Coconut water is not only a natural thirst-quencher in summer, it’s also rich in essential electrolytes and vitamins, keeping you stay hydrated and healthy.
Coconut water (Cocos nucifera) is the clear liquid found inside green coconuts. It typically comes from young coconuts about 6–7 months of age, though it’s also found in mature fruit. An average green coconut provides about 1/2–1 cup of coconut water.
Coconut water has long been a popular drink in tropical regions, especially in Southeast Asia and Pacific Islands such as Hawaii, where it is available fresh, canned, or bottled. It has a slightly sweet, nutty taste that makes for a very refreshing summer drink when served chilled.
Coconut Water Nutrition Facts
Coconut water is low in sugar and fat but high in electrolytes, such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus, making it a better isotonic drink than any sports drink sold on the market.
Coconut water is known as the “fluid of life” because it has the same level of electrolytes as human blood. Electrolytes regulate the acidity (pH) in the blood and support nerve as well as muscle function.
There are many ways to enjoy the benefits of coconut water. Apart from drinking the coconut water as a substitute for plain water, you can also add it to smoothies, juices and many dishes.
The following is the nutrition information for one cup (245 g) of coconut water, according to the USDA:
- Calories: 44
- Fat: 0 g
- Sugars: 9.6 g
- Sodium: 64 mg
- Fiber: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 10.4 g
- Protein: 0.5 g
- Vitamin C: 24.3 mg
- Calcium: 17.2 mg
- Potassium: 404 mg
- Magnesium: 14.7 mg
- Phosphorus: 12.2 mg
Health Benefits of Coconut Water
1. Keeps you hydrated
Packed with electrolytes like potassium, magnesium, chloride, calcium and sodium, coconut water helps to keep the body hydrated and it is absorbed quicker and more efficiently into the body than other beverages.
Even the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) attest to the benefits of drinking coconut water when it fought for a patent in 2000 to promote coconut water as the energy drink for joggers and athletes .
2. Supports heart health
Drinking coconut water was shown to be effective in preventing heart disease.
In a 2008 study, researchers fed rats either a fat-cholesterol enriched diet or high doses of coconut water (4ml/100g body weight) for 45 days. At the end of the study, they found that the coconut water group had a reduction in cholesterol and triglyceride levels similar to the effects of lovastatin, a statin drug used to lower cholesterol .
In addition, one of the reasons coconut water may be beneficial for heart health is its impressive potassium content. Potassium has been shown to help lower high blood pressure, which in turn reduce the risk of heart disease.
3. Prevents kidney stones
Kidney stones form when minerals like calcium and oxalate become concentrated in the urine to form crystals. Coconut water may help dissolve kidney stones by increasing the levels of citrate and potassium in your urine. These compounds help prevent calcium from building up in your kidneys and forming stones . It also reduced the number of crystals formed in the urine .
4. Aids post-workout recovery
When you sweat during a workout or exercise, you don’t only lose water, but also electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and magnesium.
Because coconut water contains electrolytes like potassium and magnesium, it is the perfect beverage for restoring hydration and replenishing electrolytes lost during exercise.
One study found that coconut water may be more beneficial than water for rehydration after exercise .
5. Promotes weight loss
If you are trying to shed those extra pounds, consume coconut water instead of other fruit juices as coconut water has more minerals as compared to any other fruit juices.
Moreover, studies have shown that fruit juices may have added or hidden sugar. Coconut water is not just low in calories but also has less sugar than other fruit juices, making it a healthy replacement.
Coconut water is also loaded with bio-active enzymes which are known to boost metabolism. Metabolism is the process in which the food you eat is converted into energy required for your body to thrive. It is the rate at which your body burns the calories to keep you active. So, the higher the metabolic rate, the more fat you will burn.
6. Strengthens the immune system
Coconut water is rich in essential minerals and antioxidants that help to boost your immunity. Coconut water also contains lauric acid, which is converted to monolaurin in your body. Monolaurin is a compound that helps strengthen the body’s immune system against a variety of viruses and illness.
7. Improves digestion
Coconut water will offer you relief from indigestion as it contains magnesium. This mineral helps prevent constipation and keeps the gut healthy. It is also loaded with bio-active enzymes that are known to ease digestion. So, consume coconut water if you having difficulty in the digestion process.
8. Maintains skin health
Coconut water contains vitamin C which support collagen production. Collagen gives your skin elasticity and strength, and it helps repair and renew your skin cells.
Research also shows that consuming coconut water may aid in the fight against acne due to its antimicrobial properties.
Is Coconut Water Safe for Pregnant Women?
Coconut water is generally safe for pregnant women because the nutrients in it may benefit the developing fetus plus the electrolytes in coconut water could help replenish those lost during morning sickness.
Although coconut water is safe to drink during pregnancy but like most things, it should be consumed in moderation and drink coconut water as soon as the coconut is cut when it is fresh and rich in nutrients. Any leftovers from your coconut water should be kept sealed tightly in the fridge.
How Long Does Coconut Water Last in the Fridge?
Leftover coconut water should be sealed back up and kept in the fridge for best results. In these cases, it will still be good for between 3-5 days. If you prefer your coconut water to not be chilled when you drink it, you can always remove the container from the fridge about 30 minutes before you start drinking.
If you are opening a coconut to get the coconut water directly from the source, the same rules apply. Seal the coconut water in a container that is kept in the fridge and it will last up to 5 days from when you opened the coconut.
How Much Coconut Water Should You Drink In a Day?
A healthy person can consume 2 to 3 glasses of coconut water in a day. But if you suffer from any disease, talk with your healthcare provider about it. And if you are pregnant, you may want to limit the intake of coconut water.