Packed with nutrients and having a wonderful taste, coconut water not only quenches your thirst but is also a drink that is extremely beneficial to your health. As such, this nutritious and healthy drink is emerging rapidly as a popular and favorite choice of beverage for many people around the world who are passionate about improving their health the natural way. Coconut water is the lucid water found in the center of a coconut. It is entirely different from coconut milk, which is obtained from the pulp of the coconut. It is considered as an important food and medicine in many tropical countries. Coconut water is also available in the bottled and canned form, although drinking it fresh from the coconut is the ideal way to get all the nutrients into your body.
Nutritional value of coconut water
As the coconut palms usually grow in mineral-rich soils near the sea, the nutritional value of coconut water is very remarkable. It is rich in vitamin C and also contains fair amounts of vitamins like vitamin K, vitamin B and its derivatives like niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid. Coconut water is also rich in various minerals and trace elements including calcium, zinc, selenium, iodine, sulfur, and manganese. It has high amounts of natural salts and electrolytes like potassium and magnesium. Coconut water is a very good source of cytokinins, which are plant hormones that have anti-aging, anti-thrombolytic and anti-cancer properties. In addition to vitamins and minerals that are essential to our body, this popular drink also contains organic acids, antioxidants, amino acids, phytonutrients, moderate amounts of fiber and many enzymes. Another advantage of coconut water is that it is low in fat, low in calories and low in sugars when compared to other fruit juices, which makes it a popular sports drink.
Health Benefits of coconut water
The health benefits of coconut water is numerous, in fact countless. Because of the wide array of health benefits it offers, coconut water has become very popular these days.
Coconut water for weight loss
Drinking coconut water on a regular basis is one of the best ways to lose weight naturally. This drink helps you shed some pounds by increasing your metabolic rate. In addition to boosting your metabolism, coconut water controls your appetite and makes you feel fuller for a long time. This is due to the high fiber content in this drink. It is low on sugars and calories and hence is perfect to be included in your weight loss diet.
Coconut water for digestive health
Coconut water is a good source of fiber that aids in digestion and also in the better absorption of nutrients by your body. It also helps in promoting regular bowel movements and in preventing digestive disorders like constipation, irritable bowel syndrome etc.
Coconut water reduces high blood pressure
Coconut water is packed with vitamin C and minerals like potassium, and magnesium that are associated with lowering high blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are often advised to eat foods that are rich in potassium. This is because potassium balances the sodium levels in your blood helping in reducing blood pressure.
Coconut water lowers cholesterol
According to a study published in the journal of Medicinal Food in 2006, coconut water helps in lowering the total cholesterol levels and LDL (bad cholesterol) levels, while at the same time increasing the HDL (good cholesterol) levels. This helps in preventing many conditions like heart attacks and strokes that are often associated with high levels of cholesterol in your blood.
Coconut water and kidney stones
Regular consumption of coconut water helps in preventing the formation of kidney stones. It is an excellent diuretic which increases the production of urine, which in turn helps in flushing out toxins and excessive amounts of phosphate, uric acid and calcium from your kidneys. Those who have kidney stones may also find coconut water useful as it may help in breaking down the stones, allowing them to easily pass out of your body.
Coconut water is heart healthy
Coconut water is not just a thirst quencher, but is found to be beneficial to your heart as well. Studies indicate that drinking coconut water may help in lowering your risks of heart attack. By reducing high cholesterol and high blood pressure, coconut water protects the health of your heart.
Coconut water is excellent for diarrhea
Coconut water is an ideal drink when you are suffering from diarrhea. It helps in replenishing your body with the fluid, electrolytes and minerals that you have lost. It also helps to flush the toxins out of your body. The electrolytes present in coconut water provide energy to your body and hence diarrhea patients can benefit greatly by consuming this drink.
Coconut water for diabetics
Coconut water has a rich array of nutrients that help diabetic patients to keep their blood sugar levels under control. Weight management is an important factor when it comes to managing diabetes. Coconut water increases your metabolism and helps you maintain a healthy weight. It is an ideal drink for people with diabetes as it is low in carbs and has plenty of fiber content.
Coconut water strengthens your immune system
Coconut water contains lauric acid, which is known to have antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties. It helps in boosting and strengthening your immune system and in protecting your body from many diseases.
Coconut water for urinary tract infections
Coconut water is a natural diuretic and so drinking it may help in clearing urinary tract infections.
Coconut water and skin health
The mere application of coconut water can do wonders to your skin. It acts as a moisturizer leaving your skin hydrated and looking beautiful. It can also help in preventing the common skin problems like acne, blackheads and blemishes. Cytokinins are plant hormones present in coconut water that may work on the connective tissue of your skin, maintaining its elasticity and preventing sagging of your skin. Coconut water is also rich in antioxidants that help in eliminating free radicals. The presence of free radicals can cause oxidative stress to your cells leading to damage of your skin and speeding up the aging process.
Coconut water has anti-aging properties
Research suggests that a diet high in the plant hormone, cytokinins can offer anti-aging effects and reduce your risks of developing age-related and degenerative diseases. Coconut water is rich in cytokinins and so drinking it regularly can keep you looking young.
Coconut water benefits for hair
Just like it is beneficial to your skin, coconut water is very good in improving the health of your hair too. Applying coconut water to your hair daily can help in managing frizzy and unruly hair. It can function as a natural conditioner, making your hair soft, and shiny. Coconut water has hydrating properties and so massaging it on your scalp can hydrate the roots of your hair and strengthen them. It improves blood flow in your scalp thereby strengthening the roots and hair follicles, and preventing problems like hair loss, hair breakage etc. Because of its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, coconut water is useful in preventing dandruff, itchy scalp and other kinds of infections that may affect the healthy growth of your hair.
Coconut water for stronger bones
Coconut water is rich in minerals like calcium and magnesium that are essential for the growth and development of the bones. Regular intake of this drink can strengthen your bones and reduce your risks of osteoporosis.
Coconut water helps in managing stress
Coconut water is rich in riboflavin, pantothenic acid and thiamine, all of which helps in it helps in reducing the stress, anxiety and depression.
Coconut water as blood plasma
Although coconut water cannot replace blood plasma, coconut water is very similar in composition to human blood plasma that it was once used as a substitute for plasma in World War II.
Coconut Water benefits during pregnancy
Coconut water offers wide range of health benefits to pregnant women and fetus. With antimicrobial property it protects both mother and baby from infection and microbes. In traditional south India, a pregnant woman drinking coconut water will make baby fair. It is free of any additives and offers necessary electrolytes and nutrients to pregnant lady. Coconut water increases level of amniotic fluid in womb and protects baby. It offers various nutrients which are good for health of baby.
Side effects of coconut water
Coconut water is generally safe to drink for both adults and children. Although there aren’t any known side effects, some people may experience allergic reactions. Those who are allergic to nuts or latex may sometimes show reactions to coconut water. Since this drink is high in potassium content, people who take potassium supplements may want to consider controlling the potassium levels in their body. It also contains a reasonable amount of sodium and so it may not be a suitable choice for people who are advised to lower their intake of salt. Once the coconut is cut open, it is very important to drink the coconut water immediately or refrigerate it and drink it within 24 hours. This is because when coconut water is exposed to air and bacteria, it tends to breaks down very quickly.
Coconut water is a very nutritious and refreshing drink that hydrates your body and satiates your thirst. It is nature’s super drink rich in simple sugars, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that are beneficial to improve the overall health of your body. It is natural and has everything to make it the best energy drink that there is on earth.Image Credits: Flickr - Alan Levine, Wikimedia - Crisco