In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Why is coconut water good for you?” and will discuss some health benefits of coconut water.
Why is coconut water good for you?
Coconut water is good for you because Coconut water is a refreshing, electrolyte-rich, natural beverage that may aid your heart health, regulate your blood sugar, and promote kidney function.
Benefits of coconut water
Contains a wide range of nutrients.
In tropical climes, Cocos nucifera trees produce coconuts, which are botanically classified as fruits. Young, green coconuts have coconut water in the middle. It aids in the fruit’s nourishment. Initially, the endosperm is a liquid containing free nuclei generated by a process, in which the primary endosperm nucleus undergoes several cycles of division without cytokinesis (the process in which the cytoplasm of a single eukaryotic cell is divided to form two daughter cells). Cytokinesis then occurs, progressing from the periphery towards the center, thus forming the cellular endosperm layer. At first, the cellular endosperm is translucent and jelly-like, but it later hardens at maturity to become white flesh (1). Some of the liquid stays in the coconut as it ripens for around ten to twelve months, while the remainder of the white flesh known as coconut meat is formed.
In most cases, coconut water is found in young coconuts that are around six to seven months old, although it may also be found in older coconuts. Coconut water may be found in half to one cup in an ordinary green coconut.
Coconut water is almost entirely composed of water, with just a little amount of fat. Not to be confused with coconut milk, which is prepared by adding water to shredded coconut flesh. Coconut milk is made up of around half water and half fat. Coconut milk refers to the liquid products obtained by grating the solid endosperm, with or without addition of water and is usually used as a food ingredient in various traditional cooking recipes (1).
240 ml (60 cal) of a cup provides the following nutrients (1):
15 grams of carbs
8 grams of sugar
4 percent of the recommended daily intake of calcium (DV)
Magnesium: 4% of the Daily Value
Phosphorus:s 2% of the Daily Value
Potassium: 15% of the daily value
It also contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7 and B9 and vitamin C, phytohormones and micronutrients (1).
Coconut water is rich in antioxidants
Your cells create unstable chemicals known as free radicals during the process of cellular respiration. Stress or injury causes an increase in their production. Oxidative stress occurs when there are too many free radicals in your body, which may harm your cells and raise your risk of illness.
Coconut water has been demonstrated to contain antioxidants that may help neutralize free radicals, reducing their harmful effects. Many compounds act as antioxidants in the coconut water, including cytokinins, which are a class of phytohormones that exert various roles in the different aspects of plant growth and development, e.g., cell division, formation and activity of shoot meristems, induction of photosynthesis gene expression. Kinetin, a cytokinin, was shown to act as a strong antioxidant and has anti-ageing and anti-cancer effects, and has effective antiplatelet properties, and may be a potential therapeutic agent for treating arterial thrombosis (1).
A research in 2006 on rats fed with a high cholesterol diet found that coconut water extract improved their health. It was observed that lipid levels in the tissues viz. liver, heart, kidney, and aorta were markedly decreased in cholesterol-fed rats supplemented with coconut water. The “Antioxidant potency” due to vitamin C and other compounds, as well as calcium, which decreases intestinal absorption of fat, was also found in coconut water, which helped lower cholesterol levels (2).
Even though these studies are fascinating, it’s vital to remember that no human studies have been done yet, and each of the animal research employed different doses and characteristics.
Helps patients with diabetes
Diabetes sufferers may benefit from drinking coconut water, which has been demonstrated to reduce blood sugar levels and enhance other health indicators.
In addition, coconut water contains magnesium, which may improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels in those with type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes, as well as those with normal blood sugar levels.
Coconut water includes carbohydrates (which are converted down into sugars in the body), therefore if you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, you should consult with your doctor or a nutritionist before including it into your diet.
A study on diabetic induced rats showed that the supplementation of coconut water to diabetic rats reduced their blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin, which shows the antihyperglycemic and antiglycation potential of coconut water. A major dietary mineral present in coconut water is potassium. Serum potassium levels affect insulin secretion by pancreatic b-cells and dietary potassium intake is significantly associated with the risk for contracting diabetes mellitus. Potassium supplementation in hypokalemic patients corrected the defects of insulin release in response to glucose loads (3).
Prevent kidney stones
Kidney stones may be prevented by drinking enough water. Coconut water may be even better than ordinary water, according to two tiny studies.
Calcium, oxalate, and other substances in your urine mix to form crystals that form kidney stones. It is possible to create small stones by combining these crystals with one other. About 12 percent of the world’s population is affected by kidney stones, however, some individuals are more vulnerable than others.
Coconut water prevented crystals from adhering to the kidneys and other regions of the urinary system in a 2013 research in rats with kidney stones. The number of crystals in the urine was also decreased as a result. Coconut water is known for its rich potassium constituent and potassium citrate to prevent calcium in the urine from sticking to the urinary tracts and thus prevent kidney stones. (4).
Coconut water has been shown to enhance the urine of potassium, chloride, and citrate in persons who do not have kidney stones, which suggests that it may help flush out the system and reduce the risk of developing kidney stones.
Coconut water’s ability to reduce the risk of kidney stones has to be studied more thoroughly since one study used animals and the other was so tiny.
Supports cardiovascular health
Coconut water contains L-arginine, an amino acid that acts in many health promoting funcitons in the body. Studies have shown the presence of L-arginine (300mgL-1) in coconut water which is said to have a cardio protective effect through its production of nitric oxide, which favors vasorelaxation (4).
Because of its high potassium content, coconut water may help decrease blood pressure (500mg of potassium in 8 ounces). People with high or normal blood pressure may benefit from potassium’s blood-pressure-lowering effects. Studies showed that coconut water has cardioprotective effects in experimental myocardial infarction induced in rats and this was probably attributed to the rich content of mineral ions in coconut water, especially potassium (1).
Coconut water is good after a lengthy period of physical exertion
Coconut water may be the ideal beverage for rehydrating and replacing electrolytes that are lost during physical activity. Maintaining correct fluid balance is one of the many responsibilities that electrolytes perform in your body. Potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calcium are some of the most important electrolytes.
When it comes to rehydrating the body after a workout, coconut water may be more effective than water, according to many studies. However, coconut water tended to produce more stomach upset than bottled water or sport drink, with significant findings at 3 hours post dehydrating exercise (5).
A delicious source of hydration
Coconut water is mildly sweet, with a nutty undertone, in its natural state. In addition, it has a low calorie and carbohydrate count. There are several kinds of coconut water on the market nowadays, even if you can’t stock your fridge with fresh coconuts.
Only use products that contain 100 percent coconut water, so check the label carefully. Sugar or flavoring ingredients may be added to certain bottled brands. If you’re looking to add some sweetness to smoothies, chia seed pudding, vinaigrette dressing, or even plain water, you may use this tropical drink.
Other FAQs about Coconut that you may be interested in.
In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Why is coconut water good for you?” and discussed some health benefits of coconut water.
- Yong, Jean WH, et al. The chemical composition and biological properties of coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) water. Molecules 14.12 (2009): 5144-5164.
- Sandhya, V. G., and T. Rajamohan. Beneficial effects of coconut water feeding on lipid metabolism in cholesterol-fed rats. J med food, 2006, 9, 400-407.
- Preetha, P. P., V. Girija Devi, and T. Rajamohan. Hypoglycemic and antioxidant potential of coconut water in experimental diabetes. Food func, 2012, 3, 753-757.
- Ekpenyong, Ememobong Edison, and Ifeyinwa Mary Ann Okafor. Cocos Nucifera Water: Therapeutic Benefits and Sickle Cell Anaemia Review. Int. J. Innov. Sci. Res. Technol, 2018, 3, 513-520.
- Kalman, Douglas S., et al. Comparison of coconut water and a carbohydrate-electrolyte sport drink on measures of hydration and physical performance in exercise-trained men. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 2012, 9, 1-10.