You’ve heard the hype about coconut water, right? Your fridge is stocked? After all, it’s another one of my top 10 foods for runners…
When I first heard about coconut water I was so on board. I mean, what could be better than a natural sports drink? No sugar added (no glucose-frucose or any other refined sugar), no colourings, no artificial flavourings, no citric acid or sodium citrate – nothing synthetic… Bring it on!
Ran out, grabbed a bottle – or I suppose it was actually a can, and… Blah, ew, no way. I did not like it. Now, maybe it’s an acquired taste kind of thing. After all, I’ve bumped into people who honestly do fully enjoy drinking coconut water by itself. So I tried it again. And… Um, no way. I must enjoy everything I eat and drink, and sadly, coconut water didn’t appear to be among them. (That said, if I ever find myself in Thailand I will drink coconut water straight out of a coconut and I can bet you I’d like it then!)
So why is my cupboard stocked high with bottle upon bottle of coconut water these day? In fact, as I sit here I can see 10 big bottles staring back at me (what can you say – cheaper buying in bulk!).
I’ve got these bottles piled high because I LOVE coconut water as a base for recovery shakes. Even though I don’t like the taste of coconut water by itself, I find it actually enhances the flavour of the shake to make it taste even better than if I just use water as a base.
Which is fantastic because the benefits are many. Coconut water from young green coconuts is a natural source of the electrolytes calcium, magnesium, potassium and a bit of sodium. Better yet it is also contains cytokinins, which are anti-inflammatory and anti-aging phytohormones. Anti-aging sounds good to me! Oh, and of course anti-inflammaory and electrolyte benefits are pretty good as well. After all, those are things we need to run strong.
There was some hype a while back that coconut water is no good by itself as a sports drink. It’s true that it doesn’t quite contain enough sodium to be considered a “complete” sports drink but it is perfect as a shake base or to sip on along with a post-run meal that contains sodium.
When looking for coconut water, ensure the ingredients say “coconut water” or “natural coconut water”. Make sure it’s not from concentrate. Also (very important), don’t buy any coconut waters that have any flavours or sugars added to them. Kinda defeats the purpose! If you’re so lucky, coconut water that is fresh straight out of the young green coconut itself or packaged raw and unpasteurized (usually frozen) are best – as they have the highest nutritional value.
If you’re looking for a recipe for a great shake that uses coconut water as a base, look no further! Try a delicious Tropical Recovery Shake – click here for the recipe.
Do you use coconut water? Do you drink it on its own or mix it into shakes and smoothies? If you haven’t tried it yet, please tell me you will! Let me know in the comments below.
Happy running 🙂
Sarah J Cuff, RHN