Several regions across the United States are currently enduring a brutal heat wave. Temperatures are far surpassing 100 degrees, exposing roughly 55 million Americans to dangerous heat. When temperatures reach degrees of that magnitude, conditions can quickly become life-threatening.
More than 600 people in the U.S. die every year from heat-related illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Some people are more at risk of developing heat-related conditions, including adults 65 and old and those with chronic conditions.
When temperatures rise, it’s important to remember to stay hydrated. It’s easy to become dehydrated without even realizing it. The extreme heat usually causes you to sweat more, which causes you to lose water, thus leading to dehydration. You must make a conscious effort to replenish your fluids. And when replacing your fluids, you also need to think about your electrolytes.
What Are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are essential minerals—like sodium, calcium, and potassium—that are vital to many key functions in your body. They help regulate nerve and muscle functions, hydrate the body, and repair damaged tissue. Just like with dehydration, older adults are particularly at risk of an electrolyte imbalance.
Electrolyte-rich drinks like Gatorade and other sports drinks are popular for quickly replenishing your electrolytes. However, most sports drinks contain industrially-processed corn syrup, high levels of sugar, and artificial coloring. Not exactly things you should be consuming.
Crack Open a Coconut
That’s where coconut water is making a splash. Coconut water and its benefits have become increasingly popular over the last 19 years. From 2004 to 2009, the coconut water industry went from nearly non-existent to around $35 million. Since then, the popularity of coconut water has only continued, with new products popping up.
Coconut water contains five key electrolytes – sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous. And they occur in a perfect natural ratio. So, how does coconut water match up with commercial sports drinks?
Coconut water is all-natural and has more than eight times the amount of potassium as sports drinks. In addition, it has no artificial flavors or colors and less than half the sugar of Gatorade. It’s definitely the healthy, natural alternative to sports drinks that will hydrate and replenish those vital electrolytes.
Benefits of Drinking Coconut Water
- Hydrates quicker than regular water
- Replenishes electrolytes
- Aids in digestion
- Helps with diabetes
- Reduces risk of kidney stones
- Help improve blood circulation
- Cools the body
Drinking coconut water isn’t a new concept. It’s been a popular drink in tropical countries forever. And, fun fact, coconut water was reportedly given intravenously to soldiers during World War II when regular IV saline solution was in short supply.
As the temperatures continue to rise, be safe and stay hydrated. And if you’re looking for a little natural boost, opt for coconut water!