Although coconut water has a reputation for curing disease and ailments, its only proven benefits include re-hydration and replenishing electrolytes. It is most often used by athletes.
There are claims that coconut water cures everything from diabetes to aging. However, medical research has yet to substantiate these cures. Instead, some athletes use coconut water as a sports drink. It contains electrolyte minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and chloride. In fact, it has more potassium per serving than bananas, which are well-known for their potassium content. However, replenishing potassium after exercise may be less important than once thought. This is because more sodium is lost during heavy exercise than potassium, according to Purdue University.
As a natural sports drink, coconut water has its benefits. Unlike mainstream electrolyte drinks, coconut water is all natural. It contains no added colors or sugars, and has fewer calories than sports drinks. Coconut water is fat- and cholesterol-free, and also provides calcium, zinc, and phosphorus.
Providing electrolytes and hydrating the body are essential steps to maintaining overall health. Electrolytes help maintain muscle function and balance the body's fluids. Suffering from improperly balanced electrolytes results in weakness, heart palpitations, and muscle cramping. Chronic dehydration leads to ailments such as headaches, fatigue, constipation, and decreased urine output.