Coconut Water After a Workout: Is It Really Better For You Than Water?

published Jun 18, 2012
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(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

It may be refreshing and delicious, yes, but advocates (and PR companies) claim coconut water replenishes your body better than water after a strenuous workout. Nature’s Gatorade, if you will. But is that really true?

The big deal with coconut water, according to Andrea Giancoli, registered dietitian and spokesperson for The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is that it has a lot of potassium, which is important for heart health and regulating blood pressure and other body systems. But it’s “not magical.” There are plenty of other potassium-rich foods—bananas, potatoes, kidney beans, lentils, and spinach, to name a few—so skipping out on the coconut water isn’t going to deplete your potassium stores.

Regarding its effectiveness as an after-workout drink, nutritionist Monica Reinagel says most of us just don’t work out long enough or hard enough to seriously need an electrolyte replacement drink, so water is perfectly fine. As for hardcore athletes? The mineral they most need is sodium, and coconut water is actually pretty low in sodium.

So drink it if you enjoy it, and but don’t expect it to work wonders.