Health Benefits of Coconut Water
Coconut water is the clear nectar present inside the endosperm or interior cavity of a coconut.
One of the nature’s most rejuvenating drinks, coconut water is consumed worldwide for its rich nutritional profile and health benefits.
Coconut plant is a member of the Arecaceae family of the Palm trees and its botanical name is Cocos nucifera.
Coconut water is sterile and sweet and is rich in unique chemicals such as vitamins, sugar, enzymes, antioxidants, electrolytes, cytokine, amino acids and minerals like iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and zinc.
The flavor and taste of water may vary depending on the salinity of the soil, climate, distance from the seashore and much more.
Each nut contains between 200 and 1000 ml of water depending on the size.
It is a delicious and refreshing low-calorie natural beverage. Tender coconut water contains more nutrients than mature coconut water.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of coconut water.
1. Promotes Kidney Function
Drinking enough fluids is important for kidney function.
Although plain water is a great choice, one study suggests that coconut water may be even better.
Most diets are high in sodium and low in potassium. A single cup of coconut water can provide enough potassium to keep the kidneys in good health. Its diuretic effect is beneficial in preventing kidney stones formation. The arginine in coconut water increases blood circulation to all organs including kidneys.
2. Rehydrates the Body
Coconut water has the ability to rehydrate you very quickly because it is readily absorbed into the body.
Also, because of its electrolyte composition, coconut water is also used to rehydrate the body in case of dehydration and fluid loss due to diarrhea, vomiting or excessive sweating. A good source of carbohydrates, it also helps lift your energy level.
Research suggests that it can be used to rehydrate the body after exercise. In fact, a 2012 study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that coconut water has a similar positive effect as sports drinks.
In addition to boosting rehydration, coconut water is also easy on the stomach and thus is used to soothe tummy troubles like indigestion, acid reflux, and gastroenteritis.
It is also common for those who undertake severe fasting for extended periods to break it with a drink of coconut water.
3. Promotes Weight Loss
Coconut water is an ideal drink for weight loss. It is low in calories and easy on the stomach. In fact, this light and refreshing drink contain various bioactive enzymes that aid digestion and boost fat metabolism.
Plus, coconut water is rich in potassium, which helps in electrolyte balance. Excess sodium in the body tends to cause water retention, contributing to water weight. Thus, it helps flush out excess water as well as toxins from your body.
You can drink an 8-ounce glass of this health drink 3 or 4 times a week to facilitate weight loss. Do not drink coconut water in excess as eventually, it may add more calories than you want.
4. Balances pH Levels
Coconut water has an alkalizing effect that helps restore the body pH.
Stress, toxic load and a diet high in acid-forming foods, such as processed fast foods, often contribute to acidic pH levels that cause low energy and reduce the body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals.
Plus, an acidic pH contributes to problems like stressed liver function, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure and immune deficiency.
Coconut water helps alkalize the acidic pH levels caused by acidity and heartburn.
5. Lowers Blood Pressure
Coconut water is considered good for controlling high blood pressure, thanks to its vitamin C, potassium and magnesium content. Potassium, in particular, helps lower blood pressure by balancing out the negative effects of sodium.
One study gave coconut water to people with high blood pressure. 71 percent experienced significant improvements to systolic blood pressure, which is the higher number of a blood pressure reading.
Additionally, it contains an impressive 600 mg of potassium in 8 oz (240 ml). Potassium has been shown to lower blood pressure in people with high or normal blood pressure.
To help reduce high blood pressure, drink a cup of fresh coconut water twice a day. Bottled coconut water, however, may not be very beneficial as may be high in sodium.
6. Relieves Hangovers
Coconut water is also a great natural remedy for hangovers. Alcoholic drinks act as diuretics and they make the body dehydrated. Coconut water replenishes the electrolytes in the body and boosts hydration, thus making you feel better.
Also, the antioxidants in this revitalizing health drink fight oxidative stress caused by indulging in too much alcohol. It will also help settle an acid stomach.
You can make a smoothie by blending 2 cups each of unsweetened coconut water and ripe mangoes, 2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 fresh mint sprigs and ½ cup of ice.
7. Regulates Blood Sugar
Research has shown that coconut water can lower blood sugar levels and improve other health markers in the diabetic patients.
Coconut water contains amino acids and dietary fiber that help regulate blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity.
It also helps with common issues faced by people who have diabetes. It helps manage your weight. As it helps improve circulation, coconut water is also good for reducing symptoms like numbness in feet and a tendency to develop atherosclerosis.
8. Slows Down Aging
One of the most interesting constituents found in coconut water are the natural growth hormones, especially cytokinins.
Cytokinins are a class of phytohormones responsible for the different processes involving plant growth and development, which includes cell division, seed germination, stress response, root growth and much more.
This reduces the risk of developing degenerative and age-related diseases.
Refreshing and clear green coconut water also nourishes and hydrates your skin to keep it soft and smooth. In addition to drinking coconut water, you can mix sufficient coconut water with 2 teaspoons of sandalwood powder to make a paste, apply it on your skin and rinse it off when it dries completely to maintain younger-looking skin.
9. Treats Headaches
Most headaches, even migraines, are triggered by dehydration. In such cases, coconut water can be of great help in supplying electrolytes to the body and boosting hydration.
Coconut water is also rich in magnesium. People who suffer from migraines often have low levels of magnesium. Studies also suggest that magnesium can help reduce the frequency of migraine attacks.
10. Promotes Heart Health
Drinking coconut water may be helpful to reduce heart disease risk.
Cholesterol- and fat-free tender coconut water offer cardioprotective benefits. It helps lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL or the ‘bad’ cholesterol) and increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL or the ‘good’ cholesterol) levels, thus reducing the risk of heart disease.
In one study, rats that consumed coconut water had reductions in blood cholesterol and triglycerides. They also experienced significant decreases in liver fat.
Plus, coconut water has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiplatelet properties and helps improve circulation. Thus, it helps reduce plaque formation in the arteries and lowers the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Word of Caution
Do not drink coconut water for at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery as it may interfere with blood pressure control during and after surgery.
People with kidney dysfunction should consult their doctor before including coconut water in their health regimen.