One of the latest diet trends zipping around TikTok is called nature cereal, originally shared by user @natures_food and since popularized by millions of users (including the one and only Lizzo). The recipe is simple: you pour coconut water over pomegranate seeds and berries, adding ice cubes alá Lizzo if you want extra refreshment, and eat it with a spoon like cereal.
Sounds pretty nutritious to us, and Ariana Fiorita, a registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic's Center for Functional Medicine, agreed. Let's break down why and what potential drawbacks this breakfast-y snack has as well.
Health Benefits of Nature Cereal
- Berries and pomegranate seeds are loaded with healthy nutrients. "Berries and pomegranates contain antioxidants, various phytonutrients, fiber, and nutrients such as potassium and vitamin C," Fiorita told POPSUGAR. In addition, berries have anti-inflammatory properties (inflammation is linked to conditions like obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease) and also support "the body's natural detoxification system," she said.
- These fruits are low on the glycemic index. The berries in nature cereal are less likely to cause blood sugar spikes, Fiorita said, which may help you lower cholesterol and prevent you from getting hungry soon after eating. Low-GI foods are especially good choices for people with insulin resistance or diabetes, Fiorita added.
- Coconut water contains electrolytes. Natural coconut water is full of electrolytes like potassium, sodium, magnesium, and phosphorous, Fiorita said. "It may be beneficial in repleting fluids after extensive sweat loss," like after a tough workout or a long time in the sun, as well as preventing muscle cramps. Potassium also helps to lower blood sugar. And while many sports drinks can help you replenish electrolytes, natural coconut water has fewer added sugars and artificial ingredients.
- Nature cereal can help with digestion. The creator of this TikTok trend said that nature cereal aided his digestion, and Fiorita confirmed that this can be a benefit. "Digestion is fueled by adequate fiber and fluid intake," she explained. "Berries contain fibers which can promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut and support overall motility." Coconut water, meanwhile, has the water content and electrolytes to hydrate you, plus magnesium to "aid in muscle relaxation and contraction," Fiorita explained.
Potential Downsides to Nature Cereal
As nutritious as nature cereal is, Fiorita said there are a couple things you should know before making it your new daily breakfast.
- Coconut water is high in natural sugar. If you're diabetic or following the low-carb, low-sugar ketogenic diet, note that the natural sugar in coconut water "can add up," Fiorita said. A cup of coconut water without added sugars can still contain 11 to 12 grams of natural sugar.
- If you have kidney issues, be careful not to overdo the potassium. This high-potassium breakfast might not be a great choice for those with kidney problems, Fiorita said. That's because part of the kidney's job is to filter potassium out of the blood when there's too much of it. When your kidneys can't do that, it may lead to hyperkalemia (high levels of potassium in the blood), which can cause symptoms like muscle weakness, nausea, numbness. Sudden and severe cases may be life-threatening.
- By itself, nature cereal is not a balanced meal. While nutritious, nature cereal may not fill you up for the whole morning, Fiorita said, because it lacks the key macronutrients of fats and protein. Try rounding out the meal with a protein smoothie, eggs, tofu, or avocado toast.