Photo from a great coconut post on Rawmazing.
I am sure many of you have heard from your doctors, "Eat lots of salt, and drink some Gatorade!," or at least something along those lines. If you are like me, though, you don't mind doing the extra water and salt...but you don't want to fill your body with all of the high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, and artificial flavors. And, the 'zero' sports drinks on the market are even worse...replace the HFCS with some more horrific chemicals and you have a toxic brew. Yikes!
I started looking for an alternative back when I was getting into the healthy lifestyle and fell in love with coconut water. I had actually tried it before, and enjoyed it, but I wasn't aware of the great health benefits - especially to those of us with POTS. I couldn't have found the more perfect natural sports drink!
The entire reason the doctors tell us to drink Gatorade is to replenish our fluids, our carbohydrates and our sodium. And, you can do all of this by drinking something in its natural form instead of the neon bottled drink...with the liquid found inside young Thai coconuts. A young coconut has mostly a clearish liquid inside, the goodness I am speaking of. As it matures, the liquid turns into the creamy white meat you probably think of when you hear the word 'coconut.' In order to reap this amazing 'liquid gold' you have to get the young coconuts. It isn't really gold, but you get the point! To get to the water, you can either open a young coconut yourself, pop in a reusable straw and guzzle away, or you can buy one of the several prepackaged coconut waters on the market. And, each glass of coconut water provides roughly the same benefits as Gatorade, au naturale!
RunTrails posted a great quote stating, "A friend of mine recently turned me onto coconut water as a refreshing post-exercise drink. The taste is sweet but subtle, but what really wowed me was reading the ingredient label. Coconut water naturally has 650 mg of potassium (15x more than a banana), 25mg of magnesium, and 35 mg of sodium! All of this in a 10 oz, 60 calorie package. It's like nature's Gatorade! After digging around some more, I found that coconut water is similar to plasma and was even given to soldiers in WWII intravenously when plasma supplies were low. Some doctors give it to kids with digestive problems, similar to Pedialyte, since the stomach accepts it so well."
There are a few brands out there that I have seen: Vita-Coco, O.N.E., and Zico. I usually grab the Vita-Coco or O.N.E. if they are available. They come in tetra-paks, and you can get individual sizes or a liter. The liter is normally way cheaper. Or, you can always do it the fun and fancy way, and just buy some young Thai coconuts at your local grocer. I find them at the Whole Foods in town, and Raley's sometimes carries them as well. The only problem with the coconut itself, is that it is really hard to get into. There's a great video demo here, but for an EDSer, I wouldn't recommend it. Instead, get someone else to do it, or just buy the prepackaged kinds. It isn't worth dislocations to get into a coconut!
Here's a SUPER video from my favorite raw foodies all about coconuts - what they look like, the varieties, the difference between large, small, green and brown, and even how to open them:
Here is a comparison of Gatorade and Vita-Coco Coconut Water :
Gatorade (8 oz) Coconut water (11 oz)
Calories 50mg 60mg
Potassium 30mg 660mg
Sodium 110mg 35mg
Sugars 14mg* 15mg**
*High Fructose Corn Syrup **Naturally Occurring Fructose
Calcium ? 5% DV
Magnesium ? 9% DV
Manganese ? 50% DV
As you can see, the sodium level isn't as high. If you have to keep it up, due to POTS, just add a tiny sprinkle of salt. I mean, it would be the tiniest sprinkling of salt to get your mg even with those in Gatorade. Or just add it to something you are eating. Or, like me, don't worry about it. The main thing, for me, is to keep really hydrated.
Now that summer is approaching and the POTS symptoms are sure to get worse with the heat, try reaching for a container of coconut water instead of the Gatorade or juice- and don't forget to drink plenty of good ol' H2O! :) Here's to our health - cheers!
(The usual disclaimer: This is only my opinion. I am not a doctor. Seek medical care if you need it. And, don't tell your doctors I said don't listen to them about the Gatorade...unless you want remind them about coconut water!)