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Coconut Water: fashion fad or workout wonder?

29 FEBRUARY 2012

 

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Can you always trust celebrities? One year’s fashion fad could be long forgotten next year as the rest of us try to keep up.

It isn’t always the case though, sometimes they stay around. One thing which may once have appeared as just a celebrity trend, but now seems to be standing the test of time is coconut water. But is this just a fashion fad or is it really time to start trusting those celebrities?

The rise and rise of coconut water
2010 was the real big year for coconut water, with celebrity fans including Madonna, Sienna Miller, Gwyneth Paltrow and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ front man Anthony Kiedis. While Gwyneth may swear it keeps her slim, it’s Madge and Kiedis which could be the real poster celebs for the benefits of the product.

We all know how gruelling Madonna’s fitness regime must be, while Kiedis after the years of rock n roll debauchery is a huge advocate of all things clean living and exercise related. But what are they saying about it? Well let’s start from the beginning...

Green, fresh coconuts
Coconut water is the juice found in young, green coconuts. On the beaches of Brazil and throughout Southeast Asia, as well as a number of other worldwide destinations, people often drink it through a straw stuck straight into the fruit.

This should be differentiated from coconut milk, which is a high-fat emulsion of mature coconut meat and a key ingredient of traditional cooking in places like Thailand.

Post-workout drink
The popularity of coconut water hit the heights when celebrities swore by it as a natural alternative to sports drinks; without any of the colours or preservatives. It’s rich in the electrolytes sodium, potassium, calcium and phosphate, as well as small amounts of many essential amino acids.

It’s this richness of electrolytes that has many celebrities, and indeed us mere mortals swearing by it being the best post-workout drink.

Sodium and potassium
When we work out, we sweat out key electrolytes which need to be replaced when we finish. As coconut water is rich in both sodium and potassium it’s a perfect natural replenishing drink following a session at the gym. In fact it contains up to 15 times as much potassium as the average sports drink.¹

Hidden health benefits
It’s not just a workout drink however. While Ms Paltrow claims that it helps her lose weight may be a little off the mark (you’re better off using it after exercise than as a slimming agent); it does have various antibacterial and antiviral properties. It contains high levels of lauric acid, which is used by our bodies to make monolaurin – a disease fighting fatty acid derivative that can protect the body against various infections and help boost the immune system.²

Here to stay
It looks as if coconut water is here to stay and we really can trust celebrity opinion. While you may not want to rely solely on it to give your body everything you need after a really heavy workout – as protein is essential for this – it’s ideal for a natural way to rehydrate. Throw in its hidden benefits and it looks pretty good from here.

¹LA Times, Coconut water: A health drink that's all it's cracked up to be? (2011), at http://articles.latimes.com/2011/mar/06/health/la-he-coconut-water-20110306
²Metro, Why celebrities are shelling out on coconut water (2010), at http://www.metro.co.uk/lifestyle/827437-why-celebrities-are-shelling-out-on-coconut-water

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