Move over green tea – the word is getting out that coconut water is one of nature’s healthiest drinks. If you’re feeling thirsty or dehydrated, maybe you should consider some of the natural health benefits that coconut water can offer.
What is it?
Coconut water is simply the liquid contained inside a coconut. Nothing is added to it. It is becoming more popular in the United States, with sales doubling in 2017, and total sales for 2018 reaching $110 million. Demand is expected to continue for this drink.
Why is it special?
Coconut water is a fantastic drink because it is very low in calories, fat free, cholesterol free, and high in potassium. Potassium is an electrolyte, which means that it becomes an ion in a solution and is essential for several processes in our body. Potassium, in particular, is essential for proper cell function. An abnormal increase or decrease in our potassium levels can substantially affect the nervous system and make arrhythmias more likely, which have a negative health impact.
Furthermore, electrolytes are vital in maintaining proper hydration. Drinking pure water without any form of electrolytes in your diet can lead to dehydration, which means that coconut water is excellent in helping you stay hydrated. This is especially true for athletes who play strenuous sports like marathon runners – as you work out and sweat, you deplete your body’s source of electrolytes.
Coconut water is also a great source of magnesium, which is an essential nutrient for proper cell function in humans. It also contains antioxidants and cytokinins, chemicals that promote cell growth and division. It also happens to be a great dietary source for Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), another essential nutrient for humans.
Something especially interesting about coconut water is that it may be one of the few natural substances that is totally sterile within the human body and, therefore, can be used in place of human plasma and can be injected directly within the bloodstream. This story originated from World War II, where Japanese and British injured soldiers were given IV injections of coconut water in place of saline solution, which was in short supply at the time.
We recommend trying coconut water by itself. It has a slightly sweet taste, and has less sugar than normal sports drinks. Some companies mix the water with fruit juices like mango or papaya, which can be a tasty addition to the beverage.