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If Coconut Water Is the New Kale, Count Me In

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I know you might be one of those people who has known this for some time, but clearly, mainstream consumers have latched on to the benefits of coconut water. We have created a coconut water craze, demanding it explosively, the way we did kale, just three years ago.

This week, HuffPost reported that coconut water sales are skyrocketing out of control. Meanwhile, Jamba Juice announced it's adding coconut water to its juice blends for the summer, and coconut water is apparently the focus of the next big beverage war. The celebrity obsession with coconut water is changing lives in tropical countries, where workers are delighted to keep up with demand. In fact, Madonna and Rihanna are some of the celebs who have invested in coconut water companies.

Count me in on this craze. While I've scaled back on kale (opting for arugula and collard greens to mix it up a little), up until a year ago, I disliked all things coconuts, including air fresheners, pina coladas, coconut desserts, sunscreens that smelled like coconuts -- everything. One day, I was so thirsty after a super sweaty yoga class that I took a swig of coconut water and got hooked. After that, I couldn't get enough. I now drink at least one 33-ounce bottle per day, but I could drink two. When traveling in a tropical climate, I now chase down coconut vendors, salivating at the sight of the dude's machete cracking open that young coconut. Since I've done this 180 on coconut water, I've noticed that I feel more energized, and my skin is more radiant.


A little surprised with myself, I took the time to identify and research why my sudden and complete obsession with coconut water is worth every dollar I spend supporting the farmers and making the Madonnas and Rihannas even richer. Am I nuts to have changed my ways so quickly?

Here are five good and healthy reasons why I think I'm justified in joining the craze for coconut water.

Less Fatigue, Great Muscles
One of my big bottles gives me more than half my entire dose of potassium for the day. Why is potassium so important, especially for an active yoga teacher like me? It supports nerve and muscle function (think: fewer cramps, less fatigue), and it keeps high blood pressure in check -- great for me, because hypertension runs in my family. Bananas are famous for this.

Protection Against Illness
Vitamin C is one of the most important vitamins for immunity and disease prevention. Just one cup of coconut water (about one-fourth of that 33-ouncer) gives me nearly all I need for the day. In the past year, I've hardly had the sniffles, so I am available to give 100 percent toward supporting students who show up for class in the name of health. Still, I'm careful to balance getting vitamin C from other natural sources, such as oranges, cantaloupes, red peppers, kiwis and broccoli.

Post-Sweat Pick-Me-Up
Coconut water is low-cal and has less sugar than all those sports drinks, yet it's just as effective at restoring electrolyte balance. After sweating out the toxins during my own yoga practice, I need to replenish electrolytes to generate more energy and keep water and fluids moving throughout my body.

Great Energy, Glowing Skin
I am more likely to drink more regular water because have a new awareness of how good I feel when I'm hydrated, due to my coconut water addiction, which helped me feel so good in the first place. Here's the deal: Your body's overall water content is more balanced, which gives you more energy and supports your body's systems internally. Hydration also gives your skin a glow, because it's moist and nourished from the inside.

Stress Relief and Less Stress Eating
Coconut water is high in vitamin B, which is known to make energy and help manage stress and anxiety. Not only do I get happy when I drink it, because I like it, but vitamin B supports my body's tissues, which can be worn out from (among other things) stress. Even though I practice and teach yoga, I'm still human, and life still has its stresses.

I'm coming to grips with the fact that I must budget for this relatively new obsession of mine, but I don't mind. Feeling energetic, not taking sick days, glowing from the inside out... it's all priceless.

But coconut water, that's it for me. I'm still not a fan of coconut cake or pina coladas; I'd rather run after the machete-wielding coconut guy and work up a sweat, in which case, the coconut water will be just the thing I need.