Your Facebook questions answered: Is coconut water a hangover cure?

“Santa brought me a can of coconut water. The tag attached says it’s a hangover cure. Santa overestimates how much I drink. (By a lot!) But, I’m curious about the claims about coconut water. Is it any more effective at rehydration than tap water?”, asks Enlightened Eater Facebook fan Alison Smiley.

Alison, coconut water, coconut oil and all things coconut are hot commodities these days as people look for miracle foods. The list of claims, though, may be based more on hype than actual fact.

Firstly, there are two camps when it comes to coconut water: some love it while others hate it. My experience, while somewhat limited, has been has been wonderful. I’ve sipped coconut water from  freshly cut coconuts  in a few different tropical settings. I’m sure the ambiance contributed to my enjoyment.  That being said, it’s not on my beverage list at home. I usually prefer calorie-free beverages, rather than those containing sugar.

If you hate the taste, it’s not the ideal way to replace your fluids – something that’s needed when you have a hangover (as a hangover is very much about dehydration).  If you love the taste, it’s easy to knock back lots. But here’s where the question of benefits comes in.  Unlike water, it’s not calorie free. It clocks in at  over 5 calories per ounce (just a little less than a sports drink). It supplies much more potassium but less sodium than the average sports drink- both of which are beneficial when you’re trying to rehydrate. Because of the low sodium counts, for those involved in endurance activities, sports drinks would be a better choice.

If you ask 10 people what the cure is for a hangover, you’ll likely get 10 different answers, many of which are likely myths. Drinking water and eating some food containing both sodium and potassium (even a glass of tomato juice is helpful) will help you feel better.

Where fluids can really offer benefit is preventing a hangover in the first place. If you drink two glasses of water between every alcohol-containing beverage, you’ll simply drink less alcohol. After all, there is a limit as to how much in the way of fluids you can imbibe.

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Categories: Your Questions Answered

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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