Coconut water is a popular refreshing drink in tropical countries. Well, let’s be realistic here, it’s NOT “that” popular like commercial cola drinks. Right? But still, we get to see vendors selling fresh coconut water roadside. After all, it’s a 100% organic drink available within your reach for only INR 30/-. Not only this, there are many other reasons to start drinking coconut water today.
Let’s talk tradition first. In India, coconuts are regarded as one of the most sacred fruits and they are offered to deities as a token of gratitude. Coconut symbolizes Purity, Fertility, and Blessings. Many religious events involve breaking a coconut and offered to god. One of the names of coconut in Sanskrit is Kalpa -vriksha meaning “eternal tree” which fulfills all the wishes. The name is given due to the fact that almost all parts of the tree can be beneficial to humans.
Nutritive value of Coconut Water –
Coconut water is the juice found in the center of a young, green coconut. This clear liquid tastes sweet and slightly salty with a nutty flavor. A glass of coconut water has only about 60 calories. It is nearly fat-free with just 0.25 g of fat per glass. It also contains 11 g of carbohydrates and 3.5 g of proteins.
Nutritional Value of Coconut water
A glass of coconut water (250 ml) contains 60 calories and,
Carbohydrates – 11 g
Protein – 3.5 g
Fat -0.25 g
Minerals – 0.75 g
Calcium – 60 mg (10% of your daily requirement)
Phosphorus – 25 mg
Iron – 0.25 mg
Vitamins C – 5 mg (12.5% of your daily requirement)
*Potassium – 600 mg
*Sodium – 263 mg
Reference – Nutritive value of Indian foods,2016
*USDA database entry
Health Benefits of coconut water
1. Good for managing blood sugar levels
Yes, you read it right. Coconut water is completely safe for diabetic people.
Coconut water is a great source of replenishment, which keeps the diabetic energetic throughout the day. The natural electrolytes present in coconut water support the pH balance which aids in metabolic functioning. The potassium content regulates the functioning of kidneys, which play an important role in diabetics. It has a low glycemic index(GI 3)- gives a steady glucose response and therefore it is safe for diabetic patients. Coconut water is naturally sweet and contains fructose; therefore one must not drink it in excess. 1 Glass daily is safe to be consumed in diabetes.
2) Helps in dissolving Kidney stones
Significant levels of potassium help in dissolving stones in the Kidney. Potassium plays an important role to alkalize urine and preventing uric acid formation which ultimately prevents stone formation. Coconut water helps to dissolve kidney stones by diluting urine so that various chemicals such as calcium, phosphates and uric acid, etc are easily flushed out of your system. As a natural diuretic, it increases urine flow.
3) Supports heart health
Intake of foods rich in potassium is recommended to lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. Coconut water contains approximately 600 mg of potassium per serving. Studies have shown that coconut water is very helpful in controlling blood pressure by lowering both systolic ( the top number) and diastolic (the bottom number) blood pressure.
As it is low in calories, free from fat and cholesterol, and super hydrating it is very good heart health. Research shows that tender coconut water can reduce oxidative stress and formation of any blood clot(thrombosis) which are two main factors that aggravate the risk of myocardial infarction (A blockage of blood flow to the heart muscle).
4) Beneficial after prolonged exercise.
The natural electrolyte present in coconut water makes it a good sports drink. It is free of any added sugar or any chemicals which makes it very safe for consumption. It keeps the body hydrated and replenishes fluids after an intense workout session. Drinking coconut water helps in fighting fatigue and exhaustion. It is one of the best energy-boosting drinks. Coconut water has an extremely low-fat content that can be consumed without worrying about weight gain. Since it is a little richer than regular water, it keeps you full for longer and can also suppress appetite.
5) Facilitates Digestion
Ample intake of fluid is recommended for consistent digestion problems. Swap 2 glasses of regular water with coconut water. The fiber in coconut water ensures that it averts indigestion and reduces the occurrence of acid reflux. The presence of naturally occurring bioactive enzymes aids digestion and metabolism. It can be very effective to cure mild gastroenteritis. But during severe episodes of vomiting and diarrhea coconut water may not be effective due to its low sodium content.
Coconut water vs soft drinks
It’s not that you were completely unaware of the benefits of coconut water. Right? However, even after being aware of the harmful effects of soft drinks, people look for chilled cola bottles of cola rather than coconut water. Until coconut water gets commercialized and starts selling for INR 100/, you are probably not going to pay much attention. To motivate you further to bank on coconut water over any cola drink, just check the following comparison-
|Coconut water (250 ml)||Average Soft drinks (250 ml)|
|Contain 60 kcal||Contain 100 -140 Kcal|
|No sugar added, Naturally slightly sweet in taste||Added sugar – 5-7 teaspoons|
|Contain carbohydrate, protein, essential electrolytes – sodium, potassium, vitamin C, calcium, etc||Contain Zero Nutrients- a mixture of refined sugar, artificial color, flavor, preservatives, and other chemicals|
|Natural – 100% Organic, Naturally sterile||100% Artificial|
|Price- INR 30/-||Price – INR 15 /-|
Yes, coconut water is a bit pricey compared to any soft drinks today but consider the nutrition and the quality of both drinks before making a wise choice.
How to consume coconut water?
People all over the world enjoy tender coconut water for its multiple benefits and sweet taste. It can be consumed directly from the inside of coconut or, it can be sipped with the help of straw or, can be transferred directly into the glass & consumed. At home, fresh tender coconuts can be kept at room temperature for about 5 days. Once opened, its liquid soon turns sour and off-flavored due to intense enzymatic activity. Instead, store in the refrigerator if not used immediately.
If you are creative enough and want to take coconut water to another level, you may consider making this refreshing drink –
Let’s call the drink – Lemon coconut quench
1. Coconut water – 250 ml (1 glass)
2. Fresh lemon juice – 2 tablespoon
3. Honey – 1 tablespoon (unrefined)
4. Grated ginger root – 1/2 teaspoon
5. Sea salt to taste.
1) Add lemon juice, coconut water, honey, ginger, and sea salt into the blender.
2) Blend well for a few seconds
3) Serve with ice cubes
Additional benefits –
Ginger – Relieves gastrointestinal distress.
Sea salt – Regulate blood pressure
Unrefined honey – Antioxidant and Antimicrobial properties.
This drink is certainly a viable option compared to other sugary beverages and a great energy booster after a workout.
Can I replace water with coconut water?
Absolutely Not! Water is essential. It helps in saliva production, transports nutrients and oxygen to cells, helps lubricate joints, cushions organs &tissues, Carries waste out of the body, and helps remove body heat in the form of sweat. So, nothing can actually replace plain regular water.
How much coconut water can be consumed?
Every good food can become poison if consumed in excess. There are nutrients in coconut water that are beneficial if taken in a small amount. Drinking too much coconut water is not going to harm more than good. Moderation is the key. One coconut -approx 250 ml of coconut water- can be safely consumed every day at noon times.
Discuss coconut water consumption with the doctor in case of low blood pressure, cystic fibrosis, high levels of potassium in the blood, Chronic kidney disease( CKD), and during usage of hypertensive medications.
How about drinking packaged coconut water?
No. Don’t opt for any packaged coconut water as it has
1. low nutritional value due to pasteurization,
2. added sugars, and preservatives.
If you don’t have access to fresh coconuts then look for 100% natural packaged coconut water with 1-2 days shelf life.
Refrigeration of fresh coconut water may help in store for a few days but once it is open best to consume within 10 minutes to avoid any fermentation.
Coconut water is an excellent way to quench your thirst, boost hydration and increase your intake of important vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. This natural energy drink detoxifies the body and helps in several kidney, heart, and liver issues. Gulping it down doesn’t fulfill the purpose, enjoy and sip it. Don’t wait for your next beach vacation- Include this nectar in your daily diet and sip your way to good health.