I can’t remember if I learned it working at summer camp or while on Outward Bound, but the “clear and copious” pee guideline for monitoring the adequacy of your body’s hydration during hot summer months always stuck with me. Even Coraline knows it, and will excitedly inform me when her “pee is clear.” (I’ve gotten more than a few bemused glances in public over these reports.) In addition to making you vulnerable to heat stroke and wicked headaches, dehydration can zap your energy levels and make you irritable, whether you’re four or forty. A recent study found that just a five percent decrease in hydration causes a 30-40 percent decrease in energy.
Over the past several years, coconut water has gotten very popular as a top notch hydrator, especially in health and wellness circles. I’m sure I’ve even touted it here as a wonder beverage. But as with most things, an increase in quantity leads to a decrease in quality. The stuff right out of the coconut might be great for you, but the stuff on store shelves is a far cry. A few weeks ago I purchased a bottle and was so grossed out after the first sip I looked at the label, thinking it was past its expiration. It was not, but I was shocked at the ingredients: “coconut water from concentrate” and “natural flavors,” which is just a pretty term for MSG. Not such a health drink after all. In fact, there’s a lot not to love about coconut water. Here are a few not-so-fun facts about “nature’s sports drink”: