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What is coconut water?

Coconut water is the clear liquid found in green coconut fruit centers, according to Caroline Apovian, MD, director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at the Boston Medical Center and professor at the Boston University School of Medicine. As the coconut ages and turns brown, the water solidifies turning into coconut meat. This coconut meat could become coconut milk, NPRreports. No matter your water of choice, you can still use these 13 genius tricks to guarantee you’ll drink enough water.

Is coconut water good for you?

Asking, “is coconut water good for you” is a misnomer or kind of a trick question. Coconut water does have two main science-backed health benefits—it provides electrolytes like potassium and sodium, and it’s good for rehydration after physical activity or after illnesses that cause vomiting or diarrhea, says Ali Webster, PhD, RD, the Associate Director of Nutrition Communications for the International Food Information Council Foundation. Still, there is very little human research on the benefits of coconut water over plain, run-of-the-mill H20. One study in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise reported that coconut water replaced bodily fluids as efficiently as sports drinks and only slightly better than water. The athletes, however, preferred the taste of sports drinks—meaning you have to like the taste of coconut water to reap the benefits.

Although it’s an acquired taste, if you do want something healthier than a sports drink, coconut water could still be a good albeit unnecessary option. Most people aren’t professional athletes and don’t exercise long or intensely enough to really need the extra electrolytes from coconut water, Webster says. That’s why Dr. Apovian says it doesn’t replace her regular water intake because she doesn’t want the extra calories. Even though coconut water has less sugar than some of the unhealthiest things at the supermarket like regular soda or juices, the calories still add up, Dr. Apovian says. As for the benefits, there’s also plenty of other ways to get potassium from foods such as potatoes, bananas, beans, spinach, and legumes, Webster says. “These foods provide other beneficial nutrients that coconut water doesn’t, like fiber and other vitamins and minerals,” she says.

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