Do you feel wiped out and dizzy after exercise? Have you got menopausal hot flushes? Do you often feel flat?
You may be lacking in electrolytes.
Electrolytes are in sports drinks but most commercial brands of sports drink have some type of sugar.
Sometimes the sugar is disguised and you think the product is guilt free. Anything ending in ‘ose’ is a type of sugar, for example maltose, lactose, sucrose, glucose.
Sports drinks usually have colour and additives. In other words they are not natural. So while your body will get electrolytes, your liver and pancreas will work overtime to deal with the other ingredients.
A yummy and totally natural alternative is coconut water found in health shops. It is the clear liquid from inside tender young green coconuts; whereas coconut juice and milk are from mature brown coconuts. Coconut water is a clear, electrolyte-dense ‘water’. Coconut water has no fat and no cholesterol. Coconut water has 15 times the amount of potassium of any leading sports drink. It’s in a natural balance with sodium.
Potassium, as well as being essential for your heart, takes nutrients into the cell and toxins out of the cell. Without it, toxins can get stuck and people often get headaches, which can also be a sign of dehydration. You will find coconut water is pleasantly sweet.
Another way of replacing electrolytes is with a healthy salt like Celtic salt. However coconut water is a lot tastier!
Coconut water is also excellent for pregnant and breast-feeding mothers who need more minerals.
Recently a hiker died on the Kokoda trail while walking in extreme heat. It was found that the hiker was perfectly hydrated and actually died from a lack of electrolytes lost in sweat.
So when you need more minerals, you are doing strenuous exercise or exposed to heat, consider coconut water. It’s also beneficial for skiers, as they still sweat.
Even if you are not doing exercise, it’s a delicious treat and a healthy alternative to many other drinks.
Other coconut products are coconut cream, a great alternative to dairy, coconut oil and coconut milk.
Coconut oil has become renowned for weight loss as it keeps you full but has medium chain fatty acids which burn energy quickly and don’t make you fat. You will eat less, feel full, sugar cravings will minimize and it helps reduce fungus.
You can mix it with yoghurt, cook with it at any temperature ( it’s very stable) use it as butter, eat it off the spoon before a meal to curb appetite or drink it in hot water. From one teaspoon up to three tablespoons a day is recommended.
Coconut oil is fluid in warm temperatures. It’s also a wonderful moisturiser and hair conditioner.
You’ll find coconut water puts a spring in your step and will lift your energy for the day. So pop into your local health shop, pick up a carton and experience the benefits of coconut water. You’ll find all the other coconut products are also available at the health shop, and the difference from the supermarket is that they are better quality and probably the health food proprietor has researched the background info for you already and therefore chosen authentic green coconut water.
Some coconut waters have been manufactured from coconut products, but it is in the young coconut water that the electrolytes are to be found. Also, some brands are canned and, always in the canning process, very high heat has to be applied, and therefore some micronutrients will have been lost. Other brands are produced from concentrate or transported frozen for packaging, and the taste is a giveaway as it can be dull, flat or bitter.
Indeed, the taste of coconut water varies appreciably, depending on the age of the coconut. The juice from mature coconuts becomes somewhat bitter and, although still palatable, is not as enjoyable as young green coconut water.
As the coconut ripens, the chemical composition and volume of coconut water changes, plus the quantity of coconut water progressively decreases. There can be up to 2L of coconut water in the tender young green coconut, and, as the coconut matures, the volume of water decreases to less than a few hundred ml, while the ‘meat’ deposits on the inside of the coconut. As a result, the remaining decreased liquid inside the coconut changes in density, flavour and appearance.
There are significant difference between coconut water, coconut juice and coconut milk:
Coconut milk is a high fat emulsion produced by grating and blending water with coconut meat plus sometimes the brown shell of older, mature coconuts. Coconut milk is a white, rich and creamy liquid which contains fat (~17%) and oils. The saturated fat in coconut milk is mainly lauric acid which has been shown to have cardiovascular benefits.
Coconut juice can refer to two different types of liquid. These are:
Coconut juice can sometimes mean the liquid from older coconuts. However in some cultures, such as Brazil and Hawaii, coconut water is entirely different from coconut juice. Coconut water is the clear liquid from inside the young green coconut; whereas coconut juice is made in the same way as coconut milk – by blending coconut meat with water – except it’s less creamy than the milk.
Coconut juice won’t be clear and crisp, but denser in appearance and, with the higher fat content, it doesn’t have the same hydrating and refreshing qualities as coconut water. Drinking a lot of it may cause slight repeating indigestion.
Fresh coconut water from young tender green coconuts is labile and sensitive to chemical change. Coconut water packaged fresh at the plantation, and not from concentrate or frozen, tastes clean, clear, crisp, slightly sweet, hydrating and refreshing. It tastes ‘alive’.
Coconut water is isotonic, i.e., isotonic solutions have the same as, or very close to, electrolytic concentration in human blood cells. Coconut water is sterile straight from the coconut and amazingly has been used intravenously as a hydration fluid.
Seek out reputable brands of proven quality. Avoid cheap brands, just as with most things, you get what you pay for. The cheaper the product the more likely corners have been cut in bringing it to market. Ensure the label says never from concentrate. Read the information on the manufacturer’s website and ask them questions. There are notable differences in quality in the coconut water category – so just because you’ve tried one and not liked it, don’t think all are the same. Conduct comparative taste tests and listen to your body – coconut water should taste and ‘feel’ great due to its unique hydration qualities.
Quality brands are the way to go, preferably organic; and not cheap brands.
Michèle Wolff is a Melbourne-based naturopath, registered nurse, aromatherapist, hypnobirthing teacher, detoxification specialist, Indian head massage teacher, colonic hydrotherapist and teacher, and a reiki practitioner. She practices in Cheltenham.
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