I was very curious about this new drink and was about to try some when a representative of ZICO contacted me about seeing the post on my blog. He offered to send me a case to try. Of course I accepted. ZICO is becoming a favorite among endurance athletes for training, as well as before, during and after long distance races, so I definitely wanted to check this stuff out.
Made with 100 percent pure coconut water, ZICO contains none of the added sugars and calories commonly associated with traditional sports drinks, plus it has low acidity. ZICO contains the five essential electrolytes that help to keep nerves firing, muscles moving and to help manage stress.
I'm a profuse sweater when I run, especially in the summer and because of this, hydration is a big problem. I often experience cramping in my calves from the depletion of my electrolytes. I was surprised to discover that Coconut juice has a huge amount of potassium (a key electrolyte) even more potassium than a banana and 15 times more than most sports drinks. This fact really caught my attention because potassium helps prevent cramping and promote recovery. Potassium also regulates blood pressure, cardiovascular health and helps you recover more quickly from exercise and stress. In addition to the potassium, ZICO naturally provides sodium, calcium, magnesium, and even a little protein.
Don't confuse coconut water with coconut milk. ZICO's coconut water doesn’t contain the fat of coconut milk. The coconut water comes from young coconuts before they develop the white meat that contains the fat and cholesterol in mature coconuts. ZICO contains no cholesterol
So, you're probably wondering how it worked for me. Well, so far....great! The first time I used ZICO, I was a little hesitant to carry it with me on a run as my main source of hydration because I tend to have a sensitive stomach. So, I drank an 11oz. container of ZICO about 30 minutes before my tempo run. I drank my regular hydration drink (Accelerade) during the run and then I rehydrated after my run with another ZICO. It worked very well. Didn't experience any stomach discomfort and I felt well hydrated before, during, and after.
I've run two more times since then, but during these runs, I used ZICO as my main source of hydration during as well as before and after. One of the runs was a long run (a 16-miler). Again, I had no adverse reactions and I felt very well hydrated. Best of all, I didn't experience any leg cramps during that long run. It was very humid and I sweated what seemed like a gallon of water. My shoes were sloshing! But the extra potassium in ZICO seemed to do the trick.
So, now you're wondering, "How much does this stuff cost?" Well, it is more expensive than buying a case of Gatorade at Cosco, but then again, it's all natural and (for me anyway) it's providing that extra ingredient (or at least more of it) that I need to prevent cramping. On the ZICO website you can buy a 12-pack of the natural-flavored ZICO for $23.99. That's about $1.99 a serving. That's a little more than you'd pay for a single serving of a name-brand hydration drink if you bought it at a convenience store (which I often end up doing). I was also pleasantly surprised to find ZICO at my local grocery store (Harris Teeter) and the local specialty food store (Whole Foods).
ZICO currently is available in three varieties—natural, mango and passion fruit-orange peel. ZICO says that even the flavored varieties are all-natural, as they contain flavor essences, meaning they come from the flower itself, not the fruit, so there's no additional sugar, calories, carbs or acidity. ZICO also comes in an easy-to-carry, eco-friendly TetraPak for on-the-go refreshment that retains the beverage’s authentic tropical flavor.