Coconut water is a treasured summer drink to combat the heat. Everyone relishes fresh coconut water in the warm summer months. It helps you fight the scorching summer heat and keeps you energised throughout the day. But did you think coconut water is only a good old summer refreshment? Well, it’s about time you reconsider it.
Coconut water is called the fluid of life. However, it is more than just a naturally sweet refresher. It offers a variety of essential nutrients, including minerals that many people may lack. Coconut water is also low in calories and naturally devoid of fat.
In addition, it contains as much potassium as a banana! But that’s not all. These are just some of the numerous benefits coconut water has to offer.
What is Coconut Water?
Coconut water is a revitalising drink. It has a delicately sweet, nutty taste.
Coconut water contains sugar and electrolytes but as readily digestible carbs. Coconut water is a transparent fluid found in the core of green coconuts. It is low in calories and sodium. But has more potassium than a sports drink.
Coconut juice is a term used interchangeably with coconut water. Both refer to the mildly sweet and rejuvenating clear beverage. It comes from tender coconut and may also contain pulp or jelly.
Tender Coconut Water
Coconut water has long been appreciated in tropical locations and has earned various names. Tender coconut water is the water we get from the green coconuts. Like coconut juice, tender coconut water also means coconut water.
Unlike coconut milk, the tender coconut water/juice is fat-free and low in calories. It is also high in electrolytes like potassium and low in sodium. Thus, it led to earning the moniker- nature’s sports drink.
Nutritional Value of Coconut Water
One glass (240 ml) of coconut water contains:
- Calories: 60
- Carbs: 15 gm
- Fats: 0 gm
- Sugar: 8 gm
- Calcium: 4% of the daily value (DV)
- Magnesium: 4% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 2% of the DV
- Potassium: 15% of the DV
Is Coconut Water Good for You?
Coconut water is a great beverage option. Owing to its nutritional content, it carries a multitude of health benefits. That said, ordinary water is the gold standard for hydration. But you must try coconut water if you are looking for additional health benefits.
Why is Coconut Water Good for You?
Coconut water is a boost for post-workout hydration. It is full of antioxidants, amino acids and is also heart-friendly. As a bonus, coconut water may also provide anti-ageing benefits!
Intriguing right? But there’s more. To better appreciate this fluid of life, let us look at the health benefits of coconut water.
Benefits of Coconut Water
Coconut water can be a great addition to your diet. It helps in hydration while being low in calories and fats. It is also full of electrolytes. However, before you crack open a coconut, be sure you understand how it may impact those with medical issues.
Health Benefits of Tender Coconut Water:
1. Beneficial After Workout
Are you a fanatic of sports drinks? Well, you are sure to relish coconut water. Exercise and coconut water often go hand in hand. Sports drinks may be high in added sugars and flavours. While coconut water is similar to a sports drink, it is low in calories and carbohydrates. It also is free from additives. Hence, coconut water is primarily connected to exercise.
Coconut water is an elixir of electrolytes. These are minerals with an electrical charge. In addition, electrolytes may be present in your blood, urine and sweat. They are essential to various processes that keep your body going. For example, electrolytes are necessary for the proper functioning of your nerves and muscles.
Electrolytes also help to maintain your body’s environment. They do so by keeping you hydrated and maintaining your internal pH.
Potassium, sodium, and magnesium are the electrolytes that play a significant role in the allure of coconut water. And coconut water can also boost hydration.
Coconut water is a great post-workout drink due to all its rehydrating properties.
2. Low Calorie
Coconut water is a suitable option for higher calorie drinks. Coconut water provides only 60 calories in a glass. Most beverages (like sodas or juice) have more sugar and carbs than coconut water. There are also more minerals and electrolytes in coconut water. The primary is potassium.
Coconut water can thus provide refreshment with lower calories than a sugary beverage. However, you have to be mindful when getting packed coconut water. Make sure to be careful about beverage selection and read labels. Avoid drinks with added sugar. They are no different from other sugary beverages. Instead, go for plain coconut water.
Coconut water has way more potassium than a sports drink. A glass (240ml) of coconut water contains the same potassium as a banana. Unfortunately, the majority of people fall short of the daily potassium requirement. Coconut water gives 405 mg of potassium per cup. And this might benefit you to avoid cramping.
Potassium regulates fluid and electrolyte balance in our bodies. Therefore, it is essential to maintain this balance during exercise. In addition, coconut water contains more potassium than sodium. Hence, it may help stabilise the influence of salt on blood pressure.
The reactive molecules that our cells generate are known as Free radicals. Our cells produce it during metabolism. Stress or damage prompts their production. Too many free radicals in your body will cause a state of oxidative stress. It is harmful and can heighten your risk of illness.
Coconut water also offers a range of antioxidants. They help in the reduction of oxidative stress. It also helps combat the free radicals generated during exercise. However, processing and heat pasteurisation of coconut water decrease antioxidant content. To receive the most antioxidants, go for fresh coconut water.
Coconut water includes antioxidants that prove helpful in animal studies, but human studies are insufficient.
5. May Lower Blood sugar
Coconut water may manage blood sugar management in diabetic animals. But similar studies on humans are lacking. Nevertheless, coconut water also contains magnesium. Therefore, it is another benefit of coconut water.
Magnesium may help improve insulin sensitivity. In addition, it will decrease blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.
That said, it is crucial to remember that coconut water has carbohydrates. However, our body converts carbs into sugars. If you have diabetes, talk to your health care professional before including coconut water in your diet.
6. Amino Acids
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Therefore, they help in various body functions like tissue healing.
A study states that coconut water has high amino acids. For example, Alanine, arginine, cysteine, and serine concentration are more elevated than cow’s milk. In addition, coconut water is abundant in arginine. This amino acid supports the response to stress (like the stress caused by a heavy workout). Arginine may also aid in the maintenance of a healthy heart and supports the immune system.
Cytokines are tiny proteins. They regulate the development and function of the immune system. Cytokines alert the immune system to do their job when they are released. They also influence the formation of all blood cells. Additionally, cytokines affect the growth of cells that help in the body’s immune responses.
Coconut water contains cytokinins. These substances have anti-ageing and anti-cancer effects. But as of now, no substantial research shows that coconut water prevents cancer.
8. Prevention of Kidney Stones
Kidney stones develop when calcium, oxalate, and other crystals form urine crystals. These crystals can further combine to make small stones. Therefore, it is essential to stay hydrated to avoid kidney stones. Plain water is a great option, but coconut water may also work as a great defence.
One study shows that coconut water may be an excellent choice in preventing kidney stones. Coconut water flushes the chloride and citrate in the urine of healthy people. In addition, it shows that coconut water may effectively wash out the system. As a result, it helps lower the risk of stones.
But this study was performed only on eight people. Since the data source is small, more research on the role of coconut water on kidney stone prevention is needed.
9. May Lower Cholesterol
Triglyceride (TG) is a type of fat present in the blood. Excess calorie converts to triglycerides in the body and is stored as fat cells. It works as an energy store for the body. But having many in your blood can raise your risk of diseases.
A study has demonstrated that tender coconut water lowers triglyceride (TG) and free fatty acids in rats. Moreover, there was a decrease in total cholesterol and low-density lipid (the bad cholesterol). On the other hand, coconut water also increases high-density lipids (good cholesterol).
It shows that coconut water tends to improve cholesterol and blood lipid levels. Thus, it may help manage various diseases. However, this data is present from animal studies. Further research on humans is needed to solidify this claim.
10. Good for Heart Health
Coconut water may lower total cholesterol, bad cholesterol and TG. As a bonus, it raises high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol) levels. High levels of high-density lipoprotein can decrease the risk of heart disease. All these properties of coconut water may protect the heart.
A study shows that coconut water has a heart-protective effect in rats. Tender coconut water protected the rats from the development of myocardial infarction (Heart attack).
Additional Benefits of Drinking Coconut Water
Now that you know about coconut water’s health benefits, let’s have a look bonus perks of drinking coconut water.
11. Gives Radiant Skin
Dehydration can cause dry, flaky skin. Coconut water can help you meet your hydration needs.
It also promotes circulation. It will leave you with plump, glowing skin. The antioxidants in coconut water may also have anti-ageing effects.
12. Prevents Constipation
Coconut water has magnesium. This mineral helps in digestion and keeps the gut healthy.
13. Helps During Illness
Your body might lose a lot of fluid through vomiting and diarrhoea when you are sick. Coconut water can improve hydration and electrolyte balance. It works better than plain water.
14. Helps in Weight Loss
Hydration is crucial. It is vital for replenishing every cell in the body and metabolism. Many people confuse thirst for hunger. It leads to overeating and weight gain. Coconut water also contains fewer calories than other beverages (like soda and juice). The bottom line? Coconut water may help in weight loss.
15. For Hangovers
Gulp down a glass of coconut water next time you have a hangover. It’s high in potassium and is non-acidic. So, it won’t upset your stomach and soothe your hangover.
Recipes Using Coconut Water
Fresh coconut water straight from the fruit is undoubtedly soothing. But there are several refreshing recipes with tender coconut water.
#1 Coconut Water Lemonade
- Fresh coconut water- 2 cups
- Fresh lemon juice of 4 to 5 lemons
- Sugar/ honey- 2 tbsp
- Ice- 4 to 6 cubes
- Mint leaves (for garnishing)
- Combine coconut water, lemon juice, and sugar/honey in a jar.
- Stir to mix well. Add ice into the glass.
- Pour the coconut water lemonade into glasses.
- Garnish with mint leaves. Serve cool.
#2 Coconut Water Smoothie
- Fresh spinach– 1 cup
- Coconut water- 1 cup
- Orange– ½
- Pineapple, diced- ½ cup
- Banana– ½
- Chia seeds (optional)- 1 tsp
- Add spinach, orange, pineapple and coconut water to the blender.
- Puree until smooth. Transfer the smoothie into a bowl/ mug.
- Add chia seeds and enjoy.
Coconut Water: Precautions
Coconut water is typically safe to drink and supplies natural electrolytes. However, there are a few exceptions to keep in mind.
1. Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
There is not much data available on the safety of coconut water and pregnancy. However, it may be safer to avoid it during pregnancy/ nursing due to its cooling effect on the body.
2. Low Blood Pressure
Coconut water has the potential to decrease blood pressure. However, talk to your nutritionist before drinking coconut water if you have blood pressure issues.
During and after surgery, coconut water may affect blood pressure regulation. Therefore, stop drinking coconut water at least two weeks before the surgery.
4. High Blood Potassium
Coconut water is abundant in potassium. Avoid drinking coconut water if you already have high potassium levels in your blood.
5. During Renal Failure/Kidney Disease
Consult your healthcare professional before drinking coconut water if you suffer from kidney disease. It is because coconut water is rich in potassium. This mineral is typically beneficial to the body. However, when the kidneys fail, they cannot eliminate extra potassium. Thus, it is essential to keep track of your potassium intake if you suffer from renal failure.
6. In Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis can cause a decrease in salt levels in the body. Some individuals with cystic fibrosis require fluids or medications to enhance salt levels. It is often in the case of sodium levels. Coconut water has higher potassium than sodium. Hence, drinking it may lead to an imbalance of sodium and potassium. Do not consume coconut water to increase your salt levels if you have cystic fibrosis.
Coconut water is a delightful, electrolyte-rich nature’s beverage. Moreover, it comes with a plethora of health benefits. But there is a need for further human studies to confirm several of these features. Nonetheless, the current evidence looks promising.
If you add this tropical beverage to your diet, make sure to opt for fresh coconut water. There may also be a variety of brands in your local grocery store. Be mindful and avoid coconut water with added sugar.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What are the benefits of drinking coconut water?
A. Coconut water provides a plethora of health benefits. Rich in antioxidants, heart-protective and may manage blood sugar. It may even prevent kidney stones.
Q. How much coconut water should you drink in a day?
A. A healthy person can consume 2-3 glasses of coconut water in a day. But if you suffer from any disease, contact your health care professional and talk to them about it. And if you are pregnant, you may want to limit the intake of coconut water.
Q. Is coconut water healthier than water?
A. Coconut water is a low-calorie drink with no fat and multiple benefits. It is to achieve hydration along with all the other perks. But you need to consume water to meet your daily fluid needs.
Q. Why is coconut water bad for you?
A. Coconut water is generally safe to consume. But people who have high blood potassium and kidney disease should avoid it. It is also safer to limit coconut water intake when pregnant/ nursing. Consult your healthcare provider if you suffer from any disease.
Q. What is the best time to drink coconut water?
A. You can drink coconut water anytime. But if you are looking for digestive benefits, drink it on an empty stomach.
Q. What happens if you drink coconut water on an empty stomach?
A. Drinking coconut water on an empty stomach may improve immunity, digestion and metabolism.
Q. Is coconut water good for your skin?
A. Yes, coconut water is excellent for your skin. Drinking coconut water can help you reach your daily hydration goals. It also encourages circulation, makes sure you recover from dry and dull skin. It will result in plump, radiant skin. Coconut water may also have anti-ageing effects due to the antioxidants.
Q. Can diabetics drink coconut water?
A. Coconut water may help lower blood sugar levels. However, keep in mind that it is a source of carbohydrates. If you have diabetes, it may be better to consult your healthcare provider before you drink coconut water.
Q. Is coconut water good for hydration?
A. Yes, coconut water is excellent for hydration. It is a fluid rich in electrolytes and keeps you hydrated.
Q. Is coconut water good for kidneys?
A. Coconut water is rich in potassium. Consult your healthcare professional before drinking coconut water if you have renal disease. Studies have shown coconut water to be beneficial for preventing kidney stones. But the data lacks large scale human studies.
Q. Is coconut good for the liver?
A. Coconut water is rich in antioxidants. Hence, it may protect the liver.
Q. Does coconut water increase weight?
A. Drinking coconut water in a moderate amount will not increase weight. It is low in calories and has zero fat.
Q. Is there a lot of sugar in coconut water?
A. Natural, fresh coconut water does not have added sugar. However, packed coconut water may contain added sugar. So, be mindful while purchasing and always read labels.
Q. Is coconut water keto?
A. Coconut water (240 ml) has 15 gm of carbohydrates. So it may be a keto drink if you remain under the daily carb levels.