healthy drinks

Should you Be Drinking Coconut Water?

The one stop shop for clear skin, improved mood, weight loss, hydration, better blood pressure . . . ? Why not?


Food fads come and go but coconut water seems to stick around. With health claims like, ‘get delicate, baby soft skin,’ or ‘lose those extra pounds and look fabulous,’ how can it not?

Let’s dig a little deeper to find out the truth about this coconut water cure-all.


Clear Skin

Unfortunately, there is no direct connection between coconut water and skin health. However, hydration is very important for our skin. Coconut water is also a decent source of vitamin C (9% daily value in 1 cup) which is important in collagen synthesis and can prevent our skin from sun damage. So, while coconut water alone may not prevent our skin from aging, it does have properties that can benefit our skin.

Weight Loss

I’ve seen coconut water hyped as the key to weight loss. This seems to be a little misleading. Unfortunately, there is no one food or drink that will magically make you shed weight or cure all of life's problems (sorry!). Yes, coconut water is a healthier alternative to soda. So, if you are drinking excessive amounts of soda- coconut water, regular water, seltzer, or kombucha would all save you calories and sugar and may contribute to weight loss.

I've also seen claims that the fiber in coconut water helps to fill you up and aid in weight loss. While yes, fiber does help to fill you up, coconut water does not actually contain fiber.

Lower Blood Pressure, Prevent Heart Disease

Coconut water is high in potassium, with anywhere between 400 and 700mg per bottle. Potassium is an electrolyte and is important for muscle function (including the heart) and water balance. Studies have linked diets high in sodium (processed foods) and low in potassium (fruits and vegetables) to increased blood pressure. While we do know there is a connection between diet, sodium, potassium and heart health - it may be stretching the truth to say drinking coconut water will lower your blood pressure and prevent heart disease. Many Americans do not consume enough fruits and vegetables and if coconut water is something you enjoy it is a great way to increase the potassium in your diet.

 

Mood Booster

Magnesium plays a large role in maintaining normal nerve and muscle function, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Coconut water does contain a decent source of magnesium and magnesium deficiency has been linked with depression (here).

 

Hydrates Better Than Water

There is no research supporting this claim. If you are dehydrated you would need to drink a significant amount of coconut water (or regular water) to rehydrate- if you can tolerate large quantities, have at it.

 

Post-Workout Recovery

Coconut water is marketed as the perfect post-workout recovery drink. This is because it contains electrolytes and is especially high in potassium. This is great, except when we sweat we are mostly losing sodium, not so much potassium. After a workout, our bodies need water, carbohydrates, protein, and some sodium (especially after a good sweat).

 

 

Bottom Line:

Coconut water is a great alternative to soda and other sweetened beverages or even fruit juice. It contains no added sugars and is low in calories and is a good source of vitamins and minerals. Some of the claims we hear tend to stretch the truth, so while there are some health benefits it’s misleading to think that coconut water is your key to weight loss, heart health, and clear skin. If you like the taste of coconut water, enjoy, but a glass of water and a banana provide similar benefits (for a fraction of the cost).  

Healthier Cocktail Recipes for Your Summer Cookouts

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Memorial Day is just around the corner and for me that (usually) means summer is officially here!

With the warmer, sunnier, and longer days I'm finding both my clients and my friends are finding more opportunities to drink cocktails, microbrews, chilled wine, (or other drink of choice).

For whatever reason we seem to associate certain activities and seasons with various beverages. Growing up spending summers on The Cape, each afternoon we looked forward to cocktail hour on the porch after burning to a crisp on Neel Road Beach. The adults sipped cape codders and g&t's and us kids sipped ginger ale & cranberry juice.

With the warmer days, it's nice to come home after a long day to sit on the porch, beverage in hand, enjoying the last few hours of sunshine. I don't blame you. But do we really need multiple drinks each night? This time of year, with what seems like more opportunities to drink more frequently, it can be a tough balancing act when trying to lose weight or reach your health goals. 

Last week, I shared my tips for Choosing a Healthier Cocktail with my email subscribers (if you missed it you can download the tips below). I wanted to follow up with some actual healthier cocktail recipes. As always, the goal is not to be on a diet but rather to make healthier choices to benefit your health long- term.

 
 

The recipes and tips (above) are meant to help you choose healthier beverages without feeling deprived or like you're missing out on the fun. Because we wouldn't want that!

Keep these in mind for all your summer cookouts!

 

 
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Watermelon Mojito

Jessica Levinson, MS, RD, CDN
Culinary Nutrition Expert

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Raspberry Blackberry Spritzito

Whitney English Tabaie, RD
To Live & Diet in L.A.

Spicy Strawberry Rhubarb Margarita

Jessica Levinson, MS, RD, CDN
Culinary Nutrition Expert

Soconut Summer Cocktail

Ginger Hultin, RD
Champagne Nutrition

Frozen Mango Coconut Daiquiri

Marisa Moore, RD
Marisa Moore Nutrition

low sugar margarita

Low Sugar Beet Margarita

Kelly Jones, MS, RD, CSSD

healthy spritzer

Pinot Grigio Melon Ball Spritzer (and more!)

Abbey Sharp,RD
Abbey's Kitchen

Abbey also shares tips for choosing lower calorie cocktails, a Mango Kombucha Margarita and a Watermelon Mojito!

cucumber herb spritzer

Cucumber Herb Champagne Sparkler

Sharon Palmer, RD
The Plant Powered Dietitian

skinny margarita

Skinny Margarita

Christy Brissette, MS, RD
80 Twenty Nutrition

bourbon iced tea

Bourbon Iced Tea

Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RD
Shaw Simple Swaps

The next two are mocktails, but do as you please - add your favorite liquor or sip as is.

Berry Lavender Lemonade

Katie Pfeffer-Scanlan, RD
One Hungry Bunny

Strawberry Blood Orange Mocktail (and more!)

Lindsey Janiero, RD
Nutrition to Fit

 

Thank you to all the fabulous RDs who contributed recipes to this post! Be sure to check out their sites for more recipes and nutrition tips!