Coconut water, is it really the best source of hydration?

A few days ago I had a chat with a fellow cyclist who is expounding on young coconut water as the best source of hydration. He told me how in India, doctors sometimes use coconut water in place of blood plasma because of the electrolyte balance.

That being said, do any of you here swear by young coconut water for hydration on the bike? I have to specify “young/green” because I was told that the water in brown coconuts are no good.

I think this is BS. Here’s a quote from this article that seems relevant for your question:

A 2002 study compared water, coconut water and standard sports beverages to determine which beverage was best for post-exercise hydration. The eight subjects exercised in the heat and then were rehydrated with either water, coconut water or a sports drink.

Researchers found that there was no difference in sodium levels, urine output or fluid balance between the three beverages, meaning all three beverages were equally hydrating.

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IDK but, I can’t stomach the stuff…In the blood though? All I can think of is virus/bacteria in the blood. Not good. No one I know drinks it during exercise which means nada but, if something is “that good” you think you’d see it waaaaay more prevalent in the cycling community.

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Thanks for the comment! I keep thinking about coach Chad’s comment about how important it is to keep your sodium levels up if you’re a salty sweater (which I am). Water goes right through me even as I drink throughout the day. As the temperature rises this Summer, I’m really looking for a good way to stay hydrated.

Thanks for the comment! Yeah there’s definitely a risk of infection and my understanding is that the coconut water is only used in a pinch. I believe there’s a rumor that it was used in World War II in the Pacific theater.

You’re welcome

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The coconut water in indian context is probably totally different from what is in US.

The ones sold in india, on the road side, are some of the fresh drink right out of the coconut itself. It is not processed or packaged or goes thru any other treatment. It is is virigin.

In middle of a multi hour ride, in tropical heat, it is a great natural source of hydration. There is no hype around this, in the indian context. And they are also cheap.

May be in US, you don’t get them as virigin/fresh as we do here.

No idea about the blood plasma!


I live in Cambodia and drink freshly cut coconuts 4 to 6 times a week. Easy to obtain from vendors on the side of the roads. Yes, they used coconuts here as a saline replacement during the wars years. Sorry, but I don’t think there’s anything magic about them. They’re a good source of potassium, not so much the sodium - and that’s the important thing to replenish on rides. I still take my electrolyte tablets too.

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This is very important and why I don’t drink coconut water as a sports drink during high intensity exercise. Vita Coco, a popular brand, is about 25mg of sodium and 470mg of potassium for each 240 mL. It is high in Vit C and also has about 11 g of sugar (45 calories), so keep that in mind.

I used to drink it a fair bit between workouts but have moved away from it in an effort to reduce calories.

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No definitely not. No salt! We sweat salt!


And also good source of magnesium right? If I recall right 1 cup has nearly same amount of Mg as 1 scoop of skratch? Then again very subjective fresh or bottled, and how much is actually absorbed I’m not sure. Either way, its very expensive bottled water :joy: