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Cut Out the Cola, Go Coconut

Next time you’re shopping for beverages at the supermarket, how about skipping the latest incarnation of Mountain Dew and treating your body to something that doesn’t dissolve rats? There’s a “new” beverage that’s been growing in popularity in recent years that’s not actually new at all: coconut water.

Not a good thing

Health and fitness experts have been touting this ancient beverage like it’s the next acai, and it’s no wonder why. Coconut water is fat-free, gluten-free, cholesterol-free and caffeine-free. What it lacks in utter crap, it makes up for in nutrients. One cup of coconut water contains approximately 200 mg of potassium. Oh, and it has two grams of protein per serving.

If you’re like me, you have a soft spot in your heart for soda. It just compliments other nasty food choices (pizza, chips, cake, fried Oreos) so well, and for a reason. According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, “a 12-ounce soda contains 10-12 teaspoons of sugar.” If you drank a can of soda a day for a year you’d have consumed approximately 16 four-pound bags of sugar. Clearly, if you give a damn about your body and keeping fit, you ought to keep a safe distance from any type of soft drink. Coconut water is a killer alternative.

In an effort to save my body from future damage, I’ve opted for healthier beverage choices. Coconut water just happens to be my favorite. Sure, it has sugar, but only six grams per serving. And the sugar in coconut water is all natural fruit sugar. Eat it, Pepsi.

How does it compare with sports drinks? Like Gatorade, coconut water is rich in electrolytes, which help in maintaining proper body functions.  It’s lower in acidity, thus less upsetting for your stomach. And coming straight from a young, green coconut, coconut water lacks the artificial colors and additives of sports drinks, making it a better overall option.

Being the awesome rehydrating, healthy option that it is, however, coconut water is going to cost you. A liter can cost anywhere from $4.00-5.00, an 11 oz. package around $2.00. Sure, you can get six liters of Coke for the cost of one liter of coconut water, but consider the costs of future medical bills and the airlift out of your home you’ll eventually require for drinking excessive amounts of soda.

Living in the fast food nation that we do, you’ll also have a harder time hunting down coconut water than you will high fructose corn syrup-based drinks. Most health stores sell it and a growing number of grocery stores have small selections of one or two brands. I actually “discovered” the drink when my local supermarket put up a new Naked display.

Consider the benefits of including coconut water in your diet. While it may be pricy, any amount of it in replacement of soft drinks is a good thing. As for me, I’m pouring all my remaining Coke down the drain and going out to buy some more coconut water. A couple extra bucks beats dissolving like a rat.

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About John Brhel John Brhel is a freelance writer from upstate New York that enjoys picking apart life's idiosyncrasies and listening to Huey Lewis & the News.

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