Coconut water is 100% natural, low in sugar, a good source of electrolytes, gluten free and sold in every grocery store.  It is the latest nutrition fad everyone is talking about.  Is this something you should buy or save your money and wait until the next fad comes around?

If you look at information on a variety of websites you can read the numerous health benefits of drinking coconut water.  They range from weight loss to fighting viruses to breaking up kidney stones to reducing wrinkles and sagging skin.  This is just a few of the fourteen health benefits listed on the website.  Another website- says that coconut water may lower serum cholesterol and help prevent glaucoma and cataracts.  Wow, it really does seem like a miracle!

To separate fact from fiction, start by looking at the nutrition facts on the label.  An 11 oz. container of coconut water supplies 620 mg of potassium.  Potassium is essential electrolyte and coconut water’s true “claim to fame”.  The Dietary Guidelines published in 2010 listed the following as one of the key recommendations- “Choose foods that provide more potassium, dietary fiber, calcium and vitamin D, which are nutrients of concern in American diets.”

A diet rich in potassium has been proven to lower high blood pressure; which is the reason it is specifically recommended in the Dietary Guidelines. Potassium blunts the effects of our high sodium diet. The amount of potassium needed for the day is 4,700 mg.  Diets high in fruits and vegetables easily supply this much potassium.  Unfortunately, the typical American diet is lacking in these foods and consequently lacking in potassium.

Bananas are the food most people recognize as high in potassium but it is far from the only one!  Actually, a banana has only 422 mg of potassium and a small potato has 738 mgs!  A sweet potato has 542 mg. and an 8-ounce glass of orange juice has 496 mg.  Other excellent sources of potassium are soybeans, tomato paste and sauce, dried fruits and lentils.

“Hydrate naturally” is another bold claim on the coconut water label.  It is true that drinking coconut water will provide fluids your body needs.  Dehydration can be deadly but most Americans rarely exercise enough to break a sweat so they aren’t losing fluids or electrolytes.  For serious athletes, (working out for more than an hour a day) it is important to replace lost fluids and electrolytes but they usually need a drink with sodium because more sodium is lost in perspiration than potassium.

Coconut water is marketed as a glamorous drink to look good and remain young and healthy.   But it is not cheap.  It costs about $2 per serving.  There are numerous foods and beverages to supply potassium without hurting your bank account.  Also, no scientific proof exists that it does anything other than supply your body with fluid and potassium.  If you like the taste, coconut water is a low calorie beverage choice.  But, you can still be healthy without ever drinking a drop!