Benefits of Coconut Water

coconut water for electrolyte replenishment!

In classic Indian culture, the coconut palm is described as “Kalpavriksha,” or, “the all giving tree.” I agree with the notion, the coconut palm is a fantastic tree with many offerings. Its fruit and coconut water offer many therapeutic benefits and contributions to human health. [1]

Coconut water is a natural nutritious beverage and it’s very popular all over the world. It’s thought to be extremely nutritious as it contains active compounds and a unique composition of sugars, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and phytohormones.

A Natural Sports Drink

The recreational, fitness, and sporting worlds are awash with sports drinks. Remove the marketing and endorsement deals and you’ll find that most are just overhyped sugar water. Coconut water has gotten a lot of attention as being a healthy, natural alternative to sport drinks. Most of this appeal is based upon observations regarding its hydration capabilities.

Coconut Water: In the Lab

Just as Indian culture places a high value on the coconut, so do their academic circles when it comes to inquiring into its incredibleness in the laboratory. Several studies involving animal models have reported very positive outcomes when evaluating coconut water.

The Department of Biochemistry at India’s University of Kerala has repeatedly examined the effect of coconut water on lab rats and done so from multiple angles. In one study, they reported that coconut water reduced blood sugar and oxidative stress in diabetic rats. [2] Another study found that coconut water reduced high blood pressure and improved antioxidant activity. [3] Further research revealed a beneficial effect on cholesterol. [4]

Coconut Water for Total Body Hydration

When you’re exercising, or just thirsty, you have, literally, hundreds of beverage options. Why coconut water? For starters, it’s natural and it’s better for you. Coconut water has less sugar, less acidity, and less calories than soft drinks. Coconut water is also higher in electrolytes. When you’ve been exercising and sweating, you’ve lost more than water and that’s why rehydrating with more than water is necessary.

When researchers in Malaysia compared the rehydration efficacy of plain water, sports drinks, and coconut water, coconut water was the shining star. A study that included ten healthy males, each exercising for 90 minutes, determined that not only was sodium-enriched coconut water extremely effective for whole body rehydration, it was also better tolerated- no nausea or upset stomach. [5]

These findings are in line with other research that has found drinking coconut water to be easy on the stomach. Persons who consume it after exercising experience less nausea and uncomfortable “fullness” than with regular water, soft drinks, and sports beverages. [6]

Coconut Water To Avert Disaster

According to Loma Linda University Medical Center, the ability of coconut water to provide a mega-serving of refreshing hydration may have capabilities that extend well beyond the ball field or sports arena. If you’ve ever had a stay in the hospital, you probably got an intravenous saline drip to keep you hydrated. But what if you were in an area of the world where hospital-quality saline bags are not available? If you’re lucky, it’ll be an area of the world that’s plentiful in coconuts because, believe it or not, coconut water has been delivered intravenously to fight dehydration. [7]

A similar example of this was reported a number of years ago when the Gilbert Islands experienced an epidemic of Cholera, an intestinal infection that causes severe diarrhea and dehydration. It was discovered that coconut water, with a small amount of table salt added, was incredibly useful for rehydrating affected persons, giving hope to other situations where coconuts are available but conventional fluids are not. [8]

Coconut Water: Try It!

Simply put, coconut water is a natural refreshing beverage that is excellent for electrolyte replenishment. It’s better for your teeth, it’s better for your health- next time you’re faced with the decision of coconut water vs. “Brand G” sports drink, I challenge you to go for the coconut water.

If you have tried it, weigh in and leave a comment. How do you like it?

– Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

References:

  1. 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. doi: 10.1016/S1995-7645(11)60078-3. Epub 2011 Apr 12. Review.
  2. Preetha PP, Devi VG, Rajamohan T. Hypoglycemic and antioxidant potential of coconut water in experimental diabetes. Food Funct. 2012 Jul;3(7):753-7. doi: 10.1039/c2fo30066d. Epub 2012 Jun 27.
  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. doi: 10.1016/S1995-7645(12)60038-8.
  4. Sandhya VG, Rajamohan T. Beneficial effects of coconut water feeding on lipid metabolism in cholesterol-fed rats. J Med Food. 2006 Fall;9(3):400-7.
  5. Ismail I, Singh R, Sirisinghe RG. Rehydration with sodium-enriched coconut water after exercise-induced dehydration. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 2007 Jul;38(4):769-85.
  6. 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.
  7. Campbell-Falck D, Thomas T, Falck TM, Tutuo N, Clem K. The intravenous use of coconut water. Am J Emerg Med. 2000 Jan;18(1):108-11.
  8. Kuberski T, Roberts A, Linehan B, Bryden RN, Teburae M. Coconut water as a rehydration fluid. N Z Med J. 1979 Aug 8;90(641):98-100.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.mailer Jonathan Mailer

    Um, it wasn’t too good. Bland. Are there some brands better than others?

  • Mike

    I’ve been drinking an almond milk and coconut blend drink recently. I like it.

  • BusyI

    Some brands are most certainly better than others. Even with the same brand, taste can vary according to what type of container it is in. I was surprised to learn many brands add sugar to the drink. I was also surprised to find out I liked the drink in aluminum cans a little better than from a glass container or a box.

    I think coconut water with pulp is the best tasting overall. YMMV.

    Is coconut water high in fructose? I’m trying to limit the amount of fructose I get from fruits, should the fructose from coconut water be included the same way as fruit?

  • intrigued

    Why buy a brand? Just open up a coconut?

  • Philalethes

    What’s the difference between “coconut water” and the coconut milk now widely available in natural food stores? I note the “water” in the picture does look like slightly cloudy water rather than like milk.

  • BusyI

    “Why buy a brand?” I think the brands are cheaper than the real thing, here. I have had bad luck opening the real thing, it doesn’t work out right, I spill it, or I get a bad one. Maybe it’s because I live Very far from the tropics? The most important reason, convience, which saves time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alex.rive.35 Alex Rive

    Coconut water is a liquid found inside coconuts, while the milk is a substance gleaned form grating and squeezing the hard jelly formed on the inside of coconuts. Very young coconuts do not have any jelly, just water that has a bland taste. The younger the coconut, the better the water is for you. As a coconut matures and grows, a jelly-like material deposits on the inside until it becomes hard and thick when the coconut dries and falls from the tree. These hard coconuts have very little water that is sweet and concentrated. The hard jelly is grated, squeezed of the milk and made into coconut cream.

    Ideally, the best water to drink is from coconuts that have a thin jelly. My father had kidney stones, not that large owarrent surgery, so the doctor ordered him to drink two young coconuts every day for a length of time. The stones dissolved and were soon passed out.

    To identify young coconuts from dried ones (that is to determine the thickness of the sweet jelly inside) just look at the shape of the nut: the rounder the bottom, the thinner the jelly will be. If you find a coconut with an elongated bottom, it will surely have thick hard jelly.

  • Nate

    Do you even read the studies you are reporting on? There are a number of studies done on rats…do people really need to point out that rats are not humans? The two studies on coconut water vs sports drink found no statistical difference in one, the other found that a sports drink was actually better! The only time coconut water was better was when salt was added, salt helps retain water so of course its going to be better.

    I stopped reading there. I’m no sport drink pusher but coming up with random facts about a substance trying to sell its superior efficacy is misleading. But I guess what you you expect from a someone that calls themselves a Doctor but hasn’t been to med school.

    Lie on!

  • Simon

    i think nate has been drinking fermented coconut water

  • rg

    Nate, can’t stop laughing at you

  • John Carter

    I made my own almond milk many times… too easy really!

    Soak almonds overnight.

    Blend and strain/squeeze through a cheese cloth.

    Maybe, you could soak the almonds in coconut water…

    THAT SOUNDS AWESOME!

  • Quality Hunter

    Over the last 20 years if any of my dogs got a bowl or tummy upset I gave them a little natural coconut water, they have all taken to it and enjoy a little on a hot day or after exercise. I love the natural coconut water and use it after an infra red sauna.

  • rajesh

    Mother Nature has provided us this very useful fruit . Every part of it is being used in one or other way. We must try to be with Nature as much as possible. Such articles are to be read and preserved and circulated to make people aware of good things in nature and keep away from artificially chemically treated drinks.

  • ghc_health

    Thanks, Rajesh! Please share the article with your friends.
    -Dr. Edward Group

  • Roz

    I JUST TRIED IT TODAY FOR THE FIRST TIME, IT WILL TAKE SOME GETTING USED TO THE TASTE. …BUT DOABLE! …I WANT TO REAP THE BENEFITS OF IT, AND LIVE HEALTHIER! :)

  • Linda

    the first time I had it, out of a coconut, was in Jamaica….I was not crazy about the taste, but I did feel rehydrated afterwards…..
    A couple weeks ago, I came across it in our supermarket, so bought a can, again, not crazy about the taste, but kept on trying it. Fast forward one month, can’t stop drinking it…my body actually craves it. Don’t know if this is a benefit of the coconut water or not, but have noticed my blood sugars have decreased, great for me as a diabetic.

  • lindsay

    to open a coconut jusy use a wine bottle opener

  • lindsay

    *just

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