We All Love Coconut Water—But Is It Actually Good For Us?

No need to fly off to the tropics or crack open a young coconut to get some cool, refreshing coconut water. Today, coconut water is as common as soy milk at most grocery stores.

Some say coconut water—the clear liquid from the center of green coconuts—is over-hyped. No, it won’t cure cancer or wipe away your hangover. But it’s still a fresh pick for low-calorie hydration.

Here’s why.

It’s Rich In Nutrients

Coconut water packs a potassium punch. One cup has about 600 milligrams of potassium. That’s more than an average banana, which comes in at 422 milligrams. The daily recommended potassium intake is 4,700 milligrams, so coconut water is a good way to sip those necessary nutrients. That’s especially good if you’re someone who tends to skimp on fruits and vegetables.

Besides that, coconut water is also a good source of other electrolytes like calcium and magnesium. Did your bottled coconut water turn from clear to pink? That’s a good thing. The color change marks a batch that’s especially high in polyphenols, a naturally occurring antioxidant. And did we mention it’s low in sodium?

Flickr | Mike Mozart

It’s low in sugar, and high in hydration

So which coconut water should you pick? Grab the unsweetened variety over chocolate or other flavored versions. Sure, if you’re dieting, you might want to stick to plain old water and avoid drinking any calories. But, the average bottle of coconut water has way less sugar than a bottle of juice or soda. It even has less than Gatorade.

And speaking of sports drinks, coconut water can be a natural alternative. Skip the additives while replenishing your electrolytes after a workout. Some of the first coconut water devotees were Bikram (hot yoga) enthusiasts because it helped restore lost minerals.

Coconut water
Phu Thinh Co

It Can Spice Up Your Cooking

Coconut water can even liven up your cooking. Use it to marinate meat, make salad dressing and more. Plus, it serves as a healthier mixer in mocktails, cocktails and smoothies. Coconut water martini, anyone?

While it’s not a miracle elixir, the occasional coconut water can intrigue your taste buds and satisfy your thirst in a healthy way. Might be time to grab some of “Mother Nature’s sports drink.”