“Is coconut water even a thing?”

—Parker, Chico, California

If you search online for the benefits of coconut water, you’ll get a list of claims that make it sound like a magical drink. They might claim that it cures dehydration, helps with weight loss, is nutrient-rich, etc. When you dig a little deeper, however, you can find out what’s really known about the benefits of coconut water.

What is coconut water?

Coconut water is a clear liquid that comes from young, green coconuts. It is lower in calories and sodium and higher in potassium than sports drinks, and doesn’t contain extra calories from sugar.

Does that make it a better drink?

Coconut water replaced body fluids lost during exercise about as much as a typical sports drink or drinking water did, according to a 2007 study in Malaysia. So, it could be used to rehydrate after exercise, but so can water or sports drinks, which may cost less and (to some) taste better.

For those who prefer a strenuous workout, coconut water has insufficient carbohydrates and electrolytes to support intense physical activity, such as long-distance running. A better way to fuel your body is with a high-carbohydrate food, such as a bagel, and plenty of water during your workout. 

Should I drink it?

Those looking for a healthy beverage choice might enjoy coconut water, which contains some nutrients and is high in potassium and Vitamin C. It is slightly high in sodium, however, so if you drink coconut water often, watch your sodium intake from other sources.

Bottom line: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true. To maintain your health, a good start is to be physically active, eat well, and get enough sleep. These wellness activities will go a long way toward keeping you healthy in high school and beyond.

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