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Is This the Best Sports Drink?

If you've ever picked up a fresh coconut in the grocery store and shaken it, you've heard the liquid sloshing inside—this is coconut water. Although coconut oil is more prominent, it was coconut water that was discussed in a recent CNN article.

Coconut water is a clear, light, refreshing liquid (95 percent water) extracted from young, green coconuts that have not reached maturity. These look much different from the brown hairy ones you commonly see in the produce section, which are white, smooth and pointed on one end, and flat on the other.

When you can find them, young coconuts will be in the refrigerated produce section because they are perishable. Coconut water is the liquid part of the endosperm (kernel) of the coconut fruit. When coconuts are immature, the endosperm is semisolid and jelly-like. As the coconut matures, the endosperm becomes more solid and fibrous, developing into the firmer coconut meat with which you are familiar. As the coconut matures, the water inside is replaced by more coconut "meat" and air, so it's best to harvest the water when the coconut is young.

Besides plain water, coconut water is one of the best and safest options to rehydrate yourself after a strenuous workout. If you need the electrolytes, it will provide them. If you don't need them, then it certainly won't hurt you. And as you're learning, coconut water has a mountain of other health benefits in addition to rehydration, which no commercial sports drink in the world can provide. Depending on how much salt you've lost through sweating, you might even add a tiny pinch of natural Himalayan salt to your glass of coconut water.

 

 

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