Summer is finally in full swing, and it’s time to break out the shades, hit the beach, and crack open some refreshing coconuts! This natural beverage is not only a refresher during hot days but also gives you plenty of health benefits. We have compiled seven surprising health benefits of coconut water other than hydrating your body.
Coconut water is becoming a preferred, delicious option for hydrating your body. The benefit does not end there, though. Many studies have found several other health benefits associated with drinking coconut water, and this is because of the rich nutrient profile it has.
Coconut water has plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help boost immunity and provide essential nutrients that may be lost due to excessive sweating. It also contains vitamin C, calcium, and magnesium, vital for bone health, and antioxidants that help fight against free radicals.
Nutrients in coconut water
Coconut water is 94% water with zero fat and zero cholesterol. One cup (about 240 ml) of coconut water contains the following nutrients:
- Calories – 45
- Carbs – 10.4 grams
- Protein – 0.5 grams
- Calcium – 4% of Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)
- Magnesium – 4% of RDA
- Sodium – 11% of RDA
- Potassium – 16% of RDA
- Phosphorus – 2% of RDA
- Manganese – 23% of RDA
- Vitamin C – 32% of RDA
- Sugar – 8 grams
That’s an impressive lineup of nutrients, making coconut water a sought-after beverage. Access to tender coconuts is easy in tropical countries, but owing to rising fame, you will surely find this beverage stocked in stores.
FUN FACT:The taste of coconut water vary from region to region. The size and colour of the fruit too differ significantly.
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Good for rehydration
One of the most significant health issues during summer is dehydration, which can occur due to excessive sweating.
You lose vitamin C and electrolytes, including calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and chloride, through sweat. These are important for your body to function properly.
Coconut water is a natural source of electrolytes, especially potassium, sodium, and magnesium.
But is it super-hydrating?
No, coconut water is neither super-hydrating nor can replenish all electrolytes lost in sweat due to hot weather or strenuous workout. Hence, it should not be considered an alternative to plain water.
In fact, both plain water and coconut water have almost the same rehydrating effects on the body, except that coconut water provides a few micronutrients, some in good amounts and others meagre.
Further, sodium is lost significantly in excessive sweating. Sodium in coconut water cannot compensate for such significant sodium loss.
Coconut water has good amounts of vitamins and minerals, and drinking it daily is healthy. But it is not an alternative to plain water. It is a delicious hydrating option during a mild illness or while being in a hot environment, helping replenish the body with electrolytes. However, it is not rehydrating enough after a workout session with heavy sweating or prolonged exposure to hot weather.
Other surprising benefits of coconut water
1. Low in calories – A healthy beverage in summer for people with diabetes
It may seem like you always stay thirsty during summer, and the thought of refreshing beverages is welcome. However, people with diabetes need caution in the foods they consume. While fruit juices are restricted in people with diabetes, coconut water with low calories is a suitable drink and provides some health benefits too.
A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that coconut water had a low glycemic index and was an excellent option for people with diabetes. A 2021 study also found that coconut water lowered blood sugar levels and reduced diabetic retinal damage.
Drinking coconut water once a day is beneficial in people with diabetes as it may also help lower the risk of diabetic retinopathy.
2. Good for digestion
Come summer, and digestive issues become common. Gut bacteria are crucial for digestive health. A study by researchers in Zurich, Switzerland, found that hot weather altered gut bacterial composition, which explains why our digestive systems get lazy. The Swiss study also found that there was an increased risk of IBS flare-ups and other stomach infections during a heat wave.
Coconut water may help prevent digestive issues caused by heat stress. A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that coconut water contained natural enzymes that helped improve digestion and promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
Dehydration is a key factor leading to poor digestion and other digestive issues. Sips of coconut water throughout the day can help the body stay hydrated and with good gut health.
3. Cooling effect
We all know that our body has a built-in thermostat that works 24*7 to keep the body’s internal temperature within a narrow range. When mercury soars, your sweat glands sweat out to keep your body at normal temperature. However, too much sweat may lead to dehydration and electrolyte loss.
Coconut water has a cooling effect on the body, which can help replenish electrolytes and regulate body temperature, reducing the risk of heat exhaustion or heatstroke. In addition, drinking coconut water can aid in cooling the body from within and provide a refreshing feeling.
If you must stay outdoors for long periods, consider carrying coconut water in a cold thermos bottle and replenish your body with refreshing sips.
4. Energy booster
Coconut water is a natural energy booster and can help combat fatigue and lethargy caused by excessive heat. Also, coconut water after a strenuous workout helps your body regain energy quicker than when hydrated with plain water.
Coconut water is low in calories with zero fat, making it an excellent energy booster for those watching their weight.
5. Contains antioxidants
Antioxidants are chemicals that stop free radicals from causing damage to cells and tissues. As a result, they help reduce inflammation and lower the risk of several diseases, including diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc.
Coconut water has good amounts of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant. A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that coconut water contained several antioxidants that helped protect against free radicals and had potential immune-boosting properties.
The antioxidant properties can potentially lower the risk of several diseases such as diabetes.
6. May reduce blood pressure
Sodium is one of the key contributing factors to high blood pressure. Potassium helps eliminate excess sodium from your body and hence can help lower blood pressure.
A study published in the West Indian Medical Journal found that coconut water, with significant potassium levels, had a beneficial effect on blood pressure levels in people with hypertension.
Most people get enough potassium from eating a well-balanced diet. However, if you suffer from hypertension, you may consume coconut water regularly to enhance potassium intake.
7. Improves skin health
In addition to the above benefits, coconut water is also a natural remedy for several other health issues that may occur during summer, such as skin irritation and sunburn.
You can apply the water topically to the affected area to soothe the skin and relieve irritation.
In addition, due to the presence of vitamin C, coconut water daily can also improve your skin health and make it glow.
Coconut water is a natural and delicious beverage with a rich nutrient profile. Hydration is the most-talked health benefit. However, taking coconut water regularly has several other benefits due to the presence of antioxidants and trace minerals. In summer, coconut water can help your body stay hydrated, resolve digestive issues, and help maintain the body’s temperature. In addition, due to fewer calories than fruit juices, this can be your guilt-free, go-to option to quench your thirst!