Q: I see coconut water everywhere. Are there benefits of drinking coconut water over regular water?
A: “Probably not,” says Ellie Kempton, MSN, RD, owner of Simply Nourished Nutrition in Denver, Colorado.
Although coconut water is a naturally-balanced drink full of electrolytes (like magnesium, calcium and potassium), most youth athletes don’t need it regularly.
“If they’re out for an extra-long practice or a day-long tournament in hot temperatures and sweating a ton, then coconut water could be helpful since the electrolytes help the body’s cells hold onto water,” she explains. “But for regular practice, plain water is best.”
For situations that do call for coconut water, Kempton has two tips:
- Buy plain coconut water. “Flavored waters are more like juice: lots of sugar and not much nutritional value,” she says.
- If the taste of plain coconut water isn’t going over well with your young athlete, squeeze some lemon or lime into it and/or dilute it a bit with water.
“They’ll still get all the electrolytes they need,” she explains.
Here are a couple of recipes to make natural, hydrating drinks to keep your athlete’s energy levels up during practice and competitions: