I learned all about armbars and triangles as a white belt in Jiu-Jitsu. I also remember being told that there were two things every Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu student needs to try; acai and coconut water. I’ve always enjoyed the taste of both but wondered if there were any real benefits to drinking coconut water over other drinks.
Coconut water has always been a popular beverage in countries like Brazil. Only recently becoming popular in the United States. Celebrities can be seen promoting popular coconut water brands such as Vita Coco and Zico. Coconut water can now be found in many grocery stores. Some stores even choose to carry their own brand of coconut water.
Coconut Water vs. Soda
Consumers are moving away from fructose-based drinks such as soda. Some soda companies are now promoting using real sugar in place of artificial sweeteners. Coconut water has gained a consumer base in people trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle by consuming less artificial sweeteners.
Consumers need to be aware that not all brands of coconut water are created equally. Some coconut waters have additives and can be similar to drinking soda. When shopping for coconut water, check to make sure what you’re buying is plain coconut water. Check the ingredient list on the can or box and know what you’re putting into your body.
Overall, natural coconut water contains more vitamins and fewer calories than even the healthiest soda I could find on the grocery store shelf.
(C20 Pure Coconut Water was compared with Hansen’s Natural Cane Soda)
Marketers have been using athletes to advertise coconut water as an alternative to sports drinks. Some even claim coconut water is superior to popular sports drinks like Gatorade. Coconut water does contain substantially more potassium. Studies however have shown coconut water doesn’t hydrate athletes any better than common sports drinks.
Sports drinks may actually be better for prolonged physical activity. Coconut water after all does contain fewer carbohydrates and sodium. Both drinks also lack the protein needed for ideal post workout recovery.
Coconut water isn’t for everyone. Many people simply don’t enjoy the taste. It’s definitely a healthier alternative to soda. There is however no solid argument to support coconut water is better for athletes than traditional sports drinks. At the end of the day, it will come down to whatever you feel taste better.
As a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, what do you prefer to drink after an exhausting day on the mats?
Gracie Barra Chino