Refreshing tropical coconut water is one of the most popular and health boosting natural beverages in the world.
This low-calorie natural sports drink is full of antioxidants, enzymes, vitamins and minerals such as potassium, iron, calcium, and zinc, sans added sugar and artificial ingredients commonly seen in conventional sports drinks.
The micronutrients in coconut water can help boost your immune system, improve your heart health and even aid weight loss.
It's truly one of nature's finest natural vitamin water and sports drink.
What many of us refer to as coconut water is actually the juice found in the center of a young coconut, which helps to nourish the fruit. As the coconut matures, some of the juice remains in liquid form, while the rest ripens into the solid white flesh known as coconut meat (1).
The coconut water is produced naturally in the fruit and contains about 94% water and nearly zero fat.
Average coconuts take between 10-12 months to fully mature. The coconut juice or water typically comes from young coconuts about 6-7 months of age, although it’s also found in mature fruit as well.
Each coconut provides about 0.5 to 1 cup of coconut water.
For centuries, people from tropical regions of the world have enjoyed the amazing health benefits of coconut water. If you don't have an access to young fresh coconuts, luckily, bottled versions are widely available at a local grocery store worldwide today.
Here are 9 health benefits of coconut water.
1. Nutrients rich
Water from the coconut is one of the best sources of natural vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that your body needs to work well.
1 cup of coconut water contains just 46 calories (2):
Nutrient content per cup (240g):
- Carbs: 9 grams.
- Fiber: 3 grams.
- Protein: 2 grams.
- Vitamin C: 10% of the RDI.
- Magnesium: 15% of the RDI.
- Manganese: 17% of the RDI.
- Potassium: 17% of the RDI.
- Sodium: 11% of the RDI.
- Calcium: 6% of the RDI.
Coconut water is also full of amino acids, enzymes, and phytonutrients. These organic compounds are known to promote good health and aid disease prevention.
2. Rich in antioxidant properties
Coconut water contains antioxidant properties that can protect human cells from damaging free radicals.
Free radicals are unstable molecules produced in the cells during metabolism. And their production increases in response to stress or injury.
When there are too many free radicals, the body is said to be in a state of oxidative stress, which can damage cells and increase the risk of many diseases including cancer and heart disease (3).
One study found that rats with liver damage showed a significant improvement in oxidative stress when they were treated with coconut water, compared to rats that received no treatment (6).
In a different study, rats were fed a high-fructose diet and then treated with coconut water. Free radical activity decreased, as well as blood pressure, triglycerides, and insulin levels (7).
With that being said, there has been no study investigating coconut water antioxidant activity in humans.
3. Great for rehydration during & after exercise
Coconut water is one of the perfect drinks for restoring hydration and replenishing electrolytes lost during exercise.
Electrolytes are minerals that play several important roles in the body, including maintaining proper fluid balance.
They include potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calcium.
The participants also comment that coconut water causes less nausea and stomach discomfort than sports drinks.
4. Rehydrates your body
You don’t have to be exercising to enjoy the benefits of coconut water. It is also for non-exercisers as well.
Coconut water can also be an excellent thirst quencher to beat dehydration during the hot summer months.
Again because coconut water is full of electrolytes, it can also be used to rehydrate your body in case of dehydration and fluid loss due to excessive sweating in the heat.
Coconut water is also a good source of carbohydrates and potassium; it can help to lift your energy level.
A 2012 study published in the Journal of the Internal Society of Sports Nutrition reported that coconut water has a similar positive effect as sports drinks (10).
In addition to boosting rehydration, coconut water is also easy on the stomach and thus effective for soothing stomach problems like ingestion, acid reflux, and gastroenteritis.
The coconut water is fresh and slightly sweet with a subtle nutty flavor when it comes directly from the coconut. It’s also fairly low in calories, sugar, and carbs.
You can buy bottled coconut water at most grocery stores. Just make sure to read the ingredients list to verify that it is 100% coconut water. Many brands sell coconut water with added sugar or flavoring. Avoid them.
5. Weight loss friendly
There’s no solid evidence coconut water can directly affect how you lose weight. But we know hydration plays an important role in weight loss. And failing to drink enough liquids, your body will enter a dehydrated state, which can negatively impact or cause your metabolism to slow down (11).
Hydrating your body and keeping your fluid level balanced is a sure way to keep your metabolism running smoothly.
Coconut water is a great "weight loss drink”. It's not because it is full of nutrients that can help with hydration, but because coconut water has few calories, zero cholesterol, and little sodium.
Drinking coconut water in place of a high-calorie drink, like flavor, soda is also a sure way to aid your weight loss efforts since you'll be taking in far less total calories.
Remember one pound of body-weight equals 3,500 calories, drinking coconut water once a week in place of soda drinks, which has about 151 calories per 12-ounce can, can help you lose 1.6 pounds of bodyweight over the course of a year.
6. Strengthen your heart
Drinking coconut water may help your heart health.
Studies have confirmed the positive effects that coconut water has in the reductions of blood cholesterol and triglycerides.
In one study, rats who were given coconut water showed an increased in their good cholesterol (HDL), and a decreased in bad cholesterol (LDL). They also experienced significant decreases in liver fat (12).
Another study performed by the same researchers also found rats that were fed coconut water saw a reduction in cholesterol and triglyceride levels comparable to use of a statin drug (13).
Be warned that the coconut water dose given in the testing was very large. In human terms, it was equivalent to 2.7 liters of coconut water a day. It's definitely beyond the recommended or practical amount.
Nevertheless, what was eye opening in these testings is coconut water's positive effect on the cholesterol.
7. Lowers blood pressure
Coconut water is considered good for keeping high blood pressure at bay, thanks to its vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium content.
Potassium, in particular, helps to lower blood pressure by balancing out the negative effects of sodium.
It was also reported in a study publicized by 2005 West Indian Medical Journal that 2 cups of fresh coconut water a day helps manage hypertension (14).
8. Good natural cure for hangovers
Hangovers are the body’s seemingly inescapable punishment for a night of too much drinking. It is the result of the kidneys’ inability to flush all of the toxins out of your system.
Anyone who has suffered from a hangover or two in their lifetime knows finding a cure for the morning after can save you from hours of headaches and nausea.
If you ever find yourself waking up with a hangover, know that coconut water is a great natural remedy.
While the alcohol robs your body of hydration, which causes your morning-after booze blues, coconut water boosts hydration and replenishes the electrolytes in the body, leaving you completely nourished and make you feel whole again.
Also, the antioxidants in this revitalizing health drink fight oxidative stress caused by too much alcohol. It will also help settle an acid stomach.
For an added boost, make this power smoothie with coconut water.
- 2 cups pure natural coconut water
- 2 cups ripe mangoes
- 2 to 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 2 fresh mint sprigs
- ½ cup of ice.
Blend all ingredients in a blender and drink it. It's a pure rejuvenation.
9. Good for headaches
Most headaches, even migraines are often triggered by dehydration.
In such cases, coconut water can be of great help in rehydrating your body. Coconut water can re-supply your body with electrolytes and boost hydration.
Coconut water is also rich in magnesium.
People who suffer from migraines often have low levels of magnesium. Studies also suggest that magnesium can help reduce the frequency of migraine attacks (15).
Coconut water is not only great for hydration, but it can also help replinish many lost minerals and vitamins from your body. It can also help ward off diseases and fight off free radicals.
Coconut makes a great addition to any healthy diet as it's low in both sugar and calories.