9 Health Benefits of Coconut Water [+Infographic]
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What is Coconut Water?
Coconut water is basically that clear whitish liquid you find when you open up a young green coconut. So it’s literally, the water from a coconut!
Why Drink Coconut Water?
In many tropical countries, coconuts are pretty much everywhere. I spent 3 months on the tropical island of Hainan (off the Southern coast of China), and there were so many coconut trees I was scared I was going to be hit by a falling coconut! There, I just drank water from fresh coconuts all the time. It was delicious and refreshing (I wasn’t even considering the health benefits of coconut water – it was just so tasty!).
In the US, there are sadly not many fresh coconuts lying around, but instead you can buy coconut water in bottles or cartons (super convenient!). And you’ll get pretty much all the health benefits of coconut water from the store bought stuff!
Is Coconut Water Paleo?
Great question! And there’s a whole post about it here. (Basically, the answer is yes, but don’t drink too much as even the 100% pure coconut waters are naturally high in sugar.)
9 Health Benefits of Coconut Water
Ok, here comes the long list!
- Great for Replacing Lost Potassium. In 1 cup of coconut water (240ml), there’s 17% of your daily values of potassium (600mg). That’s more potassium than is in one large banana! So, if you’re sweating a lot, then you’re losing a lot of potassium, and drinking coconut water is a great way of replacing that lost potassium!
- Perfect for Hydrating Your Body. Out of each cup of coconut water (240g), 228g is pure water. So, while you’re enjoying a cup of this delicious beverage, you’re also getting plenty of water into your body.
- Boosts Your Calcium and Magnesium Levels. This is a natural way of getting more calcium and magnesium into your body.
- Lower in Sugar than Most Fruit Juices. Most fruit juices are laden with sugars (even if they don’t have extra added sugar). For example, one cup of orange juice has over 20g of sugar. Whereas, one cup of coconut water has just 6g.
- [Tweet “Coconut water contains less sugar than most fruit juices!”]
- Aids Immune Function. One fantastic health benefit of coconut water is that it does contain some lauric acid (just like coconut milk does). Lauric acid is antibacterial and antiviral, which helps your immune system out a bit! Of course, since most of coconut water is just water, there’s not as much lauric acid in coconut water as is in coconut milk, so I would suggest getting plenty of coconut milk (or coconut oil) into your diet.
- It’s Nature’s Sports Drink. Many of us like to grab a gatorade or other sports drink after a workout, but they’re often full of sugars, chemicals, and colorings. Many athletes are now turning to coconut water as a natural sports drink – it rehydrates as well as provides many of the lost electrolytes (like sodium and potassium). Plus, while it does replenish some of your lost glycogen stores, it doesn’t overwhelm you with a ton of sugar. According to this preventdisease.com article, “Pure coconut water is just as effective as a carbohydrate-electrolyte sport drink at rehydrating exercise-trained men after a 60-minute bout of dehydrating exercise, according to findings published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.”
- Potentially Protects Against Aging. Coconut water contains cytokinins, which supposedly have “anti-aging, anti-cancer, and anti-thrombolytic effects in humans” (according to various articles including Dr. Mercola’s). Apparently, “[c]ytokinins slow down considerably the normal sequence of aging” (including in human cells). There are also suggestions that the application of coconut water to the skin can help with preventing sagging.
- May Help with Preventing Kidney Stone Formation. There’s a lot of unverified sources suggesting that a major health benefit of coconut water is that it can dissolve kidney stones. While, I’m really not sure about the truth of those claims, it does seem that taking magnesium could help prevent kidney stone formation (note: kidney stone formation is a very complicated matter – there could be a lot of different reasons for why they might form and it can depend on the type of kidney stones that are forming). And as it happens, coconut water does contain magnesium!
- Helps Hangovers. Drinking alcohol often depletes our potassium and dehydrates us, and coconut water helps with both these issues!
BONUS Health Benefit of Coconut Water
And here’s my favorite health benefit of coconut water. You can use it for short-term IV hydration (you know where they stick a tube into your arm and rehydrate you directly through your blood stream). So, if you’re lacking a good saline solution, then try a coconut!
Don’t Forget To Share 🙂
Don’t forget to share the infographic at the top of this article and this article if you enjoyed it! Do you like coconut water? Which brand is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.
Images: Copyright (c) joanna wnuk from Fotolia
Funnily enough I was drinking a carton of Vita Coco when I saw the tweet that led me to this article. I don’t drink coconut water very regularly however I do enjoy it as a treat if I am city shopping as I find the air conditioning in shopping centres dehydrating.