Is Coconut Water Good For You?
Coconut water is popping up everywhere in a variety of healthy beverages and you may be curious if it really lives up to the hype surrounding it. But, do the benefits stand up to its actual nutritional value? Is coconut water good for you?
What is coconut water?
Coconut water is the clear liquid found inside a young, green coconut which is usually about the size of a basketball. Ideally, young coconuts are harvested at 5-7 months of age, to contain the most water.
As the coconut matures, the liquid is replaced with coconut “meat”. The greatest nutrient health benefits of coconut water comes from drinking the water of the young coconut, not the mature coconut milk, which is generally lower in nutrients.
Coconut water has been consumed for centuries in tropical countries and is believed to treat a variety of health-related ailments. In Sanskrit, coconuts are called “kalpa vriksha” which means “tree which gives all that is necessary for living”.
In certain emergency situations, coconut water has been used for IV hydration due to its high electrolyte contentand the fact that it is sterile if used directly from the inside of the coconut. People all over the world enjoy coconut water for its multiple benefits and sweet taste.
Recently, coconut water’s health benefits continue to be touted, as many marketers call it “nature’s sports drink” and a “life enhancer”. But, are the claims that coconut water is good for you really true?
Coconut Water Nutrition Facts
The liquid inside the coconut contains approximately 46 calories per cup, 10 grams of natural sugar, with little protein and it is fat free! It contains multiple vitamins, minerals, and phytochemcials that are ideal for human health. (1)
The primary nutrient in coconut water is potassium. It contains approximately 600 mg (12% DV) making it a high electrolyte beverage. Coconut water also contains a small amount of sodium, about 40mg and up to 10% of your daily calcium and magnesium needs. (2)
Electrolytes are critical to maintain blood volume, heart health, and well as to prevent dehydration. Maintaining electrolyte levels can help reduce fatigue, stress, and help maintain muscle relaxation.
There has also been some interesting research regarding the cytokinin content of coconut water which in the future may show some anti-cancer properties. Cytokinins are naturally occurring plant hormones that may help reduce the growth of cancer cells, although more research is needed at this time. (3)
With these nutrition benefits is coconut water good for you? The answer is yes! If you really like the flavor, it can be a low-calorie, low-sugar alternative to soda. It is pretty refreshing to consume on a hot day, to help re-hydrate.
Other health benefits of coconut water include:
- Lowered blood pressure
- Weight loss
- Increased athletic performance
- Boosted energy
- Lowered cholesterol
- Reduced cellulite
- Relax muscle tension