In our bodies, electrolytes include sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), calcium (Ca2+), bicarbonate (HCO3-, magnesium (Mg2+), chloride (C1-), hydrogen phosphate (HPO42-), and hydrogen carbonate (HCO3-).
They are important for electrical signaling—and of course your brain, heart, muscles, and nervous system are all bioelectrical systems. Your cells use electrolytes to maintain voltage across their membranes and carry electrical impulses to other cells.
Things like water balance and blood pH depend on your body's proper electrolyte balance, and you can suffer severe medical problems if your electrolytes fall out of balance.
Fresh coconut water is one of the richest natural sources of electrolytes and can be used to prevent dehydration from strenuous exercise, vomiting, or diarrhea. You lose electrolytes (especially sodium and potassium) when you sweat, which must be replenished with food and water intake. Because coconut water naturally contains so many electrolytes, it's been called "Nature's Gatorade."
Coconut water has five electrolytes your body needs:
- Potassium: regulates heartbeat and muscle function. Coconut water contains 295 mg, which is 15 times the amount in the average sports drink
- Sodium: The ion most commonly depleted with exercise, as you lose it through sweat and urine.
- Magnesium: is important for proper muscle function, and preventing calcium overload
- Phosphorous: Plays important roles in bone health, but also in transferring energy throughout your body, helping your muscles contract, and regulating nerve function (works together with calcium)
- Calcium: Important for bone health (works together with phosphorous)
Most Sports Drinks are a Waste of Money
For most athletes and people with active lifestyles, sports drinks are a waste of money and in addition to that they actually worsen the health of those that use them.
Less than one percent of the people that use sports drinks actually benefit from them.
Most sports drinks are full of unhealthy ingredients like refined sugars, artificial colors, and chemicals, none of which are found in natural coconut water.
If you exercise for 30 minutes a day at a moderate to high intensity, fresh, mineral water is the best thing to help you stay hydrated. When you exercise for more than 60 minutes or in the heat, or at extreme intensity levels, where you are sweating profusely, then that is when you need something more than water to replenish your body.
Apart from drinking water, coconut water is one of the best and safest options to re-hydrate yourself after a strenuous workout. If you need the electrolytes, it will provide them. If you don't need them, then it certainly won't hurt you.
Coconut water has a mountain of other health benefits in addition to re-hydration, which no commercial sports drink in the world can provide.
Depending on how much salt you've lost through sweating, you might even add a tiny pinch of pink Himalayan salt to your glass of coconut water.
One study in 20074 found sodium-enriched coconut water to be as effective as commercial sports drinks for whole body re-hydration after exercise, with less stomach upset.
Coconut water is sterile when it comes out of the coconut, and extremely similar in composition to human blood plasma.
These unique properties make it so completely compatible with the human body that it can be infused intravenously into your bloodstream.
For more than 60 years doctors in remote regions of the world where medical supplies are limited, have saved many lives using coconut water as an IV fluid.
Keeping this in mind you can appreciate how safe and beneficial this natural beverage is, if it can be used intravenously!