Coconut water has become quite the trendy beverage.
Coconut water, also known as coconut juice, is the translucent, or semi-clear, liquid inside a young coconut. Coconut water is often confused with coconut milk, but the two are not the same. Coconut milk is the creamy, white milk made by grating the inner flesh of the coconut, mixing it with hot water, and then straining. Coconut water is already in liquid form inside the young coconut.
Coconut water is a treasured summer drink to combat the heat. Everyone relishes fresh coconut water in the warm summer months. It helps you fight the scorching summer heat and keeps you energized throughout the day.
Coconut water is called the fluid of life. However, it is more than just a naturally sweet refresher. It offers a variety of essential nutrients, including minerals that many people may lack. Coconut water is also low in calories and naturally devoid of fat.
Here are 5 health benefits of coconut water:
- Good source of several nutrients
Coconuts grow in tropical climates on trees scientifically known as Cocos nucifera, and are botanically considered a fruit.
Coconut water is the liquid found in the center of a young, green coconut. It helps nourish the fruit. As the coconut matures, which takes around 10–12 months, some of the liquid remains while the rest ripens into the solid white flesh known as coconut meat.
Coconut water 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 contains 94% water and very little fat. It should not be confused with coconut milk, which is made by adding water to grated coconut meat. Coconut milk contains about 50% water and is quite high in fat.
One cup (240 ml) contains 60 calories, as well as
Carbs: 15 grams
Sugar: 8 grams
Calcium: 4% of the daily value (DV)
Magnesium: 4% of the DV
Phosphorus: 2% of the DV
Potassium: 15% of the DV
- May have antioxidant properties
Free radicals are unstable molecules produced in your cells during metabolism. Their production increases in response to stress or injury.
When there are too many free radicals, your body enters a state of oxidative stress, which can damage your cells and increase disease risk.
Research on animals has shown that coconut water contains antioxidants that may help modify free radicals, so they no longer cause harm.
- May help lower blood sugar for people living with diabetes
Research has shown that coconut water can lower blood sugar levels and improve other health markers in animals with diabetes.
However, another added blood sugar benefit of coconut water is that it’s a good source of magnesium, which may increase insulin sensitivity and decrease blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.
With all this in mind, it’s important to note that coconut water contains carbs (which are broken down into sugars in the body), so if you are living with diabetes or prediabetes, talk with your doctor or a dietitian before adding it to your diet.
- May help prevent kidney stones
Drinking enough fluids is important for kidney stone prevention.
Although plain water is a good choice, two small studies suggest that coconut water might be even better.
Kidney stones are created when calcium, oxalate, and other compounds combine to form crystals in your urine. These crystals can then form tiny stones. While some people are more susceptible than others, kidney stones affect about 12% of the world’s population.
Because one study involved animals and the other is so small, much more research needs to be done concerning the benefits of coconut water in reducing the possibility of kidney stones.
- Source of hydration
Natural coconut water is slightly sweet with a subtle, nutty flavor. It’s also fairly low in calories and carbs.
It’s freshest directly out of the fruit, but if you aren’t able to fill your fridge with fresh coconuts, there are many brands of coconut water on the shelves today.
Just be sure to read the ingredients to verify you’re getting 100% coconut water. Some bottled brands can contain added sugar or flavoring agents.
You can use this tropical liquid as a base for smoothies, chia seed pudding, vinaigrette dressing, or substituted for plain water whenever you want a bit of natural sweetness.