The Ultimate Guide to the Ultimate Drink
For over a year now I have been full–steam ahead on the coconut water hype train. If I don’t have a stash of the stuff in my fridge, I feel like a drug addict that doesn’t know where his next fix is coming from. If you have been living under a rock and are wondering what the heck coconut water is, let me break it down for you. Coconut water is harvested from young, green coconuts that have not grown large enough to develop the ‘milk’ that pours out of the hairy, brown coconuts you may be familiar with. The advantages of this product are that it is a natural substance packed with high levels of potassium, I describe it to friends as, “Gatorade without all the crap in it.” (Sugars, dyes, higher carbs and calories, etc.)
I have been preaching the power of coconut water to my friends for over a year now and find that the product has become necessary to my existence on two accounts. First, as a post-workout rehydration tool, nothing beats a cold coconut water and a jump in the pool. Second, coconut water is the only real ‘hangover’ cure that I have discovered in my extensive Hangover Reducing Research. Trust me, I’ve had a hangover or two in my day and downing a coconut water before bed and forcing one down in the morning/early afternoon is the only sure-fire way to make your head stop pounding and stomach stop turning.
The point of this blog is to guide you to the best coconut water for your needs. Store shelves have been inundated with fly by night coconut water brands as of late, and I’ll direct you to what I think are the best brands on the market.
Best post-workout rehydration coconut water
My go to coconut water after a workout is Naked ‘Pure’ coconut water. Many coconut waters today have added fruit juices, I avoid these sugary versions when rehydrating and prefer the straight stuff. Naked is the choice here for two reasons: availability and nutritional content. Naked is one of the most popular brands and easiest to find on store shelves. It is often sold refrigerated and placed near other ‘natural’ drinks and refrigerated fruit juices. An 11 ounce Naked coconut water packs just 50 calories and 620 mg of potassium (compared to 450 mg potassium in your average banana or just 75 mg in your average 22 oz Gatorade). Potassium has a slew of benefits and loading up on it right after a long run or intense circuit is my favorite way to rehydrate. The 11 ounce size is perfect to chug down poolside after a treadmill session and can easily be supplemented by a protein shake or glass of water if you have further refueling needs.
Best Hangover Cure Coconut Water
This one is a no doubter for me. Any of Vita Coco’s flavored coconut water varieties will do here. There is no better feeling than stumbling to the refrigerator after a late night and slamming down a cold Acai and Pomegranate Vita Coco. Follow that up with a black coffee and some bacon, and you are ready to get right back to it. (Not that I recommend that sort of thing, kids…) In the average 16 ounce container you are taking in about 120 calories and 460 mg of potassium. Not bad for a drink that can help you forget about singing N’SYNC karaoke the night before.
Vita Coco’s products can also be used as a preventative measure against the dreaded hangover. Last year in the Hamptons (Yea, I get down like that) I snagged a 33 ouncer and drank it down before a long night of imbibing on the beach. Worked like a freakin’ charm. The combination of the sweet fruit juice and rejuvenating coconut water create powerful combination that can get your brain and body functioning like a normal human being in no time. Though, there are two blatant reasons that Vita Coco didn’t get crowned the best All-Around coconut water by yours truly. Exhibit A and Exhibit B, those two dudes are my Number 1 and Number 2 least favorite people in all of sports, and maybe the world. For someone like me who has been brushing up on PR and Marketing as of late, I just couldn’t give the big prize to that brand! (All Northeastern baseball fanaticism aside, Vita Coco will still kick your hangover’s butt back to the bar where it came from!)
Best All-Around Coconut Water
In baseball, five-tool players are coveted building blocks for organizations because they excel at all aspects of the game: hitting for average, hitting for power, fielding, throwing, and running. Sure, specialized players are great, but C20 coconut water is the Ken Griffey Jr. to Naked’s Adam Dunn or Vita Coco’s Brett Gardner. C20 comes in a sturdy can that boasts 17.5 ounces for relatively the same price as the 11 ounce Naked, and much cheaper than the 16 ounce Vita Coco. On taste alone this product reigns above all, the key is that the coconuts are harvested in Thailand. I don’t know why, neither does Joe Rogan, but the Thai coconut water just tastes sweeter than other products on the market. The post workout rejuvenation benefits are still the same with C20, but let me tell you, if you think little kids are happy on Christmas morning, you should see me when I crack the fridge and spot an icy cold C20 after a night of throwing back a few too many Busch Lights. If you only have the funds to stock your fridge with one coconut water, this is your brand. C20 still packs the rehydration punch you need and tastes sweet enough to drink on a hungover Sunday morning. I plan on ordering at least two twelve packs of the stuff for an upcoming vacation that may involve an adult beverage or two.
Disclaimer: I am no fitness or nutrition expert. I workout daily and experience hangovers more often than I should. I can say that I drink a serious amount of coconut water and it has had a remarkable impact on both those events in my daily life. So take my words with a grain of salt, but believe me, the coconut water hype is the real deal!