Does this drink live up to the hype and is it right for you? Coconut water, not to be confused with coconut milk, is water harvested from young, green coconuts and then pasteurized for packaging and distribution. In most cases, it does not contain any added sugars or artificial ingredients unlike many sports drinks, making it a great alternative for replenishing potassium and electrolytes lost during activity.
The benefits are real for anyone who needs to rehydrate, but to ensure this natural beverage doesn’t go to your hips, be conscious that it is not a calorie free or sugar free beverage. You can opt for natural coconut water if you want to avoid added sugars and other ingredients like ester of rosin and brominated vegetable oil-common in Gatorade and other energy drinks.
An 11 oz container of Zico contains only 14 grams of sugar, which is perfect to replenish muscles after a hard workout. Gatorade contains 14 grams in an 8 oz serving, but the average bottle is 20 oz-with a total of 34 grams of sugar in each bottle. For an everyday beverage, however, water remains a more waist-friendly choice.
The Miami Heat use Zico coconut water to rehydrate during and post workout. Their onsite chef, Michael B. Jacobs, a veteran of Michelin-starred restaurants and CEO of Miami Beach’s Strategic Hospitality Group, shared one of the Miami Heat’s favorite breakfast drinks with us:
- 4 oz Zico Coconut Water
- 2 oz. orange juice
- 2 oz frozen blueberries
- 2 oz frozen bananas
- 2 tbl instant oatmeal
- 2 tsp fine milled flax seed
- 1 scoop protein whey powder
Place all ingredients in blender and blend high speed until smooth. This drink is rich in anti-oxidants and fiber and provides nutrients for rapid recovery.
This smoothie is designed specifically for the needs of a 6’9”, 221 pound athlete who has burned a lot of carbohydrates in an intense workout. The high natural sugar content allows their muscles to restock depleted glycogen stores, ensuring that they have enough energy for a secondary workout and no muscle wasting occurs.
For the everyday athlete, the smoothie can be modified for those of us who may not need as many calories or sugars-either because of a smaller build, or because, let’s face is, the Miami Heat work out just a bit more than the rest of us. Try this version if you’re not a professional athlete:
- 4 oz Zico Coconut Water
- ½ frozen banana
- 2 tsp ground flax seed
- 1 handful spinach
- 1 handful kale
- 1 scoop protein powder
Don’t let the vegetables fool you, this drink remains sweet and fruity, while packing in nutrition that will help with recovery and satiate your post-workout appetite.
Photo credit: Chef Jacobs Blueberry Smoothie and Amanda C Brooks Tropical Green Smoothie