Is Coconut Water or Watermelon Juice Better for Recovery?

Whether you’re lifting heavy, running, or taking a yoga class, there’s a post-workout beverage option for every form of physical activity. 

If you can’t decide if you should be reaching for coconut water for recovery or watermelon for muscle recovery, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered.

Here’s a rundown of the benefits of coconut water and watermelon juice for recovery and how to choose the right one for you.

coconuts for workout recovery

Coconut water benefits

Coconut water is, you guessed it, the water from coconuts. It’s naturally rich in electrolytes, especially potassium, which can help you hydrate post-sweat sesh. It can even help with overall recovery. 

Amy Shapiro, RD, notes that the sugar in coconut water helps to rebuild the glycogen stores in the muscles so they can work hard again the following day. Coconut water recovery, for the win! 

Just be sure to look for coconut water that’s not from concentrate and doesn’t include any added sugar (or is at least lower in added sugar). 

Watermelon juice benefits

If you’re a fan of drinking fruit-infused water, you may want to reach for a bottle of watermelon juice for muscle recovery. Naturally hydrating, watermelon is composed of 90% percent water. 

Watermelon juice is also high in electrolytes like magnesium and potassium. It also contains L-Citrulline, an amino acid that helps with the urea cycle and removes ammonia from the muscles, which may assist in recovery, explains Shapiro. This little molecule has been shown to enhance athletic performance, just like beetroot juice.

“It also improves vasodilation so it opens the blood vessels allowing more blood to flow to the muscles, which allows for better oxidation of the muscles and therefore improved performance and possible recovery,” notes Shapiro. 

Shapiro says watermelon juice also contains powerful antioxidants that help with cell regeneration and repair, including vitamin C.

The best beverage for recovery

Back to recovery. Which one is it then? Should you go with coconut water for recovery or watermelon for muscle recovery?

“They are pretty neck and neck when you compare electrolytes, hydration, sugar, and water,” says Shapiro. “Where they differ is vitamin C, which can help with inflammation and oxidation.” That means watermelon juice comes out just the tiniest bit ahead.

The bottom line: When it comes to post-workouts and optimal health, hydration is key — so whatever flavor you enjoy more, grab a glass and go for it. Both coconut water and watermelon juice are incredibly hydrating and super tasty, which can make you more inclined to keep sipping after your workout and throughout the day.

Happy sipping, everyone!

Eat Move Nutrition Recovery & Mobility

About Ashley Martens

Ashley Martens is a Wellness Writer based in Chicago, Illinois. With a background in a digital marketing coupled with her knowledge of general nutrition and a lifelong passion for all things health, wellness, fitness and nutrition, Ashley offers a healthy alternative to traditional writing. You can learn more Ashley and her writing over at her blog, Three to Five a Day.