The coconut water is dubbed to be the “Mother Nature’s sports drink“. It is naturally cholesterol and fat-free, low in calories, rich in potassium and super hydrating. Is Coconut Water Good for You?
Coconut water is the latest health craze, in fact, sports drinks that contain coconut water are being endorsed by celebrities and athletes.
It doesn’t only hydrate your body, but it also promises to help improve health issues from hangover to kidney stones and cancer.
But, is it really capable of providing nutritional value or is it just a hype?
Table of Contents
- What is Coconut Water?
- Nutrition Facts
- Health Benefits of Coconut Water
- Final Word
What is Coconut Water?
Coconut water is found inside a green, young coconut that is harvested between 5 to 7 months. It offers a sweet, nutty taste not to mention of being naturally refreshing. It also contains carbohydrate that is easily digested in the form of electrolytes and sugar.
It has been used in tropical countries for centuries as it is deemed to treat various health-related illnesses. As we know that coconut tree is believed to be the tree of life.
Coconut water is a great help during emergency situations as it can be used as IV hydration as it contains high electrolyte.
Knowing all the health benefits of coconut water, food and drink manufacturers used it in making sports drinks.
This liquid is rich in different vitamins and minerals that are essential for human health and phytochemicals as well. It also contains 10 grams of natural sugar and 46 calories each cup of coconut water. The good thing about it is that it is fat-free and has little protein content.
It is a high electrolyte drink because it contains about 600 mg of potassium. It also has 40 mg of sodium and it can suffice about 10% of magnesium and calcium daily needs (1).
Electrolytes play significant role in maintain the normal blood volume and it supports healthy heart. It prevents dehydration and reduce stress and fatigue. It also helps maintain muscle relaxation.
Research showed that coconut water contains cytokinin having anti-cancer properties. These are plant hormones that naturally occur and help in reducing the cancer cells’ growth.
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.20 g||1%|
|Dietary Fiber||1.1 g||3%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.043 mg||<1%|
Health Benefits of Coconut Water
Is coconut water good for you? Answer is yes! Coconut water is a healthy, safe beverage helpful for most people. Now, it’s about time to explore the benefits of this liquid supported by research.
Rehydrates your body
Coconut water is a perfect thirst quencher. As it contains high electrolyte, it can rehydrate your body particularly in case of diarrhea, excessive sweating and vomiting (2).
It is suggested to drink coconut water after doing exercise instead of other sports drinks. Aside from boosting rehydration, it can soothe your stomach to improve indigestion, gastroenteritis and acid reflux.
If you’re doing casual exercises, coconut water is a great hydration choice after a workout.
Lowers blood pressure
Coconut water prevents high blood pressure. A study showed that drinking this beverage for two weeks will make the systolic count 71% lower and diastolic count 29% lower. It showed that coconut water is more effective in lowering blood pressure than plain water.
The researchers believed that the high potassium content of coconut water can also reduce the risks of developing cardiovascular disease. Aside from potassium, it also has arginine that helps to relax the blood vessels, thus enhance blood circulation (3, 4).
Arginine increases the nitrous oxide levels that is beneficial to cardiovascular function. But, it is best to consume this amino acid and other vitamins and minerals from natural foods and drinks.
When you drink a glass of coconut water regularly, you can expect for reduction of your blood pressure. Even if you don’t suffer from hypertension, you should drink it before bed time to improve your blood circulation.
Helps improve kidney functions
Most diets are low in potassium and high in sodium. Sodium promotes fluid retention that’s why it stresses the kidneys. When you eat diet that is high in sodium, it will force your kidney to work harder in order to get rid the excess water.
Drinking a glass of coconut water provides potassium enough to help your kidney eliminate water. Likewise, the diuretic effect of potassium can prevent kidney stone formation. The arginine also improves the blood circulation in your kidneys.
Coconut water reduces the possibility of forming crystals in the urine (5).
Supports heart health
The coconut water is fat and cholesterol-free that’s why it supports heart health. It lowers the LDL or low density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol. By increasing the good cholesterol levels, the risk of developing heart diseases is at bay.
It also decreases the triglyceride levels and liver fat. Coconut water also contains anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiplatelet properties that improves circulation. With this, formation of plaque in the arteries is reduced, thus the risks of strokes and heart attacks are decreased (6, 7).
It resolves upset stomach
Many people believed that indigestion can lead to upset stomach. The truth is, upset stomach may be the result of food allergies and gastrointestinal infections. This can cause symptoms like bloating, nausea, loss of appetite and uneasy feeling.
If you’re experiencing inflamed stomach lining, the best thing to do is to drink coconut water to reduce inflammation through the help of tannins.
On the other hand, if the condition is the result of mild infections, coconut water can resolve the infection through the lauric acid content. Likewise, tannins have antibacterial properties that can treat stomach flu or protozoan infections.
Promotes regular bowel movements
To ensure good physical health, you should have regularly. The foods you eat may contain many undesirable and indigestible elements as well as toxins.
It is necessary to eliminate those toxins to avoid obstruction in the digestive tract. Keep in mind that most diseases originated from your gut.
With this, you should drink coconut water regularly so the soluble fiber in it can regulate your bowel movement.
Great post-workout drink
Doing strenuous activities can use up most minerals in your body including potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium. To avoid electrolyte imbalance and muscle breakdown, you should drink coconut water to replace those minerals immediately.
Instead of drinking other sports drinks, you should drink coconut water as it has enough salt concentration and composition similar to the tissue fluids. That’s why your body can easily absorb it.
In case you had perspired heavily, it follows that too much sodium was eliminated. To replenish the lost sodium, you can add a pinch of sea salt to the coconut water.
During workouts you may lost a lot of water that can lead to dehydration. To keep the proper functioning of every organ and tissue in the body, you must drink coconut water. Otherwise, severe dehydration can cause irregular heartbeat and sudden drop in blood pressure.
Coconut water has the capability to restore the fluid volume in the tissues and in the blood as it contains blood plasma and interstitial fluid.
Promotes weight loss
Coconut water is deemed to be helpful to lose weight. This refreshing drink has different bioactive enzymes that boost fat metabolism and help in digestion.
Aside from being a thirst quencher, this low-calorie drink is highly satiating and filling. That’s why it’s a good replacement for high-sugar drinks making it a valuable tool to lose weight.
Additionally, the coconut water has diuretic properties that alleviate bloating and water retention.
Lowers blood sugar level
Research showed that coconut water is beneficial for diabetic patients as it can lower the blood sugar levels. The fiber and digestible carb content of this health drink is suitable for a diabetic meal plan (8).
It also contains enough amount of magnesium that is useful to decrease the blood sugar levels and boost insulin sensitivity.
Coconut water isn’t only a healthy thirst quencher but it is also a health enhancer. It has been used as a health tonic in many countries where it is locally available.
This health drink is given to pregnant women and lactating mothers who need extra nutritional inputs. Young malnourished children, convalescents and elderly people were also given coconut water to obtain vitamins and minerals, cytokines and amino acids as well as phytochemicals.
Knowing all the amazing benefits of coconut water, it makes sense adding it to your everyday routine. It’s not a replacement for plain water, but a great option to other high sugar and calorie beverages.
However, think twice before purchasing commercial coconut water. Many of them lack the nutrients present in natural coconut water.
Coconut water is indeed good for you. So, drink up!
Dietitian with around 3 years of experience in assessing the nutritional needs of patients, counselling individuals, communicating the appropriate nutritional information to other members of the health care team and implementing nutritional care plans by following all the standards.