After hearing about the health benefits of coconut water, I decided to give it a try. I went to my local health food store and stared at the rows of different coconut water. It was hard to make a choice. There were different sizes, shapes and brands. Since my daughter was tugging on my leg, I picked one on sale for $1 and made my way to the cash register. After all, I wanted to find out for myself if it tasted good. More importantly, was coconut water really that good for you or was it just another health trend?
What is Coconut Water?
Unlike some trendy health drinks, coconut water is made from one ingredient: the liquid inside the coconut (often a young coconut). It doesn’t have any added sugar and, technically, falls into the juice category. Due to its hydrating properties, it is also said to be a natural sports drink.
I tried Coconut O.N.E. Water. According to the package, for 11.2 fluid ounces, it has 60 calories, 660mg of potassium and 25 mg of magnesium. The drink’s combination of electrolytes is supposed to be great for hydration. Furthermore, it doesn’t have any fat or cholesterol. Finally, the brand I chose was GMO and gluten free.
I have to admit, I wasn’t in love with the taste. I suppose I’m too used to the sweet taste of toasted coconut or the delicious aroma of my coconut scented lip balm. I imagined it having a richer, satisfying flavor. As a result, I was disappointed. To me, it tasted like dirty dishwater. Perhaps, it is something that grows on you. After all, I used to think my husband’s kale, carrot and apple juice concoction tasted like bitter alcohol. Now, I down it in one gulp. Thus, you could probably add a little bit of lime juice to the coconut water for a sweeter taste. However, keep in mind, this would add more calories and sugar.
What the Experts Say
Coconut water has been hailed for its powerful anti-aging and anti-carcinogenic properties. However, Lillian Cheung, DSc, RD, of Harvard School of Public Health states, “the research is just not there to support many of the claims.” Even though the jury is still out on some of the health claims, we do know that coconut water is potassium rich. According to WebMD, potassium plays a vital role in helping your heart beat. It may lower your cholesterol too. In addition, it has a less sugar than many juices and sports drinks. Yet, since it is not a calorie-free drink, you need to be careful not to drink too much of it. As for it being “nature’s sport drink,” it is hydrating. Yet, it may not be enough to replace what is lost in “prolonged physical activity.” However, for most of us, coconut water will do the job just fine.
Coconut water may have some exceptional health benefits. However, I’ll be sticking to regular water for hydration and fresh vegetable juice for extra nutrients. After all, why would I want to waste my money (and my calories) on a drink I didn’t like.