While for most of us it’s a summer treat or a quick pick-me-up after a trip to the beach/park, there’s a lot more to coconut water than just its delicious taste.

Celebrities such as Rihanna and athletes such as tennis player John Isner swear by it. In fact, Isnercredited coconut water with keeping him on his feet for his epic 11-hour marathon Wimbledon tennis win.

However, don’t replace your water with it.MD Robert Glatter says, “While coconut water is low in calories, rich in potassium, and fat and cholesterol free, the evidence that it is actually better than plain water for simple hydration is unfortunately lacking.”

The good news

First, let’s look at the difference between coconut milk and coconut water. While coconut milk is a mix of the flesh and the water, the water is essentially just the clear liquid found inside the coconut which is low in calories and completely fat free. It also gives you a lot of omega-6 fats, and also helps with hangovers.

Why do you need it after exercise?

Coconut water packs in much more potassium than a sports drink, which is what makes it that much better for you. A study in the International Society of Sports Nutrition journal found that you can actually have coconut water instead of a sports drink after a workout,. Because it’s fat free, it doesn’t load your body with excess sugar and it’s completely natural, which is obviously a better option. It also hydrates you and replenishes your body with electrolytes after a tough workout.

“Compared to typical sports drinks, coconut water has fewer calories, less sodium, but higher amounts of potassium. While coconut water typically has less sugar than sports drinks, it also has much less sugar than regular sodas or fruit juices,” Robert Glatter wrote. Remember to supplement it with something to eat too though! Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD and director of nutrition for WebMD, said that it’s a great way to stay hydrated and fine for recreational athletes – but it’s not good enough to cut everything else out.

The only thing we’ll advise you against is buying ready coconut water because it could be enhanced with synthetic flavours and sugars. Also, it doesn’t have much sodium, so professional athletes might need something a little stronger. If you’re a casual workout buff though, this is perfect for an after-exercise drink.

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