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For ages, coconut water, the elixir from tropics, has been a favourite natural drink. It is a popular beverage in many countries including Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Brazil, Caribbean Islands, Mexico and even India.

Coconuts belong to the Arecaceae family which has over 4000 species. The taste of coconut water varies depending on the soil it is cultivated on. Its flavour can also be slightly salty if the palm tree is near sea water or a beach.

Indonesia is the largest producer of coconuts in the world, followed by the Philippines and India. In India, the top producers of coconut include Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Consisting of about 95% water, it is a low calorie and non-fattening drink. Additionally, coconut water is a powerhouse of several vitamins, minerals and electrolytes which are beneficial for the body.

Some basic facts about coconut water:

  • Botanical name: Coconut water is obtained from the coconut tree, Cocos nucifera
  • Family: Arecaceae
  • Common name: Nariyal pani in Hindi
  • Sanskrit name: Narikelajalam
  • Parts used: The liquid found inside a coconut
  • Native region and geographical distribution: Grown in over 80 countries worldwide, coconut is mostly found in the tropics. Indonesia, Philippines, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand account for approximately 78% of the world’s coconut cultivation.
  • Interesting Fact: There are more than 20 billion coconuts produced in the world each year
  1. Coconut water nutrition facts
  2. Coconut water health benefits
  3. Coconut water side effects
  4. Takeaway

The main component of coconut water is its total water content. However, coconut water is also rich in vitamin C and various minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.

As per the USDA Nutrient Database, 100 ml of coconut water contains the following values:

Nutrient Value per 100 ml
Energy 29 kcal
Protein 0.30 g
Carbohydrate 6.97 g
Sugars 6.36 g
Minerals  
Calcium 6 mg
Magnesium 2 mg
Phosphorus 6 mg
Potassium 176 mg
Sodium 12 mg
Vitamins  
Vitamin C 5.5 mg

Coconut water is a rich source of antioxidants and antibacterial compounds. It hydrates your skin and body and provides an excellent source of electrolytes. Let us explore some of the scientifically proven health benefits of coconut water.

  • Rehydrates the body: Coconut water is increasingly being used as a post-workout rehydration drink. It replenishes water and electrolytes lost during exercise thus preventing fatigue.
  • Prevents kidney stone: Coconut water helps flush out extra toxins from your body and does not let toxin accumulation in kidneys. It has been found to be useful for preventing kidney stone formation and reducing the number of kidney stones.
  • Benefits for skin: Coconut water could be your skin’s best friend when it comes to inflammation and UV damage. Being a natural antioxidant and antimicrobial, it prevents skin infections and delays the first signs of ageing.
  • Reduces cholesterol: Coconut water has been found to be effective in managing healthy cholesterol levels. It reduces the levels of bad cholesterol and improves HDL or good cholesterol levels, thus reducing the risk of heart diseases.
  • Prevents dental caries: Coconut water contains lauric acid, a type of fatty acid that is suggested to possess potent antibacterial properties. It inhibits the growth of caries-causing bacteria in mouth and prevents tooth decay.
  1. Coconut water rehydration benefits
  2. Coconut water antioxidant benefits
  3. Coconut water for kidney stones
  4. Coconut water benefits for skin
  5. Coconut water benefits for hair
  6. Coconut water is good for high cholesterol
  7. Coconut water for diabetes
  8. Coconut water benefits in dental caries

Coconut water rehydration benefits

Being rich in water and electrolytes, coconut water can efficiently replenish those lost minerals and fluids in the body. It is increasingly being used as a natural substitute for post work out drinks. A study was done to compare and evaluate the effectiveness of coconut water, a beverage with carbohydrate-electrolyte balance and pure water showed that coconut water was sweeter in taste and did not elicit nausea upon consumption. It also promoted the feeling of fullness and did not cause an upset stomach. The study concluded that coconut water can be used as a good source of rehydration after a workout.

(Read more: Dehydration treatment)

Coconut water antioxidant benefits

Free radicals are unstable molecules that are produced by the natural metabolic functions of the body. But an overload of these reactive oxygen species can damage the body cells and develop oxidative stress. A body under high oxidative stress is easily prone to various diseases such as cancer, atherosclerosis and diabetes. .So how can you prevent free radical accumulation?

Antioxidants are substances that prevent the buildup of free radicals in the body. Research suggests that coconut water contains high levels of antioxidants that can help prevent oxidative stress. Coconut water contains ascorbic acid, caffeic acid and several types of phenolic compounds which are responsible for scavenging off these free radicals. A preclinical study demonstrated that the antioxidants present in coconut water efficiently reduced blood pressure, blood glucose level and triglyceride level and fatty acid levels in the body while the natural antioxidant activity was significantly increased.

(Read more: Antioxidant rich foods)

Coconut water for kidney stones

Kidney stones are solid crystals that are formed in the kidneys and it is usually characterized by severe abdominal pain and burning sensation while passing urine. It may also be associated with hematuria (blood in the urine) which is usually caused by scraping of the stone on the urinary system walls. A study done on animal models for a period of seven weeks revealed that consumption of coconut water reduces the formation of kidney stones and also helps reduce the number of crystals formed in urine. This research indicates that coconut water can be used as a natural agent for the treatment of kidney stones.

Coconut water benefits for skin

Skin is one of the most important organs which is the first line of defence against common infections, pollution and harmful UV rays. To maintain optimum health, it is essential to protect it from various conditions such as skin diseases, pigmentation and harmful free radicals. And what wouldn’t one give for a perfectly radiant, healthy and flawless skin? Research shows that coconut water can be used to reduce skin pigmentation. Coconut water is rich in vitamin C which is a useful antioxidant. 

Studies suggest that vitamin C in coconut water can be used in the prevention of pigmentation, skin ageing due to the exposure of UV rays, inflammation and infection in the skin.

Another study indicated that coconut water is abundant with numerous antibacterial and antifungal properties that can protect the skin from common infections.

Coconut water benefits for hair

Coconut water has several benefits for hair. Being rich in antioxidants it may prevent hair loss and reduce premature hair greying. Research reveals that application of coconut water to the hair can help moisturize and give shine to the hair. Additionally, the caprylic acid found in coconut water has been found to possess antifungal properties which can be useful for preventing dandruff.

Coconut water is good for high cholesterol

Hyperlipidemia is a condition characterized by an excess fat content in the blood. It can increase the risk of various conditions such as heart diseases, stroke etc. Research suggests that coconut water can help reduce the level of cholesterol in the body. The presence of essential minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium and components such as ascorbic acid and I-arginine has positive effects on fat levels.

A preclinical study revealed that coconut water helps reduce the level of total cholesterol (TC), the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases the level of good cholesterol (HDL).

(Read more: High cholesterol treatment)

Coconut water for diabetes

Diabetes is a condition marked by prolonged hyperglycemia (an excess of glucose in blood) due to an inability of the body to metabolise blood sugar. Several studies suggest the hypoglycemic potential of coconut water. A study done on animal models showed that coconut water helped reduce the level of blood glucose and glycosylated haemoglobin, which is a measure of the average blood glucose level of a person.

(Read more: Diabetes treatment)

Coconut water benefits in dental caries

Dental caries, also known as tooth decay is primarily caused due to a type of bacteria called S. mutans. Research reveals that coconut water possesses antibacterial properties. This is usually attributed to the presence of lauric acid in coconut water.

The antimicrobial effect of coconut water can help prevent certain oral problems such as mouth sores. Studies have reported that the presence of sucrose monolaurate and glycolipid component in coconut water which can help prevent dental caries by inhibiting the growth of S. mutans.

Coconut water is fat-free but not fun-free. It is often believed to be a magic potion to stay fit and healthy. However, we must keep in mind that excess of anything is bad. Although coconut water has a lot of health benefits, it has its ill effects and disadvantages too.

  • May cause hyperkalemia 
    High potassium levels can cause a condition called hyperkalemia. A delicate balance of potassium is needed in the body to maintain a healthy working heart and muscles. An excessive amount of coconut water intake can cause a spike in the potassium levels in the body which can lead to dangerous and deadly changes in the rhythm of the heart. If this condition is not treated, it could even lead to death.
  • May lower the blood pressure
    As a hypotensive (lowers blood pressure)Coconut water is beneficial for people suffering from high blood pressure. However, people who already have a problem of low blood pressure should avoid coconut water, as it may further lower the blood pressure level. (Read more: Low blood pressure treatment)

Coconut water is a natural and refreshing drink with numerous health benefits. It can help rehydrate the body after a workout, it can protect the skin and hair, its antimicrobial properties can prevent dental caries, it can help lower blood pressure and can also keep diabetes under control. However, the high content of potassium could lead to a condition called hyperkalemia which is considered dangerous, when left untreated. Given all the health benefits, coconut water is definitely a better alternative to soft drinks and energy drinks.

और पढ़ें ...

References

  1. United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Full Report (All Nutrients): 45222490, PURE COCONUT WATER, UPC: 898999000695. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release [Internet]
  2. Saat M, Singh R, Sirisinghe RG, Nawawi M. Rehydration after exercise with fresh young coconut water, carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage and plain water. J Physiol Anthropol Appl Human Sci. 2002 Mar;21(2):93-104. PMID: 12056182
  3. Bhagya D, Prema L, Rajamohan T. Therapeutic effects of tender coconut water on oxidative stress in fructose fed insulin resistant hypertensive rats. Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2012 Apr;5(4):270-6. PMID: 22449517
  4. Gandhi M, Aggarwal M, Puri S, Singla SK. Prophylactic effect of coconut water (Cocos nucifera L.) on ethylene glycol induced nephrocalcinosis in male wistar rat. Int Braz J Urol. 2013 Jan-Feb;39(1):108-17. PMID: 23489503
  5. Pumori Saokar Telang. Vitamin C in dermatology. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2013 Apr-Jun; 4(2): 143–146. PMID: 23741676
  6. DebMandal M, Mandal S. Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.: Arecaceae): in health promotion and disease prevention. Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2011 Mar;4(3):241-7. PMID: 21771462
  7. Sandhya VG, Rajamohan T. Comparative evaluation of the hypolipidemic effects of coconut water and lovastatin in rats fed fat-cholesterol enriched diet. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008 Dec;46(12):3586-92. PMID: 18809454
  8. Pinto IF et al. Study of Antiglycation, Hypoglycemic, and Nephroprotective Activities of the Green Dwarf Variety Coconut Water (Cocos nucifera L.) in Alloxan-Induced Diabetic Rats. J Med Food. 2015 Jul;18(7):802-9. PMID: 25651375
  9. J. N. Rukmini et al. Antibacterial Efficacy of Tender Coconut Water (Cocos nucifera L) on Streptococcus mutans: An In-Vitro Study. J Int Soc Prev Community Dent. 2017 Mar-Apr; 7(2): 130–134. PMID: 28462183