1. Good Source Of Several Nutrients
Coconuts grow on large palm trees known scientifically as Cocos nucifera. Despite the name, the coconut is a fruit rather than a nut.
Coconut water is the juice found in the center of a young, green coconut. It helps nourish the fruit.
As the coconut matures, some of the juice remains in liquid form, while the rest ripens into the solid white flesh known as coconut meat.
Coconut water is produced naturally in the fruit, and contains 94 percent water and very little fat.
It should not be confused with coconut milk, which is made by adding water to grated coconut meat. It contains about 50 percent water, and is very high in coconut fat.
Coconuts take ten to twelve months to fully mature. Coconut water typically comes from young coconuts about six to seven months of age, though it’s also found in mature fruit.
An average green coconut provides about 0.5–1 cup of coconut water.
This is what coconut water looks like:
One cup (240 grams) contains forty-six calories, as well as:
Carbs: 9 grams.
Fiber: 3 grams.
Protein: 2 grams.
Vitamin C: 10 percent of the RDI.
Magnesium: 15 percent of the RDI.
Manganese: 17 percent of the RDI.
Potassium: 17 percent of the RDI.
Sodium: 11 percent of the RDI.
Calcium: 6 percent of the RDI.
2. May Have Antioxidant Properties
Free radicals are unstable molecules that are produced in your cells during metabolism. Their production increases in response to stress or injury.
When there are too many free radicals, the body is said to be in a state of oxidative stress, which can damage cells and increase the risk of disease.
Research on animals exposed to toxins has shown that coconut water contains antioxidants, modifying free radicals so they no longer cause harm.
One study found that rats with liver damage showed significant improvement in oxidative stress when they were treated with coconut water, compared to rats that received no treatment.
In another study, rats were fed a high-fructose diet and then treated with coconut water. Free radical activity decreased, as well as blood pressure, triglycerides, and insulin levels.
So far, no studies have investigated this antioxidant activity in humans.
3. May Provide Benefits Against Diabetes
Research has shown that coconut water can lower blood sugar levels, and improve other health markers in diabetic animals.
In one study, diabetic rats treated with coconut water maintained better blood sugar levels than other diabetic rats.
The same study also found that the rats had lower levels of hemoglobin A1c, a measure of long-term blood sugar control.
Another study found that providing coconut water to rats with diabetes led to improvements in blood sugar levels and reductions in markers of oxidative stress, including malondialdehyde (MDA).
However, controlled studies need to confirm these effects in humans.
Nevertheless, with three grams of fiber and a digestible carb content of only 6 grams per cup, coconut water can easily fit into a diabetic meal plan.
In addition, coconut water is a good source of magnesium, which has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and decrease blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes.
May Help Prevent Kidney Stones
Drinking enough fluids is important for kidney stone prevention.
Though plain water is a great choice, one study suggests that coconut water may be even better.
Kidney stones form when calcium, oxalate, and other compounds combine to form crystals in the urine.
These compounds can then form stones. However, some people are more susceptible to developing kidney stones than others.
In a study on rats with kidney stones, coconut water was found to keep crystals from sticking to the kidneys and other parts of the urinary tract. It also reduced the number of crystals formed in the urine.
The researchers believe that it helped to reduce free radical production that occurred in response to high oxalate levels in urine.
However, this is the first study that has investigated coconut water’s effects on kidney stones, and more research is needed in this area.
4. May Support Heart Health
Drinking coconut water may be helpful to reduce heart disease risk.
In one study, rats that consumed coconut water had reductions in blood cholesterol and triglycerides. They also experienced significant decreases in liver fat.
The same researchers conducted another study in which rats were fed a similar diet and treated with the same dosage (4 ml/100g of body weight) of coconut water.
After forty-five days, the coconut water group had a reduction in cholesterol and triglyceride levels that rivaled the effects of a statin drug used to lower cholesterol.
However, it’s important to note that this was a very large dose. In human terms, it would be equivalent to a 150-pound (68 kg) person consuming 91 oz (2.7 liters) of coconut water per day.
Nevertheless, the finding that it reduced cholesterol as effectively as a statin drug is very impressive, and should be further investigated.
5. May Reduce Blood Pressure
Coconut water may be also be a great beverage for keeping blood pressure under control.
One small study gave coconut water to people with high blood pressure. Seventy-one percent experienced significant improvements to systolic blood pressure, which is the higher number of a blood pressure reading.
Additionally, it contains an impressive 600 mg of potassium in 8 oz (240 ml). Potassium has been shown to lower blood pressure in people with high or normal blood pressure.
What’s more, one animal study found that coconut water has anti-thrombotic activity, which means it should help prevent the formation of blood clots.