Surely you have noticed that coconut water is now all the rage.  Some advertisements call it “Nature’s perfect hydrator!”  However, you have probably asked yourself “which is better water or coconut water?”

Coconut water is the clear liquid found in young coconuts.  It naturally contains some electrolytes like potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium.  All of which you lose through sweat when you exercise.  It is closer the pH of your blood than sodas and sports drinks.  This is a good thing, because most drinks are very acidic.  Exercise also makes you more acidic.  Therefore, it is not beneficial to drink something to make you more acidic than you already are.  It was actually used in IVs during WWII.

So when should you drink coconut water?  Drink it when you want a healthy alternative to water.  Water is still Nature’s “perfect hydrator.”  “To hydrate”, actually means to add water.  Water however does not contain the minerals that you lose through sweat.  If you exercise for more than hour or so, it is important to replace those electrolytes.

Not all coconut waters are the same.  Some add extra sugar and other ingredients that make them less healthy and add empty calories.  Below are some popular brands in alphabetical order.  All are standardized to a serving size of 8 ounces to make it easier to compare.

Blue Monkey:  76 calories, 42 mg sodium, 19 grams carbohydrate, 10 grams sugar, 290 mg potassium and 6 % of your daily iron.

CocoZona:  37 calories, 121 mg sodium, 10 grams carbohydrate, 9 grams sugar, 408 mg potassium.  It contains the most sodium in the list.  Per bottle, it contains 4% of your daily-recommended calcium and 10% magnesium.

C20:  50 calories, 66 mg sodium, 13 grams carbohydrate, 11 grams sugar, 293 mg potassium

CocoWater:  90 calories, 45 mg sodium, 13 grams carbohydrate, 13 grams sugar, 475 mg potassium.  Per container, it contains the most calories than any other brands compared here.  There are 2 ingredients in CocoWater: the first is coconut water and the second is vitamin C, which explains why the bottle delivers 150% of your daily recommendation for C.

Naked  43 calories, 14 mg sodium, 10 grams carbohydrate, 8 grams sugar, 462 mg potassium.  In addition, it contains 6 % of your daily calcium recommendation, and the least amount of sodium.

O.N.E.: 43 calories, 43 mg sodium, 11 grams carbohydrate, 10 grams sugar, 0 grams protein, 476 mg potassium.  Per bottle, you get about 4% of your daily-recommended calcium and 6% magnesium.

Sobe Lifewater:  35 calories, 45 mg sodium, 8 grams carbohydrate, 8 grams sugar, 65 mg potassium.  The first ingredient is water, the second is sugar and the third is coconut water.  This means there is more sugar than coconut water.  This is the only one in the list with added sugar and the lowest in potassium.  This makes this product, the one I recommend the least.

Taste Nirvana:  42 calories, 35 mg sodium, 8 grams carbohydrate, 8 grams sugar, 504 mg potassium, and the most per serving.  Per bottle, you get about 4% of your daily-recommended calcium and 9% magnesium.

Vita Coco: 45 calories, 30 mg sodium, 11 grams carbohydrate, 11 grams sugar, 470 mg potassium, 100% vitamin C.  One bottle gives you 10% of your magnesium.

Zico Natural:  34 calories, 91 mg sodium, 7 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams sugar, 324 mg potassium.  Per serving, Zico Natural is the lowest in terms of calories, carbohydrates and sugar, which makes more like water.  One bottle gives you 9% of your daily magnesium.

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