Coconut Water: A Natural Source of Electrolytes

Learn how coconut water can help you improve performance by providing electrolytes like sodium and potassium.

Coconut Water

With temperatures pushing well past 100 degrees in many parts of the country, you've no doubt been hydrating with plenty of water and sports drinks during your summer training. However, many nutritionists are now recommending adding coconut water to the mix.

Coconut water contains two important electrolytes: potassium and sodium. One ounce has as much as 61 milligrams of potassium and 5.45 grams of sodium. Coconut water makes the biggest difference when consumed after a workout since it replenishes the two essential electrolytes while adding very little sugar (1.3 grams of sugar per ounce).

When you sweat heavily during a workout or a training session, you not only lose fluid, you also lose sodium. Losing too much sodium can lead to a condition called hyponatremia, with side effects that include headaches, cramps, nausea, vomiting and hallucinations. To replace the sodium you lost during heavy activity, rehydrate with coconut water instead of regular water.

The other electrolyte you lose during exercise is potassium. Replenishing potassium during training is extremely important since this mineral aids in muscle contraction and nerve transmission. A deficiency in potassium often leads to muscle cramping and injury. Potassium also stores carbohydrates for energy and supports the proper balance of electrolytes in the body.

You can purchase coconut water in most grocery stores or health food stores. Look for organic varieties to avoid extra sugar. Learn more about the athletic performance properties of coconut oil.

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