Between coconut oil, coconut milk, and coconut water, it seems the world is going nuts for coconuts … and rightfully so! In general, coconut products are packed with powerful nutrients that benefit the body in many ways. As more and more research confirm their benefits, it seems more and more people are eager to stock up products made from this tropical fruit! Today, we’re going to focus on coconut water, a trendy and refreshing beverage you should definitely try.
So What The Heck Is Coconut Water?!
Coconut water is a clear liquid that’s found inside a young, green coconut. Typically, coconut water is taken from a coconut that’s around five-seven months old. The younger the coconut, the more water it contains.
As a coconut matures, the liquid inside of it is replaced with coconut “meat.” That matured meat is then squeezed to create creamy coconut milk, a dairy alternative that’s also gaining a lot of popularity.
While coconut milk and coconut water may sound similar, they are very different in texture, taste, and nutritional value. While coconut milk is loaded with healthy fats and protein, coconut water is fat-free and contains very little protein. Despite that, it still packs a powerful nutritional punch. It’s approximately 46-calories per cup, has 10 grams of natural sugar, and contains plenty of vitamins and minerals that the body needs.
People in tropical countries have been cutting open young coconuts and drinking their water for centuries. While the drink has been used to treat health-related ailments for quite some time, today, researchers are confirming the claims. Below are the top 10 ways your body benefits from coconut water!
1) Perfect For Athlete’s Needing To Rehydrate
Coconut water is often referred to as “nature’s perfect sports drink” and a “life enhancer.” This is mainly because it’s high in calcium, potassium, and sodium. All three of the nutrients I just mentioned are powerful electrolytes, which the body needs to function properly. Athletes lose electrolytes through their sweat. You can also lose electrolytes if you don’t drink enough fluid and become dehydrated. To keep your body balanced, you need to replenish those electrolytes as soon as possible. One of the best ways to do that is to sip on coconut water.
Coconut water’s rehydrating benefits have been proven so powerful that in certain emergency situations, coconut water has actually been used intravenously. People in remote areas of the world have reported great success from using coconut water as a short-term IV hydration fluid. *Note: You shouldn’t attempt this at home. Instead, stick to drinking the coconut water.
In one 2002 study, researchers compared the hydrating benefits of water, coconut water, and standard sports beverages. They had eight participants exercise in the heat and then drink one of the three beverages. They found no difference in sodium levels, urine output, or fluid balance. However, participants reported significantly less nausea after drinking the coconut water, which allowed them to drink more of it. For this reason, researchers call coconut water the best option!
Additionally, doctors point out that coconut water is a much better choice than many sports drinks on the market today because it’s not full of refined sugar. Sports drinks, on the other hand, are loaded with sugar and other chemicals that have been linked to various health issues.
2) Boosts Energy
Fatigue is one of the main signs of electrolyte imbalance. So if you find yourself sluggish by noon and don’t have time for a nap, try sipping on some coconut water. Just one serving of coconut water in the afternoon could help put that pep back in your step. That’s right, with coconut water there’s no need to chug down a sugary Red Bull or 5-Hour Energy shot! Plus, along with cutting back on sugar and other chemicals, coconut water won’t give you the jitters like energy drinks often do.
3) Reduces Muscle Tension
Coconut water is rich in both calcium and magnesium, two electrolytes that have been shown to relax muscles throughout the entire body. This is just another reason it’s the perfect beverage for athletes. Along with relaxing your leg muscles after a long run or arm muscles after an intense iron-pumping session, though, these nutrients can help soothe the muscles around your heart.
4) May Support Heart Health
We heart coconut water and coconut water loves our heart! Since this popular tropical drink is rich in electrolytes, it’s also been shown to support heart health. Researchers say one way it does this is by lowering cholesterol and triglycerides.
Cholesterol and Triglycerides
One group of researchers conducted multiple studies on rats. Once they found evidence that consuming coconut water could lower both cholesterol and triglycerides, they decided to do a longer study that compared the refreshing drink to powerful statin drugs. After 45 days of the rats eating a diet high in fat and cholesterol, the researchers found similar effects between coconut water and the drugs. For this reason, researchers say coconut water has lipid-lowering effects.
May Reduce Blood Pressure
In a 2005 study, researchers divided 28 people with hypertension into four groups. They were either given plain water, coconut water, mauby, or a combination of all three. At the end of the study, the group that saw the most significant decrease in blood pressure was the coconut water group. Their systolic blood pressure was 71 percent lower and their diastolic blood pressure was 29 percent lower than those who drank plain water. Researchers attribute this effect to the drink’s high potassium levels. According to the American Heart Association, potassium can help control blood pressure because it lessens the effects of sodium.
May Reduce Heart Attack Risk
Given the fact that coconut water can help to lower cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure, you probably assumed that it could potentially decrease the risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart attack. Researchers have done studies on rats and the findings are promising. Additionally, researchers say giving coconut water to rats recovering from a heart attack helps speed up the recovery process.
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