Coconut water is the liquid endosperm of the coconut fruit, Cocos nucifera. The coconut tree usually grows in the tropical areas and warm and humid climates. Every part of this tree is beneficial in one or the other ways.

Major edible components derived from the fruit are coconut meat, coconut water, coconut oil, and coconut milk. Coconut water can be obtained from both young and mature coconuts.

It has been used since ages for its health benefits and serves as a refreshing drink. It is low in calories and is naturally free of fats and cholesterol. It is clear in appearance and has a sweet taste.

It is different from coconut milk. Coconut milk is a derived product obtained from the mixture of grated coconut meat and water. It has a thicker consistency.

Nutritional value of coconut water

Here are the details of the nutritional value of coconut water. All the figures are for 1 cup (240 gms) of coconut water.

Source of energy

Coconut water provides 46 calories of energy per 240 gms.

This is close to 2% of our daily energy requirement. Most of this energy comes from carbohydrate present in coconut water. This is in contrast to coconut milk where the source of energy was manly fats.

Carbohydrate and fat content

Coconut water has 9 gms of carbohydrate, out of which close to 25 % is dietary fibre (2.6 gms).

Dietary fibre is great for our digestive system. Coconut water has almost no fat. Total fat content is just 0.5 gms, most of it is the form of medium chain fatty acids which are health promoting.

Vitamins

Coconut water is rich in variety of vitamins such as Vitamin C (5.8 mg), Choline(2.6 mg), Niacin (0.2 mg), Riboflavin (0.1 mg), Thiamin (0.1 mg), etc. 1 cup of coconut water can provide 10% of the daily requirement of vitamin C, 8% of Riboflavin, 5% of Thiamin and 4% of Vitamin B6.

All these vitamins are vital for the health of our body.

Rich in several minerals

Coconut water is even more abundant in minerals as compared to vitamins. Key minerals present in coconut water are – Potassium (600 mg), sodium (252 mg), magnesium (60 mg), calcium (57.6 mg), phosphorus (48 mg), manganese (0.3 mg) and selenium.

A single cup of coconut oil can account for 17% of the daily requirement of both potassium and manganese, 15% of magnesium, 11% of sodium and 6% calcium. Most of these minerals are very important for bone health, immunity and other functions in our body.

Presence of these minerals makes it an ideal candidate for being used as an electrolyte.

Water

95% of coconut water by weight is just water. Therefore in tropics, it is considered a drink which not only quenches thirst but also provides several essential minerals and vitamins.

All the above are required by the body for several enzymatic reactions and metabolic functions. Here are 10 proven benefits of coconut water, they are explained in detail in next section.

  1. Helps in hydration – consists of 94% water.
  2. Regulates Cholesterol levels
  3. Reduces blood pressure
  4. Cytokinins present in coconut water are good for skin health
  5. Contains several antioxidants
  6. Has anti-cancer property
  7. Has anti-diabetic property
  8. Good for kidney function
  9. Promotes cardiovascular health
  10. Have hepatoprotective properties

Health Benefits of Coconut water

10 Fantastic Proven Health Benefits Of Coconut Water

Many scientific studies prove the benefits of coconut water for the human body. Several of its advantages include:

Coconut water hydrates the body and helps with digestion

1. Coconut water consists of 94% water.

Coconut water, a refreshing beverage rehydrates the body and makes up for the fluid loss and electrolyte imbalance that occurs due to diarrhea and other stomach problems. This reduces the need for an intravenous supply of fluids. It is also absorbed easily by the body.

The ionic composition of coconut water is similar to that of blood plasma, containing the same composition of sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium which makes it a good rehydrating drink.

It is also beneficial to take coconut water for rehydration post-exercise as it provides both water and energy in the form of glucose. It also has lower calories as compared to other commercially available sports drinks.

In mild cases of diarrhea and gastroenteritis, coconut water is considered safe and effective alternative home remedy for glucose-electrolyte oral rehydration solution. It thus helps in improving digestive health also.

What does this mean?
Coconut water hydrates the body and provides the essential electrolytes. It also battles fluid loss and maintains digestive health.

2. Coconut water regulates Cholesterol levels

Cholesterol is important for the body as it helps in the production of hormones, vitamin D, and bile acids. There are two types of cholesterols- LDL (Low-density lipoprotein) or ‘bad’ cholesterol and HDL (high-density lipoprotein) or ‘good’ cholesterol.

High LDL levels lead to its accumulation in arteries that narrows them down and causes atherosclerosis (blockage of arteries).

HDL carries extra cholesterol from all parts of water to liver for removal.

So, it is required by the body to have high HDL levels and low LDL levels.

Improper cholesterol levels also increase the risk of coronary heart disease.

Coconut water reduces the lipid levels in tissues of heart, kidney, liver, and aorta. It increases the high-density cholesterol levels (HDL), which is good for health and reduces total cholesterol, LDL(low-density) cholesterol, and triglycerides, which have an adverse effect on health.

It increases the activity of enzymes associated with lipid metabolism in the body. It also improves the conversion of cholesterol to bile acids and their excretion.

What does this mean?
Coconut water helps in maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol and preventing complications of heart and arterial diseases that may arise by its improper levels.

3. Coconut water reduces blood pressure

Optimum blood pressure levels are important for normal body function and heart health.

Irregularities in pressure levels of blood is a cause for various ailments like stroke, heart problems, kidney failure and damage to brain cells.

Coconut water is known to reduce the mean systolic and diastolic blood pressures and thus helps in controlling hypertension.

It is also rich in potassium which helps in regulating proper blood flow and blood pressure.

Apart from this, the antithrombotic properties of coconut water prevent the formation of blood clots in the vessels. These blood clots could otherwise disrupt the flow and pressure of blood.

High blood pressure resulting from high fructose diet can be prevented and cured by treating with coconut water as it increases insulin sensitivity and the antioxidants present in it, fight against the free radicals formed by oxidation of lipids.

In this way, it helps in reducing the risk of strokes, heart attacks, heart failure and kidney failure.

What does this mean?
Coconut water is beneficial in lowering of high blood pressure levels and reducing complications that arise due to it.

4. Cytokinins present in coconut water are good for skin health

Skin health awareness is growing day by day, and people are more active towards maintaining young and healthy skin.

Coconut water contains cytokinins (proteins in the body that perform specific functions) that have anti-ageing properties, prevents wrinkles and retain skin integrity.

In a study, kinetin, a type of cytokinin in coconut water has shown anti-ageing effects on human skin cells.

Another cytokinin, trans-zeatin has anti-ageing effects on fibroblasts(skin cells). Fibroblasts produce collagen, which is the main structural protein and an important constituent of the skin.

What does this mean?
Coconut water improves skin health by delaying the aging process.

5. Coconut water contains several antioxidants

Antioxidants protect the body from certain damaging species like reactive oxygen, nitrogen and chlorine species that are produced as by-products of metabolic processes.

If these reactive species are not neutralized by antioxidants, they cause cell, protein and lipid damage, causing changes or harm to DNA strands. They cause age-related disease and also cancer.

Our body produces natural antioxidants, but sometimes due to the large production of free radicals, there is an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals. This causes oxidative stress. Therefore, it is required to obtain a large number of antioxidants from our diet.

Cytokines (proteins in the body that perform specific functions)such as kinetin in coconut water protects the DNA from oxidative damage.

This water also contains vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and phenolic compounds, that are great antioxidants and protect the body from harmful effects of hydrogen peroxide, nitric oxide, and other toxins.

It also helps in combating the oxidative stress and preventing diseases caused by it.

What does this mean?
Antioxidants in coconut water protect the body from harmful and disease causing toxins.

6. Coconut water has anti-cancer property

Some natural products are known to decrease the risk of having cancer, and coconut water is one of them. Cancer can be prevented to a certain extent by fighting of the cell and certain toxins that are known to cause damage.

The kinetin ( a type of protein in the body) in coconut water is shown have therapeutic effects against myeloma and other cancers.

Coconut water also contains gibberellin derivatives that have anti-tumor properties.

One more important constituent of coconut water is vitamin B6 which is known to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

What does this mean?
Coconut water helps in preventing the occurrence of cancer due to the presence of certain proteins, hormones, and vitamins.

7. Coconut water has anti-diabetic property

Diabetes is caused by abnormal blood glucose levels due to the inefficiency of the glucose-regulating hormone, Insulin. The insulin levels either decrease or the insulin is not able to regulate the levels due to insulin resistance by the body.

Coconut water reduces glucose levels and improves insulin levels in the blood. In a study, it was shown to improve levels of urea, serum creatinine, albumin, albumin/globulin ratio along with improving liver functioning in diabetes.

It demonstrates anti-hyperglycemic(high blood sugar) properties, and by improving carbohydrate metabolism and lipid levels, it decreases the risk factors for diabetes.

It contains simple carbohydrates and sugars like glucose and fructose which is easy to break down, instead of complex carbohydrates.

Coconut water contains magnesium which improves insulin sensitivity. This helps our body to utilize insulin properly and maintain optimum glucose levels.

What does this mean?
Coconut water is beneficial for patients with diabetes as it helps in regulation of blood glucose levels.

8. Coconut water is good for kidney function

Kidney damage can occur as a result of dehydration, high blood pressure, imbalance of electrolytes and diabetes, to name a few.

Coconut water provides enough water and ions to prevent the body from dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.

It also reduces the risk of kidney failure by lowering high blood pressure and treating diabetes.

Coconut water stops the deposition of crystals in kidney tissues and reduces the crystals in urine, thus preventing kidney stone. It helps to normal kidney function and prevents it against damage caused by oxidative stress.

Thus it helps it maintaining proper renal function and prevents the formation of kidney stones.

What does this mean?
Consumption of coconut water is beneficial for kidney health and functioning and preventing the formation of kidney stones.

9. Coconut water promotes cardiovascular health

Optimum lipid levels and blood pressure are key to a good cardiovascular health.

Coconut water helps to keep your heart healthy by lowering the bad cholesterol and increasing the good cholesterol. It also lowers the blood pressure and prevents heart failure.

It also decreases lipid accumulation in tissues and aorta, reducing the risk of arterial blockage.

High quantity of mineral ions like potassium is present in coconut water that is beneficial in myocardial infarction.

What does this mean?
One can maintain a healthy heart by consuming coconut water regularly. It keeps the cholesterol and blood pressure levels in check and prevents cardiovascular disorders.

10. Coconut water has hepatoprotective properties

Coconut water protects the liver against damage. It reduces lipid and fat deposition in the liver by keeping in check, the blood cholesterol, and glucose levels.

It protects against liver damage by retaining the levels of enzymes required for liver functioning.

What does this mean?
Coconut water benefits the liver and prevents it from damage.

How much coconut water should you take?

Coconut water is available as fresh, canned or bottled.

It is advisable to have 1-2 servings of coconut water per day. Each coconut provides about 200-1000ml of water depending on size and species.

If using bottled coconut water, 100ml-300ml can be taken per day.

There is no standard dosage, but a moderate intake is preferred.

One can consume water from one coconut after exercise to rehydrate the body.

If using for any specific health benefit in a medical condition, it is important to consult a doctor for appropriate dosage.

Precautions to be taken

Always prefer water from young, green kernels of coconut. As the coconut matures, the sugar content in coconut water also increases. Young varieties contain simple and easily digestible sugars compared to mature varieties in which more complex sugars are present that take more time to digest.

Avoid too much consumption of coconut water if you have diabetes, as it can cause increased level of blood glucose and calories. It can also cause stomach bloating.

Also, in the case of high blood pressure, taking large quantities of coconut water may lead to an imbalance in electrolytes and also elevate the blood pressure. Coconut water may also interfere with working of certain medications of blood pressure. Always inform your doctor if you are taking it.

Prefer water from natural sources instead of processed bottled waters. If coconuts are unavailable, choose carefully for natural and organic brands that are free from additives.

Conclusion

Coconut water is full of nutrients and healthy beverage. It has multiple benefits to human health. It improves the health and functioning of heart, liver, kidneys, and skin. It also prevents cancer and is beneficial in diabetes.

It regulates cholesterol, glucose and blood pressure levels. It is full of antioxidants and micronutrients. Most importantly, it is an excellent hydrating agent.

Regular consumption of coconut water will surely help in maintaining a good body health and protect one from various ailments. If taken in moderation, it is a must include a component in your diet.

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