood circulation and lowering high blood pressure. Coconut water is available in bottled form or in tetra packs. You can find it in many health food stores and select grocery stores. If you prefer to drink the water directly from a coconut, be sure to choose young coconuts as they are not fully matured and taste much better than older ones. Look for them in the refrigerated section of your favorite health food store.

Sources: http://www.cocoscience.com/pdf/hwnl4.4.pdf

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/water/NU00283

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/water/NU00283/NSECTIONGROUP=2

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