Remember how I was going to look at coconut water for my thesis a little while ago? Well, I’m still not able to really do it for a thesis, but I still used it for my proposal paper and presentation for my Research Methods class!
I wanted to share with you some of my research findings, which are actually quite interesting. . . and there may or may not be some kind of giveaway included at the end ;) I also wanted to thank Laural for sending me research that she found which was a huge help.
First a little history about coconut water . . .
Much of the research I did find on it included its use as a fluid replacement for patients with gastroenteritis and cholera, and has even been used as an intravenous solution for those third world countries with limited resources.
The picture on the left is an actual coconut hooked up to an IV drip! This patient was doing pretty poorly and wasn’t able to tolerate many of his feedings and was becoming dangerously dehydrated. Upon initiation of the coconut water for a short term IV solution, the patient started to turn around for the better. This is amazing to me!
There are six stages of coconut development, with the youngest green stage being the one where the most fluid can be found (1/2 – 1L of fluid). As the coconut ages and browns, the flesh becomes more prominent, and the free fluid decreases. Coconut milk is the emulsion of the flesh and water from the latter stages of development.
Even the amount of electrolytes and flavor can change between stages of coconut development, and whether it is a coastline coconut or inland coconut can also slightly change its nutritional characteristics. Coconut water is also fairly isotonic.
Compared to conventional electrolyte beverages, coconut water is slightly lower in calories, has less sodium, slightly less sugar, and considerably more potassium. This brand also has a great source of Vitamin C.
Looking at the use of coconut water with athletes, the research was much more limited and hard to find. I did find two studies that found some pretty good results. Let me know if you would like references.
The first study by Saat, M et al. found a slightly less percent rehydration in the regular coconut water compared to a sports drink, but the difference wasn’t significant. The study by Ismail, I et al. then found that sodium-enriched coconut water rehydrated just the same if not better as a sports drink. Those subjects in the coconut water groups also experienced less GI distress (fullness, bloating, nausea, etc) and were able to finish their last bolus of fluid to meet their sweat rates.
I thought the finding of it causing less GI stress to be very interesting. I myself have a hard time consuming fluids during high intensity activity sometimes, especially running or anything that jostles the stomach contents.
Up to 42% of endurance athletes have experienced some form of GI distress during or after an activity (van Niewenhoven et al, 2005)
Many athletes can fail to hydrate properly due to GI distress, which can greatly impact overall performance. Coconut water could be a great option for those who have trouble consuming sufficient fluids during strenuous activity, especially if they have another event/training session that same day. I think the coconut water companies should introduce an ‘endurance line’ featuring a higher sodium content to cater towards endurance athletes to really call their product a ‘sports drink’.
Even though regular coconut water is not as high in sodium as ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) recommends for ‘sports drinks’ (110mg per 8oz), both studies concluded that coconut water can be used for whole body rehydration after exercise induced dehydration & even may cause less GI distress compared to sports drinks.
Well, there you have it in a nutshell! –er I mean coconut shell! I myself enjoy the taste of coconut water because it is really refreshing and is easy on my tummy. It isn’t really sweet either which I like. Think of lactose, the slightly sweet milk sugar, but not as milky :)
If you ever wanted to know how to open a green coconut & have a handy dandy machete hanging around, click here. This is just a funny video :)
---> GIVEAWAY TIME!!!! <---
I contacted the brand VitaCoco and they graciously offered to send me some of their coconut water to have my class sample for the presentation, and I had some leftover. Some of them are the flavored kind (pomegranate, pineapple, passion fruit, peach/mango) and I believe I have some kind of sensitivity to citrus so I can’t really drink all of them. So I thought, let’s do a GIVEAWAY!!! Yay!
Let me know if you’ve ever tried coconut water and what you think of it. I’ll pick two winners who will get 5 individual samples to try! You can also tweet ‘I want to try some coconut water from EatingRD!’ and link back to this post for an extra entry. I’ll randomly choose the winners on December 17th @ 9pm PT.
In other good news, I received my box of Glo Bars from SavvyEats!! I was so excited and had to try the Present bar right away, which is the cranberry pumpkin spice flavor. Yum! They are well formed, not too sweet and gooey like most bars, and nice and airy in texture. The taste is really nice too with a slightly warm bite from the cinnamon & a tart surprise from the dried cranberries. Are you drooling yet?! I’m looking forward to trying and reviewing the other flavors. If you haven’t already, check them out here!
Hope you guys are having a great week so far! I finished my finals today and can now finally get into the holiday spirit!! Woo-hoo! I feel a bit run down and icky at the moment and hope that I am not getting sick. I need to get all our X-Mas cards written and sent out ASAP. Chris and I also have holiday parties on Friday and Saturday night where I will try to employ my holiday intervention strategies again :) Let’s see if I can do it!
Any fun weekend plans???