Until a few years ago, coconut water was not hailed as the elixir it is regarded as today in the Western countries. But did you know that during World War II, coconut water was used as a short-term intravenous hydration and resuscitation fluid?1 Extremely popular in the Caribbean and Southeast Asia, coconut water is the almost clear liquid found in tender green coconuts as well as mature brown coconuts. The refreshing low-calorie drink should not be confused with the uber rich coconut milk which is made by mixing grated coconut meat with water.
Coconut Water Nutrition
Even though it is a tad high in sugar (6 g per cup) and sodium (252 mg), there are still many health benefits of coconut water. At just 46 calories per cup, coconut water is rich in potassium, vitamin C, and magnesium. It also has some carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and selenium.2
Coconut water is regarded as one of the ultimate detox drinks owing to its electrolytes, amino acids, phytohormones, antioxidants, growth promoting factors, and age-reversing cytokines. In short, it is not only a tropical beverage that quenches the thirst on a hot day but has also been used successfully as a traditional medicine. Here are the 12 benefits of coconut water or 12 reasons you need to start drinking this elixir.
1. Rehydrates As Effectively As Sports Drinks
The benefits of coconut water after a workout may just be comparable to those artificially flavored carbohydrate-electrolyte beverages packaged in fancy bottles. With essential minerals and electrolytes, tender coconut water has all the trappings of a rehydrating sports drink. Coconut water has been reported to have antioxidant properties, which may aid in neutralizing reactive oxygen species production resulting from long-duration exercise.
According to a study, 12 exercise-trained men were asked to consume bottled water, a sports drink, pure coconut water, and coconut water from concentrate after a 60-minute session of dehydrating treadmill exercise. Pure coconut water benefits were similar to those of the sports drink in terms of hydration.3
2. Lowers Blood Pressure
Who knew one of the benefits of drinking coconut water could be better blood pressure management? According to a 2-week study on 7 participants with hypertension, 5 showed a significant reduction in mean systolic pressure, while 2 also showed a substantial drop in diastolic blood pressure. The study concluded that just 300 ml of coconut water consumed twice a day can control high blood pressure.4
3. Reduces Blood Glucose In Diabetics
There are many medical benefits of coconut water including better glycemic control. When tested on diabetes-induced rats, coconut water showed therapeutic potential in lessening blood sugar levels and oxidative stress.5
4. Prevents Dehydration Due To Diarrhea
Tender coconut water benefits your tummy and may be used as an oral rehydration aid to replace fluid loss from the gastrointestinal tract in patients suffering severe dehydration due to diarrhea.6 It’s light enough to be tolerated well.
5. Protects And Heals The Liver
One of the benefits of tender coconut water includes better liver health, thanks to its antioxidants. It protects the liver and heals damaged liver cells, as observed in a study on rats.7
In particular, green coconut water benefits your liver and overall health more. The antioxidant agents in the green dwarf variety of coconuts (most common) protect against oxidative damage.8
6. Reduces Cholesterol Levels
Thanks to our fast-paced lives and the increasing dependence on processed and junk foods, cholesterol issues are on the rise. The use of coconut water (both tender and mature) on a regular basis has shown to convert excess cholesterol to bile acid in rats. These bile acids are then excreted. Coconut water also reduced the fatty accumulation in the tissues of the liver and aorta.9
7. Provides Folate Essential During Pregnancy
So what are the benefits of coconut water during pregnancy? With so many dos and don’ts to follow during those 9 months, you need something that is good for you and your baby that doesn’t contain caffeine or too much sugar and is not an aerated beverage. Now that’s a big ask! But not only does coconut water meet these criteria, it also contains folate or vitamin B9, a nutrient required to reduce anemia during pregnancy and prevent birth defects.10
It promotes the health of the fetus and helps new moms produce more breast milk. It also eases common complaints of pregnancy such as slow digestion, constipation, and heartburn. However, do not consume it with a lot of food as it can aggravate nausea.
8. Can Aid In Weight Loss
The benefits of coconut water for weight loss are largely due to the low-calorie content and high nutritional value of this drink. It has zero cholesterol and makes for a great substitute for sodas and other high-on-sugar drinks. It’s a great swap to cut calories. Its natural sugars provide you with energy without causing a crash later on.11
9. Can Improve Fertility In Men
In Ayurveda, coconut water is said to promote semen quality and quantity. It also clears up the urinary path.12
10. Dissolves Kidney Stones
Studies reveal that there are benefits of coconut water for kidneys. The consumption of coconut water just 2 to 3 times a week can be very effective in dissolving kidney stones by reducing their size and helping expel them from the body. It can also clear up bladder infections.13
11. Reduces Age Spots And Wrinkles
This miracle drink works from the inside out to give you flawless skin! The benefits of coconut water for skin largely include anti-aging properties. It offers nutritional support for healthy skin by restoring strength and elasticity and reducing age spots, wrinkles, and sagging. It also regulates the functioning of the intestines which, in turn, promotes smoother, more hydrated skin.14
In addition, coconut water also makes for a great natural toner. There are some benefits of coconut water for acne as well – just apply topically and its antimicrobial function will heal pimples and lighten blemishes.
12. Helps In Hair Growth And Removes Dandruff
Wait, we almost forgot about coconut water hair benefits! Just like coconut oil, coconut water also takes care of your mane. A coconut water hair rinse can tame frizzy hair while also taking care of a dry scalp and dandruff. You can even enjoy the benefits of coconut water for hair growth as the lauric acid in it helps improve hair strength.
|↑1, ↑10, ↑12, ↑13, ↑14||Reddy, E. P., and T. M. Lakshmi. “Coconut Water-properties, uses, nutritional benefits in health and wealth and in health and disease: A Review.” J. Curr. Trends in Clin. Med. Lab. Biochem 2, no. 2 (2014): 6-18.|
|↑2, ↑11||Coconut Water: Health or Hype? AICR.|
|↑3, ↑6||Kalman, Douglas S., Samantha Feldman, Diane R. Krieger, and Richard J. Bloomer. “Comparison of coconut water and a carbohydrate-electrolyte sport drink on measures of hydration and physical performance in exercise-trained men.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 9, no. 1 (2012): 1.|
|↑4||Alleyne, Trevnmar, S. Roache, Clifford Thomas, and A. Shirley. “The control of hypertension by use of coconut water and mauby: two tropical food drinks.” West indian medical journal 54, no. 1 (2005): 3-8.|
|↑5||Preetha, P. P., V. Girija Devi, and T. Rajamohan. “Hypoglycemic and antioxidant potential of coconut water in experimental diabetes.” Food & function 3, no. 7 (2012): 753-757.|
|↑7||Loki, Anthony Loperito, and T. Rajamohan. “Hepatoprotective and antioxidant effect of tender coconut water on carbon tetrachloride induced liver injury in rats.” (2003).|
|↑8||Santos, Joao LA, Vanderson S. Bispo, A. D. R. I. A. N. O. BC FILHO, Isabella FD Pinto, Lucas S. Dantas, Daiane F. Vasconcelos, Fabiula F. Abreu et al. “Evaluation of chemical constituents and antioxidant activity of coconut water (Cocus nucifera L.) and caffeic acid in cell culture.” Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências 85, no. 4 (2013): 1235-1247.|
|↑9||Sandhya, V. G., and T. Rajamohan. “Beneficial effects of coconut water feeding on lipid metabolism in cholesterol-fed rats.” Journal of medicinal food 9, no. 3 (2006): 400-407.|