Coconut water is filled with electrolytes that are necessary for cells to produce energy, maintain strength and function optimally.
But what the heck are electrolytes, exactly?
Simply put, they are minerals that carry an electric charge, which help:
- Regulate nerve and muscle function
- Hydrate the body
- Rebuild damaged tissue
- Stabilize blood pH
Electrolytes generate voltage in the cell, which enables our nerve cells (a.k.a., neurons or brain cells) to exchange electrical messages known as neurotransmitters. In other words, electrolytes enable brain cells to send and receive information between each another.
Without healthy cell-to-cell communication our capacity to think and solve problems becomes crippled, just as a team or organization would fall apart in the absence of strong communication.
The primary electrolytes in the human body, which we obtain through food, are:
- Chloride (NaCl = table salt)
- Bicarbonate (baking soda)
Electrolytes, especially sodium and potassium, are lost in bodily fluids (this is why your sweat and tears taste salty). Electrolyte-rich foods are needed to replace the electrolyte concentrations lost after sweating under the sun or during a workout. Coconut water is an ideal source of electrolytes since it has the same electrolyte balance as human blood. And you will be able to tell it’s working when it instantly quenches your thirst.
Coconut water is best for summer not only because you perspire more, but also because it helps reduce body temperature. So, you may want to consume less in the winter when you naturally retain more fluids and need to conserve warmth.
Drinks enriched with synthetic electrolytes should be avoided. Artificial sweeteners in sports drinks actually STRIP electrolytes from your body. I also like to steer clear of the carcinogenic compounds found in plastic bottles.