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Are the health claims about coconut water nuts?

Coconut water can help hydrate you and provide you with needed potassium, but that doesn’t make it any more beneficial than drinking water and eating bananas.

(Hafiz Issadeen / Flickr)
Posted on Aug. 2, 2014 at 7:19 a.m.

Coconut water first entered the American market about a decade ago to claims of its health benefits, as reported by The New York Times. It’s the clear fluid from young, green coconuts that’s commonly sold in square packages, bottles and fake coconut shells. It tastes a little sweet and salty.

“The main health benefits would be that it can hydrate you,” said Sherri Kramp, registered dietitian nutritionist at IU Health Goshen Hospital. “It’s a fluid. It’s part of your water intake that you should have any day.”

But you know what this drink is coco-not? Any more hydrating than water after hours-long workouts, according to a 2012 study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

The article adds that a lot of the nutrients that make up this “miracle drink” can be widely found in other fruits.

One of coconut water’s claims to health drink fame is potassium, which Kramp said is good for the heart and blood pressure. You need around two to four grams of potassium a day, and an eight-ounce container of coconut water typically has around 600 milligrams of the mineral. That can just as easily be consumed by eating a banana, which has 422 milligrams.

So why bother putting down money for coconut water at all?

“It helps you to drink more fluids because you like the taste of it,” Kramp said. “It’s a personal choice. Don’t fall for the claims made out there, because there’s no research to back it up.”

To read about the 2011 class action lawsuit involving leading brand Vita Coco, visit The New York Times.

Do you drink coconut water? Will you continue to drink coconut water, and why?


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