Revered by many popular athletes and celebrities, coconut water is the hottest health drink today.
Every health advocates agree that the clear liquid inside the coconut is truly a nutritional goldmine.
What is Coconut Water?
Coconut water is the clear nectar present inside the endosperm or interior cavity of a coconut.
One of nature’s most rejuvenating drinks, coconut water is consumed worldwide for its rich nutritional profile and health benefits.
Coconut plant is a member of the Arecaceae family of the Palm trees and its botanical name is Cocos nucifera.
Coconut water is sterile and sweet and is rich in unique chemicals such as vitamins, minerals, sugar, enzymes, electrolytes, cytokine, amino acids and phyto-hormones.
The flavor and taste of water may vary depending on the salinity of the soil, climate, distance from the seashore and many more.
Each coconut contains between 200 and 1000 ml of water depending on the size and the type of cultivation.
Coconuts younger than five months often lack nutrients and taste bitter.
On the contrary, coconuts that are too mature contains less water and the endosperm turns into thick, white meat (kernel).
Also, coconut milk taken from the kernel should not be confused with coconut water.
Coconut Water vs. Coconut Milk
Coconut water shouldn’t be confused with coconut milk.
While some studies have used these two terms interchangeably, the liquid part of the coconut endosperm is the coconut water, while the coconut milk, also known as “gata” in the Philippines and “santan” in Indonesia and Malaysia, refers to the white liquid extracted from the grated coconut endosperm.
Coconut water is served directly as a drink to satisfy thirst whereas coconut milk is often used as a food ingredient for different cooking recipes.
Coconut water is mainly composed of water (94%) while coconut milk is made up of 50% water, protein and fat.
History of Coconut Water Consumption
Coconut water has a long history of both as a medicine and a food.
People from Hawaii call it Noelani, meaning “dew from the heavens”.
Asians and Pacific islanders enjoy drinking coconut water, which is also called as coconut juice.
Coconut water is the most popular drink consumed in tropical countries.
It is not only considered as a refreshing drink but also a health tonic.
Pregnant women are encouraged to drink it to promote health for their fetus while nursing moms take it so they can provide more milk for their babies.
In fact, the first food an infant takes during weaning stage is coconut jelly (soft coconut meat) and coconut water.
Coconut water is highly prized compared to other beverages as a way to satisfy ones thirst and bring refreshment from the scorching heat of the sun.
In addition, it does not only quench thirst but also promote a sense of renewed health and well-being.
Fun Facts about Coconut Water
- A cup of coconut water contains about 46 calories compared to coconut milk that has 550 calories. The water is very hydrating, contains natural sugar, minerals with zero fat. During the World War, coconut water was given to soldiers to re-hydrate themselves.
- Coconut water contains zero cholesterol. Furthermore, it is a very good source of calcium, vitamin C and riboflavin. It is also a rich source of magnesium, dietary fiber, manganese and potassium. However, it is high in sodium and a significant portion of its calories comes from natural sugars.
- The most nutritious type of the coconut water is the one coming from tender coconut. It has a caloric value of 17.4 for every 100 grams.
- Known tennis player John Isner claims coconut water is the “natural fuel” that keeps him on his feet for his epic Wimbledon win. According to Isner, coconut water is very hydrating and has helped him keep going during long matches and prevented him from cramping even in the hottest, most humid conditions.
- Coconut water has been used as a substitute for blood plasma. The salt and sugar content of coconut water makes it a viable option for fluid replacement directly to the bloodstream. It works similar to an intravenous solution. In fact, it has been used for emergency transfusion during the World War II.
Health Benefits of Coconut Water
Coconut water is the most recent beverage trend to hit the US and the health claims are way too many, from simple curing hangovers to cancer prevention.
But are all these reports true? Does coconut water live up to all the hype?
Let’s find out.
Coconuts Promote Weight Loss and Hydration
Perhaps the most commonly reported benefit of coconut water in terms of weight loss is hydration.
Proper hydration has been scientifically proven to promote weight loss.
Although hydration couldn’t really remove extra fat directly, failure to drink sufficient fluids can lead to dehydration, which causes your metabolism to slow down.
When you remain dehydrated, you’ll be burning less calories than usual.
This is something you should avoid when trying to get rid of excess fats.
Coconut water is a very good drink for keeping hydration.
A research compared coconut water, plain water and sports drinks to determine which drink is the most suitable for post-exercise hydration.
The study has found that there were no significant differences in the urine output, sodium levels and fluid balance between the three drinks, which means they were all equally good for hydration.
However, there were less fullness, nausea or stomach upset reported, making it easier to take in larger amounts compared to sports drink and water.
The study concluded that coconut water can be an ideal beverage for whole body re-hydration after workout.
Coconut Water has High Fiber Content
The good thing about fiber is that it contains no calories.
Fiber helps you feel fuller, which keeps you feel satisfied longer.
Fiber is also awesome for colon health and proper digestion.
A lot of juices are very poor in fiber.
That is because the process behind juicing is the removal of solid part of the fruit (which is mostly the fiber) and as a result, you are left with only the liquid part or the juice.
Coconut water appears to be a clear liquid, but the wonderful thing about it is its rich fiber content.
In fact, coconut water is one of the natural beverages that contains the highest amount of fiber, providing 2.6 grams for every glass of coconut water or 11% of daily value.
Helps Control Blood Cholesterol Level
Coconut water is more than your usual nutritional beverage or sports drink; it is a health tonic.
According to research, coconut water has been shown to have health benefiting effect on the body’s cholesterol.
In this animal study, it was revealed that consumption of coconut water resulted to less fatty accumulation among cholesterol-fed rats.
The coconut water feeding also resulted in an increase in L-arginine.
The results also show that both young and mature coconut water has health effects on the blood cholesterol parameters of rats under high cholesterol diet.
Coconuts are Great Laxative
One concern when taking too much of coconut water is its laxative effect.
Coconut water may or may not have positive effects depending on the frequency of bowel movement.
However, for people suffering from constipation, drinking plenty of coconut water may be a good idea.
Consumption of coconut water may be best taken depending on your bowel tolerance – the maximum amount you can drink without getting loose stools.
This experience varies with each person.
The good thing is that bowel tolerance increases with regular use.
Promotes Urinary Health
Coconut water has been used for promoting urinary health.
Being a natural diuretic, coconut water increases urine flow and helps dilute urine so formation of stones are less likely.
It can also help flush stones out from the body.
Coconut water is known for its rich potassium content.
Potassium helps prevent formation of stones.
Coconut Water is Great for Skin
Most people reach for a plethora of creams, serums and lotions to moisturize their skin.
However, there are many easy ways to prevent dry, dull skin.
To achieve that fresh, glowing skin, a splash of coconut water will quickly freshen up the skin and re-hydrate it.
Coconut water contains some oils from the coconut meat that serve as a natural skin barrier.
Also, coconut water contains cytokinins that can prevent premature aging and wrinkles.
People with skin infections can benefit from coconut water’s anti-microbial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties that can promote healing of the skin.
To use coconut water for skin infections, add turmeric powder (250g) to a glass of coconut water and combine to create a paste.
Add 3 teaspoons of sandalwood powder to this and apply to affected areas.
Coconut is Great For Detox and Total Body Cleansing
Coconut water cleansing or detox requires fasting by drinking only water and coconut water (although some people eat coconut meat).
Coconut water fasting may not be as popular as other vegetables or fruits but this fasting medium is equally effective.
- Coconut water is rich in vital nutrients such as vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates and antioxidants in balanced form. This provides great healing of the body.
- Coconut water is pure. If you are drinking coconut water from freshly harvested coconut, you are drinking one of the purest types of water. This sweet liquid contains different salts and cannot be found in any other food.
- Unlike water, coconut water can provide enough energy so the person on fast can still do its activities without running out of energy.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Coconut water isn’t only refreshing and nutritious, it could also be a natural solution to managing high blood pressure.
The study was participated by 28 individuals and they were tested for 14 days without treatment, followed by another 14 days with treatment.
The participants were grouped into four groups – one received only drinking water, one group got coconut water, one got mauby and the last group got a combination of mauby and coconut water.
While it’s easy to see the difference between the three drinks, the participants didn’t have any idea that it was a test to determine the effect of the drinks on their blood pressure.
The said study showed remarkable findings.
The group drinking water showed an increase in their systolic pressure in 57% of the participants.
Interestingly, the coconut water group showed a decrease in both their systolic and diastolic pressure.
The group drinking mauby or the mix of mauby and coconut water also got considerable improvement in their blood pressure.
Coconut Water is a Natural Anti-Aging Drink
Coconut water contains a slew of nutrients including antioxidants, phytonutrients, growth hormones, enzymes, amino acids, vitamins and minerals.
One of the most interesting constituents found in coconut water are the natural growth hormones, especially cytokinins.
According to the Molecular Diversity Preservation International, cytokinins are a class of phytohormones responsible for the different processes involving plant growth and development, which includes cell division, seed germination, stress response, root growth and many more.
Coconut water can increase proliferation of plant cells without any undesirable mutations, for instance, cancer.
Because of this, coconut water is extensively used in tissue cultures as a growth-promoting component.
Cytokinins present in coconut water influences cell division and the rate of plant aging.
Because cytokinins can delay the effects of aging, it is well-known as an anti-aging hormone.
Reducing the production of cytokinins will result in a faster rate of aging, while increasing its production will extend the plant’s lifespan and improve its productivity.
What is more interesting is that cytokinins not only affects plant cells but human and animal cells as well.
Cytokinins can inhibit severe degenerative changes that normally occur with natural aging.
While human cells have a finite lifespan, the characteristic of the cells significantly improved – more vibrant and youthful throughout their lifespan.
Coconut water is considered to be the richest dietary source of cytokinins.
Some researchers believe that consuming coconut water may bring anti—aging effects on the body by preventing the development of age-related and degenerative diseases.
Rich Source of Vitamin B-Complex
Coconut water contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7 and B9.
For instance, vitamin B6 (compose of pyridoxal, pyridoxine and pyridoxamine) acts as a coenzyme for different enzymatic processes such as glutathione synthesis.
Coconut water also contains folate (vitamin B9).
This nutrient was discovered in the late 1930’s as an important nutrient for reducing anemia during pregnancy.
It can also prevent mitochondrial toxicity due to methanol metabolites.
Deficiency of vitamin B6 and folate may lead to the development of atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases.
Natural Hangover Cure
Potassium is the key to a speedy recovery when you are suffering from a bottle flu.
We all know that a hangover means you are dehydrated and you need to replace lost fluids.
All the alcoholic drinks you drank last night act as diuretics and they flush out the fluids from your system, which in turn causes the hangover symptoms.
The good news is that coconut water is highly hydrating.
Also, it contains more potassium than a banana and it is also packed with electrolytes and sugar.
It is easily digested, contains less sodium, less calories, natural and works better than a sports drink.
Coconut is Great for the Heart
Coconut water is known to be a heart tonic.
Because it contains zero fat and cholesterol, it is a healthy drink that can be enjoyed by people with problems on their cholesterol level.
One study on the effect of coconut water in cholesterol-fed rats revealed that low density lipoprotein (LDL), triglycerides and total cholesterol levels were reduced while the level of high density lipoprotein (HDL) or the good cholesterol were increased.
Furthermore, coconut water showed to have stimulating effects on the enzymes, which can greatly help people recovering from myocardial damages.
Coconut Water is a Perfect Energy Booster
Coconut water is known to boost energy levels and increase the body’s metabolism.
Most sports drinks are high in sodium and sugar content.
Coconut water is probably the best choice for replenishing lost fluid as it contains high levels of important minerals such as calcium, chloride and potassium.
What’s good about coconut water for energy boost is that it is a natural isotonic beverage that offers the same benefits as sports drinks but with electrolytes in their purest form.
In addition, it also contains key proteins such as cysteine, arginine and alanine.
Natural Remedy for Headaches
Headaches are usually triggered by dehydration.
In this case, coconut water can be a great help in providing electrolytes to the body and helping it recover.
Furthermore, coconut water is a good source of magnesium.
People suffering from migraine often have low levels of magnesium.
Based on studies, magnesium can help lower the occurrence of migraine attacks.
Rich in Antioxidants and Other Important Nutrients
Coconut water is a rich source of antioxidants, which are beneficial in scavenging harmful free radicals and different body toxins that are naturally produced by the body.
Free radicals can cause harm to the body through chain reactions by seizing electrons.
This chain reaction can lead to apoptosis or cell death and this is the beginning of many diseases.
Antioxidants are very important in countering the effects of free radicals.
Naturally Occurring Enzymes
Coconut water possesses many natural enzymes such as catalase, acid phosphatase, diastase, dehydrogenase, peroxidase and RNA polymerase.
These enzymes are important for generating energy, breaking down harmful growths and supporting tissue growth.
Coconut water contains the neurotransmitter GABA.
GABA has anti-anxiety, anti-convulsive and relaxing effect to the body.
Coconut water contains glutamic acid, a form of amino acid essential for memory and learning.
Coconut water possesses malic acid, a substance that can help tread fibromyalgia.
When combined with magnesium, it may help in the breakdown of gallstones.
Cytokinins are a class of phytohormones that is believed to have anti-cancer, anti-aging and anti—thrombotic effects.
Kinetin is a type of cytokinins that has been shown in many studies to have potent anti-aging effects.
It is believed to slow down the onset of biochemical and cellular processes involving cellular aging, particularly for those with sun-damaged skin.
Furthermore, kinetin has demonstrated several anti-cancer effects, particularly in the cases of mammary carcinomas, myeloma and hepatoma.
In addition, kinetin may be a potential healing agent for people suffering from arterial thrombosis due to its anti-platelet properties.
This is another type of cytokinin found in coconut water.
A recent study found in Journal of Medicinal Food revealed that trans-zeatin can be a possible drug for treating neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Coconut water boasts another type of cytokinin called gibberellins.
Many studies have shown that certain gibberellin derivatives have anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties.
Where to Find Coconut Water
Fresh coconuts are very common in tropical countries but they can be very hard to get elsewhere.
Coconut water from too mature coconuts can taste sour.
People in the tropics don’t consume this water; they only drink coconut water from young, tender, green coconut.
This is the coconut you see among vacationers sipping coconut water in front of the beach or in streets.
Immature coconuts can be found in many Asian markets and health food stores.
But they don’t look like the brown ones with which you may know.
When a coconut is harvested, it is covered with thick, fibrous husk.
The husk is removed before it is delivered to the grocery stores so you’ll never see the husk, only the brown shells.
On one hand, young coconuts have only a small portion of the husk taken, leaving an inch that covers the shell.
It is perishable so it is commonly found in the chilled sections of the stores.
How to Choose the Right Coconut Water Product
Coconut water comes from young, green coconuts.
Unlike coconut milk, it contains no fat and has a light, sweet taste.
This may be a simple drink, but be careful because not all coconut waters are the same.
If you have no choice but to buy packaged coconut water, check these guidelines to be sure you reap all the health benefits without being duped into buying an unhealthy one.
- Choose unflavored, plain coconut water.
- Check the label to be sure there’s no added sugar
- Check the label to ensure it contains not more than 50 calories per serving
Of course, the best coconut water comes straight from a coconut tree and it should be green and young.
When buying packaged coconut water, make sure you choose organic and raw or could be those that use high “pressure” processing (HPP).
But like with anything else, better know your source.
I hope I’ve explained few things about coconut water for you in this article.
The main takeaway should be that if you didn’t drink it before, you should definitely start drinking it now.
Especially if you have active lifestyle.
Let me know in the comments what you think!
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.
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