It seems as if coconut water has hit the shelves in every store. From fitness waters to lotions, the tropical liquid has found its way into a variety of products. However, is coconut water a flash in the pan merchandising gimmick or is there something to this common Pina Colada ingredient?
What are the health benefits of coconut water and what exactly is it?
Coconut water is the fluid that is found inside of a coconut, and is considered to be a type of juice. Although coconut milk is similar in that it is made from coconut water, coconut milk uses freshly grated coconut and is emulsified (1).
Per one cup serving, coconut water provides just under 50 calories, nine grams of carbohydrates, with one-third of the carbohydrates comprised of fiber (2). There are also two grams of protein per serving, making coconut water a nutritious and delicious fat-free beverage option (2). Coconut water also has a very low glycemic load, which means that it has very little impact on blood sugar levels (2).
Coconut water is a natural energy drink
The vitamins and minerals that are found naturally in coconut water have been shown to be as effective as sports and energy drinks in providing sustained energy, increased hydration, and can help to replenish energy levels after exercising (3).
When compared to traditional energy and sports drinks, coconut water also contains less sugar and sodium, while providing essential nutrients that are often not found in energy drinks (4).
Help to regulate your blood pressure with coconut water
It is common for people who experience high blood pressure to also be found to have low levels of potassium in the blood (4). Coconut water contains high levels of potassium, which can help to regulate blood pressure (4).
Some research also suggests that the components in coconut water can help to increase the good cholesterol (HDL) levels, contributing to the cardiovascular benefits of this tasty and nutritious beverage (5).
Other studies have found that individuals who regularly consumed coconut water experienced lower rates of strokes and heart disease, as well as reduced risk of heart attacks and when coconut water is consumed following a heart attack, the recovery time is reduced due to the enzymes found in coconut water (6).