BENEFITS OF COCONUT WATER
Coconut water is not only naturally sweet and moisturizing, but it also contains several important nutrients, including minerals that many people don’t get enough of.
Here are 7 health benefits of coconut water.
HELPS LOWER BLOOD SUGAR (DIABETES)
In a 2015 study, diabetic rats treated with coconut water maintained better blood sugar levels than the control group. The same study also found that rats given coconut water had lower hemoglobin A1c levels, indicating better long-term blood sugar control.
A more recent 2021 study with rats with diabetes also found that coconut water lowered blood sugar. More studies are needed to confirm these effects in humans.
However, another added benefit of coconut water for blood sugar is that it is a good source of magnesium, which can increase insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.
With that in mind, it’s important to note that coconut water contains carbohydrates (which break down into sugars in the body). So if you have diabetes or prediabetes, talk to your doctor or nutritionist before adding it to your diet.
HELP PREVENT KIDNEY STONES
Although plain water is a good option, two small studies suggest that coconut water may be even better.
Kidney stones form when calcium, oxalate, and other compounds combine to form crystals in the urine. These crystals can form small stones. While some people are more susceptible than others, kidney stones affect about 12% of the world’s population. In a 2013 study on rats with kidney stones, coconut water prevented the crystals from sticking to the kidneys and other parts of the urinary tract. It also reduced the number of crystals formed in the urine.
In a 2018 study involving eight people, researchers found that coconut water increased potassium, chloride, and citrate in urine in people without kidney stones, which means coconut water can help cleanse the system and die to keep stone chance low.
Because one study involved animals and the other is so small, much more research needs to be done on the benefits of coconut water for reducing the risk of kidney stones.
GOOD SOURCE OF SEVERAL NUTRIENTS
Coconuts grow on trees scientifically known as Cocos nucifera in tropical climates and are botanically considered a fruit.
Coconut water is the liquid found in the center of a young green coconut. Helps nourish the fruit. As the coconut matures, which takes 10 to 12 months, some of the liquid remains while the rest matures into the solid white flesh known as coconut flesh.
Coconut water usually comes from young coconuts, about 6-7 months old, although it can also be found in mature fruits. A medium green coconut provides about 1/2 to 1 cup of coconut water.
Coconut water is 94% water and has very little fat. Not to be confused with coconut milk, which is made by adding water to grated coconut. Coconut milk is about 50% water and quite high in fat.
One cup (240 ml) also contains 60 calories (Source):
Carbs: 15 grams
Potassium: 15% of the DV
Calcium: 4% of the daily value
Sugar: 8 grams
Phosphorus: 2% of the DV
Magnesium: 4% of the DV
Free radicals are unstable molecules that are formed in cells during metabolism. Its production increases in response to stress or injury.
When there are too many free radicals, your body goes into a state of oxidative stress, which can damage your cells and increase your risk of disease.
Animal research has shown that coconut water contains antioxidants that can help modify free radicals so they do not cause further damage.
In a 2012 study, insulin-resistant rats were treated with a high-fructose diet containing coconut water. Free radical activity decreased, as did blood pressure, triglycerides, and insulin levels.
Another 2014 study found that damaged rat livers showed a significant improvement in oxidative stress when treated with coconut water compared to livers that received no treatment.
A third study from 2016 highlighted the benefits of coconut water extract in rats fed a high-fat diet. Coconut water not only helped lower cholesterol markers but also demonstrated “antioxidant power”
While these studies are interesting, it’s important to note that no human studies have been done on the antioxidant power of coconut water, and each of the animal studies used different dosages and settings.
SOURCE OF HYDRATION
Natural coconut water is lightly sweetened with a subtle nutty flavor. It is also quite low in calories and carbohydrates.
It’s the freshest straight from the fruit, but if you can’t stock your fridge with fresh coconuts, there are plenty of brands of coconut water on the shelves today.
Just read the ingredients to make sure you’re getting 100% coconut water. Some bottle brands may contain added sugar or flavoring.
You can use this tropical liquid as a base for smoothies, chia seed pudding, salad dressing, or as a substitute for plain water anytime you want a little natural sweetness.
Coconut water is a delicious, natural electrolyte-rich beverage that can benefit your heart, lower blood sugar, improve kidney health, and keep you cool and hydrated after a workout.
Although more controlled human studies are needed to confirm many of these properties, the research to date is encouraging.
BENEFICIAL FOR HEART HEALTH
Drinking coconut water can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
In an earlier study from 2008, researchers fed rats a diet high in fat and cholesterol. They also fed a group high doses of coconut water (4 ml per 100 grams of body weight).
After 45 days, the coconut water group showed reductions in cholesterol and triglyceride levels, similar to the cholesterol-lowering effect of a statin.
Remember that it was a very high dose. From a human perspective, this is equivalent to a 68kg person consuming 2.7 liters of coconut water per day.
A 2005 study suggests that coconut water may also be beneficial in lowering blood pressure in people with hypertension, but more research is needed in this area.
One reason coconut water may be linked to lower blood pressure is its impressive potassium content (500 mg of potassium in 8 ounces). Potassium has been shown to lower blood pressure in people with high or normal blood pressure.
BENEFICIAL AFTER EXERCISE
Coconut water may be the perfect beverage to help restore hydration and replenish electrolytes lost during exercise.
Electrolytes are minerals that perform several important functions in your body, including maintaining proper fluid balance. Some vital electrolytes are potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calcium.
Because coconut water contains electrolytes like potassium and magnesium, several studies have shown that it may be more beneficial than plain water for post-workout rehydration.
In fact, a small study in Brazil in 2014 found that coconut water improved exercise capacity better than water or a sports drink on a very hot day.