Coconut is a sweet and clear liquid that is extracted from inside young green coconuts. These coconuts are usually far from maturity at which point the liquid inside has turned to coconut ‘flesh’ and coconut milk. They are ideally harvested between 5 and 7 months to get the best tasting coconut water. Coconut is sterile and thus safe for consumption right from the nut. The coconuts at this age are about the size of a slightly deflated basketball and are therefore easy to cut to get to the water. Find out the health benefits of coconut water here.
Coconut is rich in many nutritional minerals and electrolytes including Potassium, Sodium and carbohydrates that make it have that sweet taste. Among the benefits of coconut water are the fact that is has no cholesterol and no fats. Coconut water benefits can all be attributed to its rich mineral composition and lack of harmful substances such as cholesterol and despite having carbohydrates they are in very low amounts also making coconut water nutritional value very low.
Benefits of coconut water
Coconut water has a rich supply in some essential minerals that have a function across multiple biological and physiological processes in the body but does this translate to benefits of drinking coconut water? Despites calories in coconut water not being high enough to be used during workouts or before strenuous activity is may be a nice substitute for a refreshment in light exercise sessions of low intensity.
Are there benefits of coconut water during pregnancy?
Coconut water has a good supply of potassium which is important to pregnant women. In a study on rats, experimentation found that coconut water was able to reduce changes that may be caused by a high after diet. It is however not a good enough benefit to allow it replace other essential foods in the diet of a pregnant woman as it has zero iron, zero protein, no folic acid and low calcium, lacking fats is also a coconut water disadvantage to women as all these are essential for a healthy pregnancy.
Benefits of coconut water for skin
The only reliable direct link between coconut water and benefits on skin is that it has hydrating qualities and if you stay hydrated the skin is bound to be moist. In a post on Michigan State University website Extension they claim that coconut water has the ability to keep your skin well moisturized. Dr. Nibodhi Haas in the book Health and Consciousness through Fasting and Cleansing writes that it provides deep cellular hydration and that the presents of cytokines in the coconut water is what enables it promote cell growth. This translates to coconut water having anti-aging effect on skin and can keep the wrinkles away a little longer. Benefits of coconut water on skin is a different ball park as there are many skin care routines than incorporate coconut water in the making of the paste for face masks but there is no science backed evidence of its effectiveness as a component in the routines.
Is coconut water good for babies?
Its nutritional advantages may be highly beneficial for adults but its demerits far outweigh its merits as far as babies are concerned. Babies are growing and need a constant supply of high amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, calcium, iron and vitamins. They have high metabolisms which coconut water can only aide in hydration. Any purpose other than hydration coconut water falls short. Benefits of coconut water pregnancy time may provide the unborn child with a rich supply of potassium but that is as far as the benefits go.
Benefits of coconut water on hair
As one of many indirect benefits of drinking coconut water is that it is bound to help your hair stay healthy as the moisturizing effect it has on the skin is good for your scalp. Keeping your scalp moist and free from dandruff results in better hair growth. There is no actual proven connection linking hair structure, quality and strength with coconut water. To fully enjoy this benefit of coconut water for hair it can be used as an improvised leave in conditioner to moisturize the scalp.
Is coconut water good for diabetics?
In a study by the United States of America National institutes of Health it was found that treatment of rates with diabetes with a regimen of mature coconut water had a significant impact on their blood glucose concentrations. Mature coconut water also had the benefit of increasing the prothrombin time in diabetic rats which suggests that it in effect reduces the likelihood of a blood clot occurring. Mature coconut water displays effective anti-thrombotic properties in rats, it is however not clear whether the same result can be achieved with a human subject.
Control of hypertension using coconut water
In another study on the benefits of drinking coconut water, the National Institutes of Health discovered that using coconut water on hypertensive patients resulted in significant decrease in blood pressure over time, the test involves twenty eight subjects some of whom were given water, others coconut water, others mauby and others a combination of mauby and coconut water. It was found that only those given coconut water and mauby that showed lower levels of hypertension after the tests.
READ ALSO: Health benefits of bitter kola
Can you use coconut water to lose weight?
It is possible to use coconut water to lose weight but not because of anything it has, rather for what it does not have. Coconut water has no fats or cholesterol and is low in sugar with only natural carbohydrates, it is therefore a good substitute for conventional drinks that contain a lot of artificial sweeteners that result in high blood sugar and thus result in weight gain. Drinking coconut water in place of a coke will supply you with a lower caloric count as well as give you the feeling of being full.
The number of calories in coconut water is only enough to sustain you through light work as it is about 60 calories for a cup of coconut water.
Benefits of coconut water as an electrolyte replacement
During the Second World War, a few doctors in remote regions resorted to the use of coconut water as an intravenous treatment for ill patients. The doctors were able to do this because in every 100 ml of coconut water there is 250mg of potassium and almost half that amount of sodium, these two can do a lot to replace the electrolytes in blood platelets.
Coconut water side effects and coconut water disadvantages
Coconut water benefits your body in many ways but if you overindulge you may run a few health risks, some these are:
- Coconut water is not ideal for athletes on high intensity work out routines as it is low in caloric value and has less hydrating effect compared to normal water.
- Consumption of large amounts of coconut water may result in electrolyte imbalance
- It is a risk when consumed by babies as it may cause an allergic reaction therefore it is advisable to only give to children older than six months.
- Consumption with added sugars will increase blood sugar and this may increase the likelihood of other health complications.
- It is not a sufficient dietary substitute for any food as it only has a limited number of nutrients therefore is not a reliable source of nutrition.
- Excessive consumption may cause death. Despite it being an isolated incident it is wise to be cautious of how much coconut water you take in .
- Patients taking blood pressure lowering drugs may have to stay away from drinking too much coconut water as it is proven to lower blood pressure and combining it with blood pressure medication may cause blood pressure to drop too low.
- Potassium is excreted from the body if it gets too high and this job is done by the kidneys. Prolonged intake of excessive amounts of coconut water may end up putting pressure on your kidneys increasing likelihood of a future complication.
- Cystic fibrosis patients should avoid taking coconut water as a supply of salts as it has an imbalanced amount of potassium and sodium which will further complicate the health of such individuals.
- In the hours leading up to surgery and the time after it is wise to avoid coconut water as its effects on blood pressure may complicate surgery. Post op care is also a crucial time to avoid the drinking of coconut water.
Benefits of drinking coconut water can only be enjoyed by a certain group of people who must be in good health to reduce the risks involved as well as enjoy the benefits without sacrificing a need they have. It may be more expensive that its better alternatives that are more wholesome but it strikes a nice balance between healthy and enjoyable.
[The information in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this page is for general information purposes only.]
READ ALSO: 10 Health Benefits of Okro