Coconut water: a crack at nature's sports drink

Breeze through summer with coconut water, especially when water just doesn't hit the spot.

Tender young coconuts are easy to find in the supermarket.
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It's heating up rapidly now as we enter into those summer months where a permanent state of "hot" takes hold, so we could all do with some cooling down, just to ease the pressure off our internal thermostats.

Coconut water is great when water just doesn't hit the spot. This is a result of an array of cooling minerals, such as potassium and magnesium, that it is said to contain. These minerals have a cooling effect on the body as they help neutralise acids, encourage remineralisation and relieve the physical effects of stress by replenishing lost minerals, salts and sugars.

In Sanskrit, the word for coconut palm translates to "that which can support all life" – apt, considering its nutrition profile. It has one of the highest concentrations of electrolytes, making it incredibly hydrating – some studies suggest more so than water - and thus a fantastic post-workout energy drink.

Research also suggests that coconut water is very similar to blood plasma and has a history of being used intravenously in emergency situations. However, other studies suggest that while coconut water is very good for oral rehydration therapy, it is not the preferred choice for intravenous treatment.

Tender young coconuts are easy to buy from the supermarket. Cracking them open isn't as easy but is worth the effort. Drink the water, then scoop the flesh and place it in a blender with some ice for a coconut smoothie. If you're short on time, you can purchase cartons of coconut water but be sure to check the ingredients and only go for 100 per cent natural coconut water.

Laura Holland is a well-being consultant and nutritional therapist. For more information, go to