How drinking coconut water can boost your health, and ways you can get creative with drinking it!
As with many health foods, it can be hard to distinguish hype from truth. Is coconut water a godsend for dehydrated athletes? Can it really replace bananas in your diet? Coconut water indeed contains a range of nutrients that make it beneficial for different areas of your health. Best of all, it’s naturally derived, and tastes amazing without any additional ingredients or sugar. Let’s back up the benefits of coconut water with a little bit of science, and see how you can best enjoy its nutrients.
Where does coconut water come from?
Coconut water is a liquid that’s naturally produced inside a coconut during its early stages of development. This water later turns into coconut meat as the coconut ripens. This meat is what coconut oil is extracted from. That’s why fresh coconut water is always harvested from young coconuts.
What’s the difference between coconut water and coconut milk?
Both are liquids extracted from a coconut, but coconut water is the only form that can be harvested directly from a coconut without additional processing. You can crack open a young coconut and immediately drink its water. But coconut milk requires several additional steps of processing. The meat of a mature coconut is first grinded into a pulp, then pressed and soaked with hot water to produce a milk.
Health benefits of coconut water
Low in sugar
1 cup of coconut water contains just 6 grams of sugar, making it a healthy alternative to sports drinks and even fruit juices for people with diabetes. Just be sure to always drink coconut water without any extra added sugar or other sweetening ingredients. The good news is that coconut water tastes delicious on its own!
Low in calories
1 cup of coconut water contains 45 calories, making it safe to drink for people aiming for weight loss. But that doesn’t mean you should be chugging it endlessly like plain water. As with all things, moderation is key.
1 cup of coconut water contains 600 mg of potassium, which makes up 17% of your Daily Value, and is often more than what’s found in a sports drink! This natural electrolyte helps you stay better hydrated than plain water post workouts by replenishing lost electrolytes. For more intense workouts like a marathon though, you’ll likely need additional resources.
1 cup of coconut water contains 600 mg of potassium, which makes 17% of your Daily Value. That’s more than what a medium-sized banana contains, which is 422 mg. Balanced levels of potassium ensure you stay better hydrated, especially during a workout. And it turns out that increased potassium intake has also been shown to reduce blood pressure levels too!
Magnesium is an important mineral in your body that keeps your bones healthy and strong, supports your immune system, improves your mood. Coconut water is a significant source of magnesium, and 1 cup of it contains enough to meet 15% of your Daily Value.
Cytokinins are a type of phytohormone, or a plant hormone that’s found in coconut water. In general, phytohormones help control plant growth and reproductive development, while also protecting against pathogens and stress. In addition to helping plants in their regular functions, cytokinins have also been found to have significant anti-aging and anti-carcinogenic effects.
Rich with B Vitamins
Coconut water is rich with a range of B vitamins, including vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, and B9. These vitamins help to lower risk of diseases. Vitamin B9 is also known as folate, which reduces anemia during pregnancy.
Ways to use and drink coconut water
- Straight up on its own! This is probably the healthiest way of enjoying coconut water. It tastes sweet and refreshing without any additional sugar or ingredients.
- Make lemonade with it! Instead of adding straight up water to your homemade lemonade mixture, substitute with coconut water. Do note that this option contains a lot more sugar.
- Add it to your smoothie! If you’re look to thin out a fruit or veggie smoothie, add some coconut water to give it a refreshing kick.
- Mix your own cocktail or mocktail. Try adding equal parts of gin, tonic water, coconut water, and some fresh lime to make you own refreshing healthy cocktail at home.
- Iced tea! Looking to jazz up your caffeine intake a bit? Brew a cup of green tea, add ice, and fill with coconut water for a more exciting version of your usual tea!
Coconut water is a healthier alternative to many sugary drinks out there, as long as it doesn’t have additional sugar added to it and is produced from the purest and organic coconuts. But as with all things, moderation is key! Don’t use coconut water as a replacement for other important foods and nutrients your body needs. Enjoy it occasionally on a hot summer day, or mix your own drinks with it for the perfect dose of refreshment.