Coconut water is a tropical specialty drink that is often used as a symbol of the tropics’ natural abundance. Its popularity has since spread not only within tropical countries, but also to the rest of the world.
Lately, coconut is in high demand globally. It is enjoyably light, tasty, refreshing, and is said to taste much better when drank straight from the coconut shell, accompanied by the coconut flesh.
However, little do realize that coconut water is also plentiful of health benefits. Here are some interesting information about coconut water, as well as the health benefits of coconut water.
What is Coconut Water?
Coconut water is basically the liquid contained inside green coconuts. Coconuts harvested at 5 to 7 months old have the highest water content.
The coconut water is also the “premature” form of the coconut flesh, because the older it gets the more water will be transformed into the meat.
Coconut water, just like the main fruit is traditionally found and consumed by people of the tropics. People all over the world enjoy coconut water either for dessert, as a beverage, treatment of certain health conditions, into being an alternative source of hydration.
That has made the coconut water earn the nicknames “nature’s sports drink” as well as the “life enhancer.”
Nutritional Facts of Coconut Water
- Serving Size – 100 g
- Calories – 19
- Total Fat – 0.2 g (0% of DV)
- Saturated Fat – 0.2 g (1% of DV)
- Polyunsaturated Fat – 0 g (0% of DV)
- Monounsaturated Fat – 0 g (0% of DV)
- Cholesterol – 0 mg (0% of DV)
- Sodium – 105 mg (4% of DV)
- Potassium – 250 mg (7% of DV)
- Total Carbohydrate – 3.7 g (1% of DV)
- Dietary Fibre – 1.1 g (4% of DV)
- Sugar – 2.6 g
- Protein – 0.7 g (1% of DV)
- Vitamins and Minerals
- Vitamin A – 0%
- Vitamin B6 – 0%
- Vitamin B12 – 0%
- Vitamin C – 4%
- Vitamin D – 0%
- Calcium – 2%
- Iron – 1%
- Magnesium – 6%
The percentage of daily value (% of DV) above are according to a 2,000-calorie diet. The values may be different depending on one’s personal calorie needs.
What are the Health Benefits of Coconut Water?
1. Rich in Several Nutrients at Once
This is the first of the fifteen health benefits of coconut water.
Coconut water is the juice that is formed naturally inside the coconut fruit, and is a good source of various useful nutrients, such as fibre, protein, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, as well as calcium.
All of them constitute 9 grams, 3 grams, 2 grams, 10%, 15%, 17%, 17%, 11% and 6% of the recommended daily value (RDI) respectively.
2. Has Antioxidant Properties
Coconut water also has wonderful antioxidants that protect the body against destructive free radicals.
This claim is verified by a study, in which rats with liver damage exhibit significant improvement in oxidative stress when treated using coconut water compared to rats who aren’t treated with coconut water at all.
3. Good for Diabetes Treatment and Prevention
Diabetes is the increase of blood sugar levels up until the abnormal levels. Studies that use diabetic animals have proven that coconut water is indeed good for the disease.
Intakes of coconut water towards diabetic rats have shown improvements in blood glucose rates as well as the reduction of oxidative stress.
The improvement is partially attributed to magnesium, which increases insulin sensitivity as well as reduces blood sugar levels.
4. Prevents the Development of Kidney Stones
Drinking adequately prevents the development of kidney stones. Mineral water does this job well, whereas coconut water does this job even better.
Past studies that used rats confirmed that coconut water prevents the formation and sticking of crystals at their kidney and the rest of the urinary tract. However, more research is still needed to solidify this theory.
5. Cures Headache as well as Migraine
Those who suffer from headaches and migraines every now and then are recommended to consume coconut water regularly.
Coconut water contains magnesium, which is good for migraine as well as headaches. However, one should take note that this only applies to light to moderate headaches, because severe headaches still need the advice of a medical expert for treatments.
6. Reduces and Manages Blood Pressure
Coconut water is effective in lowering blood pressure as well as the formation of blood clots in the arteries, which also endangers one’s life.
This is possible thanks to the outstanding amount of potassium it has, at 600 mg per 240 ml.
Potassium is the mineral needed to lower or normalize blood pressure, particularly for those who suffer from hypertension.
7. Healthy Sports Drink
Before the invention of modern isotonic drinks, coconut water is used for the restoration of electrolytes such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, plus sodium, and hydrations lost after exercising or doing intense activities.
The result of coconut water as an alternative to isotonic drinks are almost similar to that of isotonic drinks themselves, and yet it also causes less nausea or stomach discomfort.
8. It is also Hydrating
The point before states that coconut water is naturally hydrating. In the meantime, it’s also reported to be tastier than water, with a sweet and nutty flavour.
Also, coconut water is still safe for anyone who would like to request a low carbohydrate or low-calorie beverage.
The best thing is that, it can be purchased directly from the fruit or packaged in store shelves. Obtaining a healthy yet tasty beverage could never get this easy!
9. A Stress-relief Beverage
Some electrolytes contained by coconut water, such as calcium and magnesium, deals with stress and also muscular tension.
Sufficient intake of calcium allows muscular relaxation, which leads to lesser risks of complications from cramps to heart attacks.
In the meantime, magnesium deals with stress through the parasympathetic nervous system, which aids the release of mental relaxation, and the release of serotonin, which is the hormone that brings good moods.
10. Minimizes Cholesterol
Consumption of coconut water also helps to reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases as well as cholesterol.
A 2006 study discovered that rats who were fed with coconut water had decreased chances of heart attack.
Researchers believe that this is caused by the electrolyte and mineral contents of coconut water, such as magnesium, potassium and calcium.
11. Diminishes Triglycerides as Well
In addition to diminishing cholesterol, coconut water diminishes triglycerides too.
Related to the rat experiment described above, after 45 days, both triglycerides as well as cholesterol were decreased significantly to a rate that nearly matched the drug, statin.
12. Helps Weight Loss
Coconut water helps the loss of weight in two ways; namely through the promotion of metabolism as well as curbing appetites.
Besides, it has zero fat and few positive calories which still makes the coconut water a healthy beverage.
13. Beneficial for Expecting Mothers
Coconut water is beneficial for the fetus, as well as the mother herself.
It provides intake of essential minerals like magnesium, potassium, vitamins C and B complex, as well as amino acid for the fetus, and also fibre to help the mother manage her weight.
14. Improves the Skin and Hair
Hair damage could be prevented by drinking coconut water for scalp nourishment, which results in healthy hair root, follicles and strands.
As for the skin, it can also be used as a moisturizer to prevent dry, damaged skin.
15. Maintains Kidney Health
This is the final of the fifteen health benefits of coconut water.
Coconut water can treat various diseases involving the kidney, thanks to its antibacterial properties that enhances the cleansing of foreign particles from the body.
On the other hand, coconut water also has potassium to prevent the creation of kidney stones.