Called as nature’s “energy drink,” coconut water is the clear liquid found inside young coconuts, which are fruits of coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). As the fruit matures, the volume of the water inside decreases and replaced by coconut meat and air. Although coconut water is still present in mature coconut, it is not as delicious as the water of young coconut. Therefore, it is important to drink coconut water when the fruit is still young. In addition to the sweet and refreshing water, you can consume the edible meat of young coconut which is soft, sweet, and very nutritious. When the fruit matures, the meat hardens and becomes inedible, but coconut milk can be readily extracted from it. Take note that difference between coconut water and milk. Coconut water is the ready to drink water/juice that pours out when a coconut fruit is cut open while coconut milk is the juice that is produced when mechanically squeezing coconut meat. Coconut milk is widely used in cooking as observed in Indian and Southeast Asian cooking.
Coconut water is a favorite beverage in tropical countries, where coconut tree is abundant. The tree is widely cultivated in Latin America, Caribbean, Southeast Asia, India, and Pacific Islands. Although coconut trees cannot survive in temperate countries, people in these countries can now enjoy canned coconut water with no preservatives. But it is more enjoyable to drink coconut water directly from a cut opened coconut fruit. When you visit tropical countries, it is not uncommon to see coconut water vendors in the street. They will open the coconut before your very eyes when you buy. You are not only assured of the coconut water’s freshness but also amazed on how cheap it is. One piece of coconut costs 50 cents in the Philippines. When you visit the Philippines, don’t forget to try our coconut water. You will surely enjoy it.
Coconut water is not only delicious but also very nutritious. It is packed with nutrients and minerals that give our body energy and protection against infection and disease. Continue reading to learn the various health benefits of coconut water.
Health Benefits of Coconut Water
Coconut water is as good as mineral water or energy drink in hydrating our body after physical activity. Ninety five percent of coconut water is pure water, which is essential in regulating body temperature. Other than pure water, coconut water provides the body with important electrolytes such as calcium, chloride, and potassium. These electrolytes keep the body active and alert.
Since coconut water is almost identical to blood plasma in composition, it can be used as intravenous (IV) blood hydration fluid instead of the standard IV fluid. Coconut water does not harm because it is sterile and does not destroy red blood cells or damage organs. It saves lives as proven during World War II in which many wounded soldiers were saved in the Pacific because of emergency transfusion using coconut water as plasma.
Besides its use as IV fluid, coconut water can be used as oral rehydration for gastroenteritis as it is rich in potassium and glucose. Since coconut water is deficient with important electrolytes sodium and chloride, table salt can be added into it to make it more effective oral rehydration fluid.
It is a common knowledge in tropical countries that coconut water is a remedy for kidney stones. It both prevents the formation of kidney stones and reduces the sizes of these stones to make their passing easier.
According to the book of nutritionist and naturopathic doctor Dr. Bruce Fife (Coconut Water for Health and Healing), coconut water may help prevent and treat cataract, an eye disease. Washing the eye with fresh coconut water can heal various eye problems like cataract.
Since coconut water is low in carbohydrates, it does not raise a blood glucose level which is harmful to people with diabetes.
Coconut water is low in sodium so it will not cause high blood pressure. It may in fact regulate blood pressure as it contains electrolytes involved in regulation of blood pressure.
Coconut water contains antioxidants which help detoxify toxins in our body. They get rid of free radicals that cause cancer, heart disease, neurodegenerative disorders, and metabolic diseases.
Coconut water has antibacterial and antiviral properties. Drinking it will not only prevent infection but also heal infection itself. Monolaurin is a potent antimicrobial compound found in coconut water.
Coconut water, together with coconut meat and coconut milk has antigenotoxic effects or the ability to block the actions of genotoxins, compounds that cause chromosome breakage, which is a risk factor for various genetic disorders such as cancer, birth defects, and metabolic diseases.
Drinking coconut water can also reduce vomiting.
- Sylianco, C.Y.L. 1992. Antigenotoxic effects of coconut meat, coconut milk, and coconut water. Philippine Journal of Science.
- Kuberski, T. 1979. Coconut water as a rehydration fluid. N. Z. Med J.
- Favis-Villafuerte, Nellys. 2009. Coconut water for health and healing. The Manila Bulletin Newspaper Online