Originally published April 15 2010
Coconut Water: Nature Provides Its Own Sports Drink
by Heidi Fagley
(NaturalNews) Coconut water has been a staple for tropical regions around the world for centuries. Recently it has been grabbing the attention of athletes, sports enthusiasts, and health-conscious individuals as a natural and healthy alternative to sports drinks.
Not to be confused with thick, white coconut milk that comes from mature coconuts, coconut water is the clear juice of a young green coconut. Refreshing and naturally sweet, this powerful antioxidant can be considered Nature's isotonic beverage.
The desire to replenish lost electrolytes and essential minerals after a heavy workout has sent many sectors of the Western world's soft drink industries on a frenzy to satisfy this demand. There has been enormous growth in experiments to find the perfect beverage that has sent new product development into the millions. Yet with the sugar and food coloring added to most of these energy drinks, lost minerals and electrolytes may not be the only thing being put into the body.
Artificial colors are added to these beverages to enhance color or to mask undesirable colors. Many of these dyes have their source from crude oil and can contain unsafe levels of heavy metals. In addition, some artificial coloring has also been linked to numerous disease processes like cancer. Sugar is added to enhance flavor, to make things taste sweet and flavorful, and to lure you into wanting more. Many times these drinks never contain any fruit even though they are marketed specifically as fruit flavored.
Simply drinking pure coconut water - or juice, as they are used interchangeably - can super-charge your metabolism without any ill effects of added sugar, caffeine or chemicals. Rehydrating one's body in this natural way also includes other benefits: aiding in weight loss, cleansing the kidney, and boosting the immune system, while providing Nature's pure energy. With no side effects or preservatives it is safe for any age. This liquid nourishment improves digestion, balances body pH, enhances the metabolism, and beats dehydration, so it's the perfect beverage to replenish essential body fluids.
An amazing antioxidant, this pure water contains essential salts and minerals in the same concentration as the body and can replace those electrolytes and minerals that are lost as a result of sweating during vigorous exercise. As a natural source of nutrition and hydration, coconut water contains the five essential electrolytes your body needs to keep the body's temperature regulated, and muscles and nerves performing at optimal levels.
Coconut water has even been used throughout history as an intravenous fluid, actually saving many lives. It is similar to human blood plasma and is the only natural substance that can be safely injected into the human blood stream.
Not to be mistaken as a fruit - or, in spite of its name, a nut - the coconut is actually a member of the palm tree family. It is the largest seed known, contains no cholesterol, and has more natural electrolytes than any other fruit or vegetable.
This low-calorie, fat-free, pure form of liquid nourishment is an excellent source of potassium. In fact, 8 ounces of this "fluid of life" has more potassium than a banana, and about 15 times more than most sports drinks.
The refreshing clean juice from Nature's perfect environment quenches the thirst and is best when chilled. The taste varies depending on the region the coconut is grown. The nectar of this young drupe provides its own rather unique flavor that most would say tastes nothing like coconut. It's extremely versatile and can be added to smoothies or you can drink it straight from a freshly opened, young green coconut.
About the authorHeidi Fagley is a Holistic Nutritionist and has two culinary arts degrees - one in Raw, Living Foods and another in Natural Foods. Educating others about nutrition and the benefits of using whole foods to heal and prevent disease is her passion.
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