If you’re looking to quench your thirst with a sweet-tasting beverage without extra calories, look no further than coconut water. Besides its delightfully sweet and nutty taste, the naturally occurring water within a fresh coconut is packed with nutrients and is a super way to stay hydrated. But what exactly is coconut water?
Dietitian Maxine Smith, RDN, LD, explains to the Cleveland Clinic that coconut water differs from coconut milk, which is also found inside the coconut. Coconut water is a combination of water and grated coconut that creates a fluid within the fruit, forming a drink free of cholesterol and fats and low in sugar and calories. But coconut water has even more going for it than its low calorie count; it also contains electrolytes, essential minerals that have an electric charge when dissolved in fluids, that are necessary for certain body functions. Examples of electrolytes include sodium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium, among others. Consequently, coconut water is a good beverage choice after your exercise routine to replenish key nutrients lost during intense physical activity.
Making sure you have the right levels of these minerals is vital for your health. For example, potassium is believed to be essential in maintaining heart health, registered dietitian Sarah Olszewski, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.N., tells Prevention, as it relaxes blood vessels. Relaxed blood vessels promote better blood flow and regulate blood pressure. Additionally, coconut water contains antioxidants, substances that neutralize free radicals, which are harmful chemicals that can damage cells.