Coconut water has lately become the most popular fitness drink, partly because of its organic nature and partly because it is extremely hydrating and tastier than water taste. Not only is it low on calories but it is also fat free and cholesterol free. One glass of coconut water has more potassium than in four bananas. So no doubt it has been a huge hit in the nourishment market, being brought to the limelight by celebrity and athlete endorsements.
Not to be confused with the high fat coconut milk or oil, coconut water is the pale milky or clear liquid found in the centre of the young, green, tender coconuts. If you are looking for a health drink that is not very sweet, coconut water it is. It has low sugar and other chemicals such as vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, enzymes, amino acids, cytokines and phyto-hormones. When choosing a coconut for water content, make sure to avoid the hard, dry and browned ones as they have very little water in them. The ideal coconuts to reap for water would be the green immature ones that are only 5 – 7 months old on the tree. Coconuts younger than five months tend to be bitter and devoid of nutrients.
You can have coconut water as a beverage by itself or you can mix it up in your slushies and cocktails to add the nutty taste of the beach to your drink. But coconut water is not only popular because of its taste, but also its nutritional qualities. Here are the top 10 benefits of drinking this heavenly beverage in a shell.
10. Hangover remedy
A night out in the town, with drinks flowing, is usually followed by frequent bouts of urination and vomiting. This sucks the nutrients and water out of your body. This is why when you wake up you feel thirsty and sick in the stomach. Instead of the usual remedy of just consuming copious amounts of water, drink lots of coconut water. This will not only soothe the upset tummy but also replenish you supply of electrolytes and water. Moreover you might not feel like eating when nursing a hangover; the coconut water will keep you full for a long time.
9. Nutrient rich
Coconut water is the new complete health drink in the market, made famous by the likes of Demi Moore and Madonna. This is because coconut water has far more nutritional value than any other natural drink. It contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium as electrolytes and a proportionate supply of B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pyridoxine etc., making it most suitable for replenishing and rejuvenating bodies subject to all kinds of medical conditions. It also helps to relieve muscle cramps and improve bone and muscle health.
8. Regulates blood pressure
The electrolytic composition of coconut water is in such proportionate supply that doctors are known to often recommend it for daily consumption to regulate blood pressure. It is not only proved to improve blood composition and circulation, but also lowers formation of plaque. It also alleviates risk of cardiovascular ailments by lowering blood pressure and increasing good cholesterol content in the heart. It is also thought to be effective in controlling blood sugar levels.
7. Digestive properties
For long, coconut water has been a traditional remedy in helping with digestive problems. Since coconut water is organic, it is highly rich in fibres. This high fibre content helps to prevent indigestion and acidity. Coconut water is also full of bioactive enzymes (folic acid, phosphatase, catalase, peroxidase, dehydrogenase, diastase etc.), minerals and vitamins that help to increase metabolism and aids digestion. The osmolarity of coconut water is similar to the doctor’s recommended Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) and so it is often offered to patients suffering from diarrhoea as an equally good alternative to replace the fluid loss.
6. Rehydrating energy drink
Coconut water is increasingly replacing the synthetic energy drinks in the gyms and sports arena, mainly because of it high electrolyte content and low sugar level. According to a source on WebMD, ‘Ounce per ounce, coconut water contains 5.45 calories, 1.2 grams sugar, 61 mg of potassium and 5.45 mg of sodium compared to Gatorade, which has 6.25 calories, 1.75 grams of sugar, 3.75 mg of potassium and 13.75 mg of sodium’. The lesser sodium content and higher potassium level makes it an ideal source of electrolytes for the body, especially after a rigorous workout. When we sweat during exercises or other physically strenuous activity, we lose a lot of electrolytes and mineral ions along with water. Coconut water is a well balanced replacement medium that not only offers to replenish the fluids from the body, but also provides the much-needed calories. In many cases, especially in the third world countries, the similar properties of coconut water and blood makes it a good substitute for treating patients and also as immediate first aid in cases of heat stroke or dehydration.
5. Good for pregnancy
Because of the high fibrous content of coconut water, most doctors advise pregnant women to partake coconut water regularly to help prevent constipation, acid refluxes and aid digestion. The high electrolyte content is also proven to be good for the developmental heath of both mother and child during pregnancy.
4. Improves kidney function
The high mineral content in coconut water, especially of potassium and magnesium, makes it beneficial to consume it if you are suffering from kidney ailments. Potassium has an alkalizing effect on urine pH and prevents the formation of kidney stones. The water content of the drink also increases the production and flow of urine, thus acting like an efflux system for waste removal from the body.
3. Increases immunity
Besides being rich in electrolytic nutrients, coconut water also has a number of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pyridoxine and folates. These are not only needed by the body in trace amounts but also have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties that help to increase our body’s immunity and fight infections. Coconut water is a good remedy for diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera and stomach flu.
2. Helps in Losing Weight
If you are trying to lose weight, coconut water must figure high on your diet chart. Regular consumption of coconut water helps to increase metabolism, which in turn burns more sugar and fat content in the body, facilitating weight loss. It is low in fats and so no matter how much you drink to rehydrate yourself, you will not start to pack weight immediately. Because of it is rich nutritional value, it is also very filling and helps reduce your appetite, letting you eat little while staying healthy.
1. Clear Skin and Great Hair
If you have acnes or blemishes on your skin, the ideal natural remedy is to dab some cotton in coconut water, apply topically to your skin and leave it overnight. It will not only gradually clear up the skin but also tone it. Coconut water contain cytokines and lauric acid which have anti-ageing, anti-carcinogenic and anti-thrombotic properties, thus protecting and rehydrating your skin and making it look youthful. Regular ingestion of coconut water eliminates excessive oils from your skin and moisturizes it at the same time. You can also use it to moisturize your hands and nails. Using coconut water or hair products having coconut extracts to wash your hair also improve the quality of your hair, making it stronger and shinier.
The coconut water stored in the stores are sold in packets and bottles and their overall nutritional profile may not be the same as that obtained from raw coconuts since some kinds of additives and preservatives are added in order to enhance shelf life. Raw coconuts can keep for 5 – 10 days at normal temperature but once opened the water may taste sour and off due to the intense enzymatic activity. In spite of the amazing health benefits from coconut water, which makes it a suitable, not so sugary drink for both adults and children, it is advised to limit your consumption of coconut water to maybe only a bottle per day. Lilian Cheung, DSc, RD of Harvard School of Public Health stated that one 11 ounce container of coconut water contains 60 calories and if you drink several in a day, the calories are likely to add up quickly.