Imagine yourself chilling out in a tropical paradise; a beachside resort. What’s that drink that you are holding in your hands? Chances are you might be imagining sipping some drink placed inside a coconut shell with coconut milk or juice mixed with it. Coconut water’s refreshing and sweet taste just screams, “I want to go to the beach”. But did you know that Coconut Water is not only delicious but also quite nutritious?
Before we get into that, let’s talk about the coconut for a bit. This fruit, yes it is a fruit and not a nut, grows on trees that look like palm trees; it’s scientific name is Cocos nucifera. The delicious juice and flesh of the coconut fruit is often harvested from young, green coconuts. You can’t really harvest coconut water from old coconut fruits because it wouldn’t taste good but coconut milk is harvested from the flesh of the older ones. So if you want some coconut water and coconut flesh, get yourself some young green coconut fruits. But if you want some coconut milk, get yourself some old coconut fruits. As reference, a 10- to 12-month old coconut is considered old while a 6- to 7-month old coconut is considered young. These are the ages that coconuts can be harvested.
Still confused between coconut milk and coconut water? First of all, coconut water looks like water with white particles while coconut milk looks exactly like milk. Second of all coconut water is harvested directly from a young coconut fruit without preparation while coconut milk is harvested from an old coconut fruit. Coconut milk is made by scraping the meat out of an old coconut fruit. This scraped meat would then be mixed and water and repeatedly pressed to bring the milk out. Coconut water contains mostly water and with almost no fat while coconut milk is equal parts water and fat.
What’s in every sip?
The average young green coconut yields half a cup to a cup of coconut water. A cup of coconut water contains around 46 calories, 9 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, and 2 grams of protein. The only vitamin present in coconut water is vitamin C, one cup could supply 10% of the Reference Daily Intake for the vitamin. Minerals present in coconut water include Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, and Sodium. For a drink that is very refreshing and delicious, and only contains 46 calories; coconut water is quite nutritious.
Benefits of Drinking Coconut Water
A Good and Tasty Means of Staying Hydrated
Most of us know that the taste of coconut water is kind of sweet and has some subtle nutty flavor. People from the tropics love to drink coconut water because it is a delicious way of staying hydrated in an environment that really makes you sweat a lot.
If you find yourself buying some extra fresh coconut water, the good news is that it can stay for around 3 to 5 days. If you want something that lasts longer, you can find bottled coconut water in the grocery stores. Make sure to read the label though, watch out and avoid those bottled coconut water with some artificial flavorings and preservatives. What you want to buy is 100% pure coconut water without added sugars.
Coconut water is quite versatile. It can be drunk on its own, or turned into smoothies and all sorts of cocktails. It can even be made as a salad dressing.
A Natural Sports Drink
Skip the artificially produced sports drink and try ‘Mother nature’s sports drink’, the coconut water. As mentioned, it contains minerals like Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, and Sodium which are lost during perspiration. Drinking coconut water replaces the lost minerals or electrolytes thus it aids the body in maintaining proper fluid balance. It also contains a lot of water, which means you can also replace lost fluids and prevent dehydration.
It’s efficacy as a sports drink actually varies from person to person and may need some additional ingredients such as salt. Still, some studies have shown that drinking coconut water can help your body recover after a long exercise session. One study mentioned that drinking water is as effective as carbohydrate-electrolyte beverages in rehydrating the body after strenuous exercise but was easier to drink in large quantities because of its taste. Another study compared coconut water with added sodium, or sodium-enriched coconut water, with commercial sports drinks in their ability to replenish lost fluids on a person who is in a dehydrated state due to exercise. Researchers observed that sodium-enriched coconut water was just as effective in replenishing lost fluids as with the commercial sports drinks. On top of this, participants of the study reported that they experienced less gastric distress and nausea post-exercise as a result of drinking sodium-enriched coconut water.
May help you look Younger
During cell metabolism our cells would begin to accumulate oxidative byproducts and free radicals that could damage them and could result in a number of health problems and faster aging.
Although human studies are yet to be conducted, several research has investigated the antioxidants present in coconut water with promising results. In one study, researchers proved that coconut water from the green dwarf, yellow dwarf, red dwarf, and yellow Malaysian varieties of coconut contained ascorbic acid, caffeic acid, and phenolics. They also tested the coconut water’s ability to prevent oxidative damage on cell cultures that are exposed to hydrogen peroxide and found that coconut water from the green dwarf coconut was able to prevent damage. Furthermore, they also tested fresh coconut water and lyophilized coconut water but yielded similar results whether they were fresh or in powder form. Another study indicated that coconut water can prevent tetrachloride induced liver injury in rats. One more research on coconut water’s antioxidant properties focused on its active component Shikimic Acid. In this study, researchers discovered that Coconut Water Concentrate does in fact prevent and even reverse oxidative damage. Yet another research on Coconut Water’s antioxidant properties sought to investigate whether it can mitigate oxidative stress brought about by excessive fructose dosage in Insulin Resistant rats. Researchers in this study mentioned that coconut water does in fact prevent oxidative stress under the conditions that they have created.
Even without human studies yet, these studies show the promising antioxidant properties of coconut water. And when something has antioxidants you can bet that it can help you keep your youthful appearance.
May be used for Kidney Stones Prevention
Kidney stones are formed when the concentration of the dissolved substances in the urine is high. Thus to prevent this, you must dilute your urine by drinking a lot of fluids. Although water is good enough for preventing kidney stones, some might prefer something that is a little more appetizing. As mentioned previously, drinking a lot of coconut water is easier compared to drinking a lot of plain water because it has an enticing taste. This makes it easier to introduce a lot of fluids into your body. But animal studies have shown that there is more to Coconut water than just that. In a study involving rats with kidney stones, researchers observed that coconut water was capable of preventing the rat’s kidney stones from sticking to the tubules within the kidney. More research is needed for Coconut water’s ability to directly prevent kidney stone formation. But if you are required to increase your fluid intake to prevent kidney stones, coconut water can easily be used to do just that because of its refreshing taste.
May improve Blood Sugar Regulation and Insulin Sensitivity
It may seem odd because coconut water is sweet. However, it seems to have a positive effect on type 2 diabetes.
Previous studies have shown the importance of the L-arginine-nitric oxide pathway when it comes to blood sugar regulation. Thus, researchers also sought to investigate the antidiabetic nature of coconut water which seems to have a positive effect on the L-arginine-nitric oxide pathway. The results of the study were fruitful as they discovered that coconut water does infact have an indirect positive effect on blood regulation through its influence on the L-arginine-nitric oxide pathway. However, this study is just a stepping stone because it is a study conducted on mice. Another study conducted on diabetic rats investigated the antioxidant effects of coconut water and its effect on the rats’ ability to regulate their blood sugar levels. Researchers of this study observed that those rats who were given coconut water exhibited better control with their blood sugar levels.
Studies mentioned previously shows that coconut water is quite promising when it comes to dealing with diabetes. However, further studies are still needed because they are studies conducted on animals. Despite this, since a cup of Coconut water only contains 6 grams of carbohydrates they can easily be used as a substitute to sugary drinks. It also contains a good amount of magnesium which has been attributed to better insulin sensitivity.
May improve Cardiovascular health
One cup of Coconut water contains around 0.5 grams of fat. Coconut water fat is mostly saturated fat but this amount is not detrimental to heart health. Studies have actually shown that Coconut water may improve cardiovascular health.
Research conducted on rats showed that coconut water can reduce their blood cholesterol and their triglycerides. Furthermore, it appears that coconut water can also reduce their liver fat. Another study compared coconut water and statin drugs in their ability to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. After 45 days of clinical trials, researchers note that coconut water is as good as statin drugs in lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels. One flaw that the researchers noted is that the dosage they used is very high. If we convert the dosage to human terms, a 150-pound person must consume 2.7 liters of coconut water per day to reap the benefits. As a reference as to how high a dosage of 2.7 liters is; the average female needs 2.7 liters of water in a day. This means that if an average female wants to reduce their blood cholesterol and triglycerides as if they were taking statin drugs, they would have to completely substitute water with coconut water. This is not an ideal amount as there was a case that an athlete experienced hyperkalemia from drinking around 2.6 liters of coconut water.
May aid in blood pressure management
Since coconut water can lower triglycerides and blood cholesterol levels. It may also lower blood pressure. In a small scaled study involving 28 hypertensive individuals, 71% of the participants experienced improvement in their systolic blood pressure as a result of drinking coconut water.
Another feature of coconut water that might contribute to its anti-hypertensive property is its anti-thrombotic activity. With the absence of blood clots, blood can flow freely which means blood pressure can remain at a normal level. Furthermore, coconut water also contains 600 milligrams of potassium, a mineral which is known to lower blood pressure in hypertensive individuals.
If you are allergic to coconut products then you can’t drink coconut water. It contains some fat around 0.5 grams of saturated fat. Although studies have shown that coconut water may have beneficial effects on hypertension, its effect may vary from person to person. Monitor your blood pressure, and your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. If you think that coconut water is affecting these negatively, then discontinue consumption of this food item. It is very high in potassium, so if taken at very high amounts it may lead to hyperkalemia. People with conditions that make them susceptible to hyperkalemia should also be cautious.
Coconut water is delicious and nutritious. It is mostly water which means it is effective at replenishing lost fluids and keeping the body hydrated. It is also capable of replacing minerals that are lost through perspiration that is why this fruit is considered to be ‘Mother Nature’s Sports Drink’. There are antioxidants present in coconut water in significant amounts which means that this drink might be capable of making you look younger. Animal studies conducted on coconut water have shown that it is capable of preventing kidney stone formation, improving blood sugar regulation, and aiding in blood pressure management. It is generally safe when taken in reasonable amounts.
Our product Fruit of Spirit Super Immune Support Powder contains around 2.6 grams of lyophilized Coconut water in one serving which imbues the product with its health benefits.