Benefits of Coconut Water for Exercise and Performance

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Coconut water has emerged as a supermodel in the beverage industry in the past few years.

Aside from its natural form, coconut water is available in packed containers ready to drink anytime. Previously, it was consumed as a novelty drink, sipped straight from a green coconut through a straw.  

Coconut water is described as a miracle beverage by athletes and fitness enthusiasts.  

It is touted for its benefits from helping people lose weight, providing them with flawless complexions, curing hangovers, lowering blood pressure, and being the ideal sports and exercise recovery drink.  

Coconut water, a natural sports drink, can be a low-calorie and refreshing method to rehydrate post-workout.

What is coconut water?  

Coconut water is a liquid that comes from the young, green coconuts. It is hailed as a natural sports drink. A combination of grated coconut flesh and liquid makes up coconut water.

Pure coconut water is not the same as beverages with a coconut flavour. Packed drinks use coconut flavouring, added sugars and other components.

It is not advisable to hydrate with these liquids while running.

A cup of unsweetened coconut water has about 43 calories. Additionally, it has zero fat, 10 grammes of carbohydrates, and 0.5 grammes of protein.

Components of coconut water  

Coconut water has a very low salt content and a high potassium content.

ECF~ 3400 mg/l~ 115 mg/l
ICF~ 275 mg/l~ 3200 mg/l
Sweet~ 200 – 2000 mg/l~ 100 – 250 mg/l
Coconut water~ 150 mg/l~ 2300 mg/l
A normal sports drink250 – 1500 mg/l125 – 300 mg/l

Coconut water contains relatively little salt than sports drinks.

A moderate amount of potassium can be helpful when recovering from mild dehydration unrelated to training because it can lower blood pressure in some people and aid in intracellular rehydration.  

Consuming large amounts of coconut water may be unhealthy or even dangerous in addition to the absence of salt.  

Coconut water benefits for athletes  

  • Natural – Coconut water contains less than one per cent natural sugar, as opposed to refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup in energy or sports drinks.

Coconut water has natural sugar, which is as important as carbohydrates for athletes (in moderation). It can be taken as a post-workout snack because it is low in calories.

  • High-Intensity Workouts require more – Sweating removes several electrolytes from the body that are essential for neuron, heart, muscle function and optimum hydration. Coconut water renders electrolytes in high concentration. For instance, coconut water has the same potassium content as one banana.  
  • Vitamins to help recover – Coconut water is excellent to drink after exercise since it contains vitamins that help with healing, such as vitamins C and B. Vitamin C strengthens the immune system, folate (vitamin B9) helps the body produce new cells, and vitamin B6 produces amino acids that help us build muscle.
  • Coconut water is for everyone – Coconut water is a popular choice for hydration, and anyone can drink this except for individuals with dietary restrictions.  

Can coconut water replace sports drinks?  

However, beverages made with coconut water are not a substitute for the regular sports drink.

With just trace amounts of potassium, calcium, and magnesium, sweat primarily consists of water and sodium. Extracellular fluid (ECF), high in sodium and much lighter on the other ions, is absorbed by the sweat glands and produces perspiration.  

The effect of the decrease in ECF and blood volume after heavy perspiration is reduced by replacing part of the lost salt. A sports drink’s primary purpose is to provide energy. Sodium is a crucial ingredient in many sports drinks as it replenishes the lost salt content. Coconut water is not a replacement for regular sports drinks due to its lower sodium content.

When to consume coconut water?  

Coconut water may be beneficial for nutritional and hydration needs.  

During short runs

Plain water is sufficient if running lasts less than an hour since electrolyte replacement is unnecessary. Water is preferable as it has less calories and is less expensive. Studies have shown that plain water hydrates as effectively as coconut water. For such shorter runs, coconut water is a fantastic choice for individuals who enjoy the flavour.

During long runs

Some athletes choose coconut water after long runs as their sensitive stomachs cannot tolerate the sugar and artificial sweeteners in sports beverages.

Consult a sports nutritionist before deciding to take coconut water for a lengthy run.

After runs

Using coconut water as a recovery drink after a strenuous run or workout is a healthy way to restore electrolytes. To ensure they get the appropriate 3-to-1 protein-to-carbohydrate ratio for optimum recovery, some runners like mixing it with protein powder.

Incorporating it into a post-run smoothie is also helpful. Blend bananas, fresh berries, coconut milk, coconut water, and a spoon of protein powder in a blender. This is a satisfying treat that is high in protein and contains carbohydrates and potassium to aid in muscle repair.

Comparison to other drinks  


Studies have compared coconut water to water for hydration during activities like jogging.  

Studies demonstrate that coconut water is as good as water for rehydrating the body. However, it is less effective and more research is required to know any additional benefits.

Water is less expensive in comparison to coconut water. Depending on how long and difficult the exercise or sports activity is, coconut water’s calories (energy) and vitamin content can let you run without sports gels.

Sports Drinks

Some athletes are inquisitive about how coconut water matches up against sports beverages. Some athletes might be interested in switching since coconut water is more natural than sports drinks like Gatorade.  

The quantities of sodium and other electrolytes found in sports drinks, which are required to replenish all the electrolytes lost through sweat, are not present in pure coconut water.  

Commercial sports beverages, like Gatorade, provide complete hydration and electrolyte replacement solution for persons working out for more than 60 minutes.

Effect of too much coconut water  

There was an increased concern about the effects of too much potassium on the heart as surgeons frequently inject potassium into the heart to stop it from beating when they need to operate on it.  

Potassium in coconut water, if consumed in excess, would result in hyperkalemia (elevated blood potassium levels), which might cause arrhythmias or irregular heartbeats.

The amount and quantity of coconut water for an individual depends on and is decided with the help of a nutritionist.


Hydration is important for everyone, but it’s especially essential for people who are active and sweat a lot. Although drinking water is still the main fluid suggestion, athletes working out at very high intensities may benefit from other hydration options, such as coconut water.

Every time we try something new, it should begin in a secure situation, such as a practice session rather than a game day. We need to determine which feeding options the body responds to the best, just like physical exercise. Ensure the foods and beverages selected taste good and are easier to digest.  

Coconut water can make a good exercise and sports drink in some instances. However, it is not suitable for replenishing lost electrolytes or replacing sports drinks. Discuss with a nutritionist to decide on the correct quantity of coconut water.  


Does coconut increase stamina?

Drinking coconut water after working out is quickly rising in popularity. It provides sufficient post-workout hydration, which is essential for optimal recovery and increasing stamina and endurance. It has few calories, no fat and no cholesterol.

When should I drink coconut water after or before the gym?  

The best time to drink coconut water is 30 to 60 minutes before the session, but if you feel queasy, especially if you’ve had a protein drink, you can wait until two hours before.

What does coconut water do for athletes?  

Coconut water is excellent to drink after exercise since it contains vitamins that help with healing, such as vitamins C and B. Vitamin C strengthens the immune system, folate (vitamin B9) helps the body make new cells, and vitamin B6 produces amino acids that help build muscle.  

What is the best drink after a workout?

Water is the preferred beverage for everyone to consume prior to, during, and after physical activity, but there are other beverages that can be beneficial, including flavoured or electrolyte water, sports drinks, coconut water, chocolate milk, and sour cherry juice.


The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

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