Is Coconut Water A Healthy Alternative?
One of the latest crazes in the United States is coconut water and you might be wondering what all the hype is about. Is coconut water really that good for you? Coconut, in the language of Sanskrit, is known as “Kalpa Vriska” – meaning, “tree that provides all the things that are important for life.” So, maybe the hype is justified?
We’ll break down what coconut water is, why you should drink it, and also touch on the potential side effects of drinking it so you can make an educated decision on whether you should pick up a bottle the next time you’re at the grocery store.
What Is Coconut Water?
Coconut water is a clear liquid that is found in the center of the coconut that is recruited from young and green coconuts. It is a refreshing drink with a sweet and nutty taste that contains easily digestible carbohydrates in the form of sugar and electrolytes.
Young coconuts are harvested when they reach the age of 6 to 7 months when their water content is high. As the coconut starts to mature, this liquid is replaced with coconut “meat.” Mature coconut milk contains fewer nutrients compared to the water of young coconuts.
Why Drink Coconut Water?
People all around the globe enjoy the benefits of coconut water because the liquid inside the coconut has an excellent nutritional value. Let’s take a look at the nutritional components of this healthy drink…
1 cup of coconut water contains:
- 46 calories
- 9 grams of carbohydrates
- 3 grams of fiber
- 2 grams of protein
- 10% of the Recommended daily intake (RDI) of Vitamin C
- 15% of the RDI of Magnesium
- 17% of the RDI for Manganese
- 17% of the RDI for Potassium
- 11% of the RDI for Sodium
- 6% of the RDI for Calcium
The key nutrient in coconut water is potassium - 600 milligrams, which is what makes this drink a high electrolyte drink.
Electrolytes are crucial for maintaining blood volume, preventing dehydration, and they also help to keep the heart healthy. Maintaining a good balance of electrolytes can also help to reduce fatigue and stress, and help to relax your muscles.
What Does Coconut Water Do for You?
Your body has a natural ability to cleanse and detox itself when it's supplied with the correct nutrients and hydration. However, inadequate hydration can lead to toxins building up in the body because the liver and kidneys – organs that detoxify the body – cannot work without adequate water.
Dehydration results when there is a loss of electrolytes in your body, however, coconut water contains similar electrolytes to the ones in your body, making it an ideal drink to remove toxins from the body.
Coconut water is also great for increasing athletic performance. Professional tennis player John Isner praises this drink for keeping him on his feet for his 11-hour tennis match at Wimbledon. He claims that coconut water not only helps keep him super hydrated, but it also helps prevent cramping and boosts his performance.
Coconut water is an excellent option for replacing lost fluids and is superior to sports drinks or water. Coconut water also helps to reduce nausea and fullness, and aids with weight loss and cellulite reduction.
Is Coconut Water Bad for You?
Coconut water is a safe and healthy drink for most people. However, since it is very rich in potassium, people that suffer from kidney disease should limit their consumption of coconut water.
Are There Any Health Benefits of Coconut Water?
There are plenty of health benefits that coconut water provides, some of which have already been discussed. Apart from it being an excellent source of nutrients it also has other benefits including:
- It has unique antioxidant properties.
- It may have benefits for diabetic individuals.
- It may help prevent kidney stones.
- It may help to reduce heart disease risk.
- It may help to reduce cholesterol level and also decrease liver fat.
- It may help to lower blood pressure.
- It may help to prevent the development of blood clots in the arteries
- It is great for restoring hydration after a prolonged exercise.
Can You Drink Too Much Coconut Water?
Your body requires a delicate balance of nutrients to work in a proper and healthy way. A gentle balance of potassium in the body is necessary for the heart and muscles to work correctly.
However, coconut water is very rich in potassium and consuming this water in large amounts, within a short period of time, can lead to dangerous and possibly deadly changes in heartbeats.
High potassium (hyperkalemia) is a prevalent cause of life-threatening changes in the rhythm of the heart, and this includes ventricular fibrillation; a condition in which the ventricles of the heart flap rapidly instead of pumping blood.
If high amounts of potassium levels remain in the blood untreated, it may cause the heart to stop beating and lead to death.
Does Coconut Water Cause Side Effects?
Apart from being dangerous for the heart, coconut water does have other side effects, including:
- It is not suitable for people who are vulnerable to allergies (coconuts are tree nuts).
- Since coconut water possesses diuretic properties, drinking too much of it might make you visit the toilet frequently.
- It is a natural laxative and may have laxative effects on your digestive system.
- The drink might make you feel cold, so people who are prone to chilly environments should stay away from it.
Just like other hyped health drinks, coconut water is a relatively safe drink that has plenty of health benefits when consumed in moderation.
Unless you suffer from kidney disease, you may want to pick up a bottle the next time you’re out to see what all the hype is about!