Coconut Water for Endurance Exercise Rehydration
Coconut water is marketed as a natural rehydration drink. It is naturally sweet & high in potassium. It’s popularity is growing in Australia as a beverage but also as a sport drink. Unfortunately, many of these products are diluted or contain additives such as sugar, sodium & extra preservatives.
Is coconut water a superior rehydration sport drink? The quick answer is no. Sodium is the electrolyte responsible for assisting fluid absorption & retention in the body. Coconut water has very little.
Carbohydrate is an important component of sport drink to refuel muscles & also assist with rehydration. Coconut water has some natural sugar but insufficient amounts to act as an oral rehydration solution. In fact, the rehydration properties of coconut water are no different to plain water.
For lower intensity or shorter duration sessions, coconut water is a good rehydration option. However, a session which causes heavy or large amounts of sweating requires the replacement of lost sodium as well as fluid. If this does not occur, the body may suffer from hyponatremia (low blood sodium).