Coconut Water or Sports Drink: Which Is Better After a Workout?

Coconut water is touted as nature’s sports drink for good reason; just like Gatorade or Powerade| it contains high levels of electrolytes like sodium| magnesium| and potassium. But a recent study suggests that when it comes to the coconut water vs. sports drink debate| you may be better off keeping the coconut water for lighter workouts and reaching for a sports drink for your sweatier exercises.

The study| presented at an American Chemical Society meeting| found that coconut water contains less sodium than the manufactured sports drinks: 400 mg/liter vs. 600 mg/liter. When it comes to a sweaty workout session| replacing the sodium lost from your body is important in order to keep your muscles and nerves functioning properly| and the study’s authors say that coconut water may not contain enough to do so.

However| other nutrients| like magnesium and carb count| were similar between both coconut water and sports drinks. Coconut water contains far higher levels of potassium| which is crucial for proper organ function; coconut water also contains high levels of disease-fighting antioxidants| and other studies have noted no real difference between rehydration through coconut water| water| or a sports drinks after 60 minutes of dehydrating exercise. In any case| this study is a good reminder that proper hydration is important when you’re working out ¡ª especially when it’s a particularly long or grueling routine ¡ª and knowing the health benefits of both coconut water and conventional sports drinks can help you make a decision that’s good for your body.

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