For thousands of years, human beings have enjoyed the natural hydrating effects of coconut water. In more recent history, scientists have eagerly explored the nutritional potential of this beverage. In fact, coconut water was used as IV fluid in the tropics when saline water was unavailable.
This beverage, sourced from the clear liquid inside young coconuts, has a long history of providing nutritional benefits. What does coconut water offer to the modern consumer? What are the nutritional facts that make coconut water such a unique beverage?
Nutrition Facts: What’s in Coconut Water
Let’s take a look at some of the naturally-occurring nutrients in coconut water. Keep in mind that not all processing is created equal, and some companies compromise the natural nutrient potential of coconut water through harsh processing.
That’s why you want to seek coconut water that’s fresh from the coconut, and packaged in a Tetra Pak that ensures you get a fresh and nutrient-dense beverage.
Numerous studies have looked into the antioxidant potential of coconut water. (And in fact, some coconut water is a natural blush-pink colour due to those naturally-occurring antioxidants, and the way they combine with the live enzymes in the coconut water!)
But what exactly are antioxidants, and how do they function in the body? The process of oxidation in the body creates free radicals, unstable molecules that damage other cells. Over time, a proliferation of free radicals can contribute to cancer, heart disease, and liver disease.
Antioxidants work to
Coconut water is an excellent source of electrolytes like potassium and sodium. These two electrolytes work together to keep your blood and fluid volume healthy and balanced.
In fact, increasing the amount of potassium in the diet has been shown to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease since it can decrease blood pressure.
What makes coconut water so unique is that it presents a balance of the potassium and sodium, so that they can work in concert. And unlike many sports drinks that contain electrolytes, coconut water has only natural sugar in it—so you get the benefits of electrolytes without the added sugar.
Your body is 70% water. It’s so important to provide your body with hydration all day long, especially if you lead an active lifestyle where you’re frequently sweating.
This can put you at a risk for dehydration unless you drink liquids frequently. Unlike other water substitutes like soda (loaded with sugar) and coffee (a natural diuretic), coconut water has been shown to promote hydration at least as effectively as water.
This, combined with its powerful combination of electrolytes, makes it a very hydrating and replenishing beverage.
Mix with Other Fruits for Vitamin C
Especially when coconut water is combined with other nourishing fruit juices like raspberry and apple, it can be an incredible source of Vitamin C.
Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is an incredibly important nutrient that’s necessary to keep your skin, bones, and connective
Mix with Watermelon for L-Citrulline and Lycopene
Because coconut water is such a versatile taste, it can be easily combined with other fruits to maximise its nutrition content. By combining coconut water with watermelon juice, for example, you can enjoy the nutritional benefits of L-Citrulline and Lycopene.
Some studies have shown that L-Citrulline could improve GI function and blood flow. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that has been studied for its impact on cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Mix with Spirulina & Chorophyll for Added Nutritional Benefits
Coconut water mixed with supergreens like spirulina can provide a whole host of nutritional benefits. Spirulina is a type of algae that’s rich in vitamins like calcium, niacin, B-Vitamins, and iron. Chlorophyll, which you might know as the component that makes plants green, has been shown to help with detoxification, immune system stimulation, and increasing energy.
Nutrition Facts: What’s Not in (Good) Coconut Water
When choosing beverages for health, it’s just as important to know what’s not in a product. With so many products on the market, it’s more important than ever to stay savvy about what you need to avoid in the products you buy. Pure coconut water from a reputable company should offer a product that leaves these things out:
Free from Gluten. More and more people are seeking gluten-free products to avoid intolerance or sensitivity. Coconut water is a naturally gluten-free product.
Animal Products. If you follow a vegan or plant-based diet, you’ll be happy to know that plain coconut water should be free from dairy or animal products of all kinds. This makes it an amazing drink for those with lactose intolerance, as well. With all products, however, it’s important to buy coconut water from a trusted brand that ensures there’s no cross-contamination with dairy.
Added Sugars. One of the most amazing things about coconut water is that it doesn’t require added sugars to be naturally sweet. Instead of loading up on sugary carbonated drinks, you might want to use coconut water to help satisfy your sweet tooth.
Preservative Free. A top-tier coconut water won’t need preservatives to keep your coconut water fresh. Make sure to check labels and stay informed when purchasing coconut water. When purchasing a plain coconut water, the ingredients label should read 100% coconut water.
Not from Concentrate. When fruit or nut juices are made “from concentrate,” this means that the product is heated to high levels to extract a concentrated form of the original product. The high-heat process can be harmful for many of the naturally-occurring vitamins and minerals in coconut water, so it’s a good idea to look for coconut water that’s not from concentrate when making a purchasing decision.
Artificial Additives. Why purchase a natural beverage that contains unnatural additives? Choose products that are made with pure coconut water— because coconut water taken from fresh young coconuts has no need for “natural flavours” to be delicious.
Choose the Best Coconut Water for the Most Benefits
Like any product, the nutritional content of coconut water can vary based on added ingredients, processing, and general quality. Make sure you’re choosing the best coconut water on the market by doing your research beforehand and seeking a reputable company.
Research what types of coconuts they use, how their packaging preserves nutrients, and whether they make sustainable choices for people and the environment. Once you’ve found your favourite trusted brand, prepare to reap the benefits of coconut water and enjoy this naturally nutritious beverage to the fullest.
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