Coconut water is the translucent, off-white liquid found within the shell of a coconut. This liquid, over time, is converted into coconut flesh - the substance that is flaked and typically eaten as coconut in culinary situations.
Coconuts and their water have been dietary staples in tropical regions for centuries. They're known for being able to maintain and heal many maladies. "Kalpa vriksha" is the Sanskrit name for coconut. Sanskrit is the oldest major written language, and the phrase kalpa vriksha means "tree which gives everything necessary for living." Coconuts have had a good reputation for quite some time.
Coconut water's so healthy it's been used for intravenous injections for dehydrated patients , and the water is sterile if it's taken from inside an uncracked coconut.
What's In Coconut Water?
There's not a lot of calories, first off. With only 46 calories per cup, coconut water provides an impressive array of electrolytes, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Coconut water - in contrast to the oil produced by the meat - has no fat. There are roughly 10 grams of sugar per cup.
Electrolytes are popular ingredients in sports drinks. They are critical for maintaining the proper flow of blood to and from your heart, as well as stopping dehydration. Coconut water has been occasionally nicknamed 'nature's sports drink,' due to its natural ability to keep the body hydrated and lubricated. A proper balance of electrolytes can also help with getting rid of fatigue and stress, and the physical symptoms of anxiety.
Health Benefits of Coconut Water
Coconut water is the best source of nutrient value in the entire plant. The oil is still quite good for you, and the flesh can sustain you for quite some time, making these plants a valuable resource altogether. The water, however - which gives rise to the flesh of the coconut - contains the highest concentration of vitamins throughout any of the coconut's stages of life.
There are a wide range of benefits one can reap from drinking coconut water on the regular. It contains quite a few unique ingredients not present in other plants
Coconut Water Has A Ton Of Vitamins and Minerals
Coconut water contains at least a small source of more than half of the body's required nutrients. Some sources are negligible, though, so we've only detailed the ones that are present in the largest amounts. The recommended intake statistics are based off serving sizes of one cup of coconut water.
Vitamin C - 10% of your daily recommended intake (D.R.I.)
Vitamin C is a crucial nutrient for the body. It allows for better functioning and absorption of other nutrients, meaning that any other healthy foods you eat will pack more of a punch/
Riboflavin - 8% of your D.R.I.
Also known as Vitamin B2, is one of the most common vitamins found in nature. Like other B vitamins, Riboflavin is responsible partly responsible for ensuring the proper metabolization of carbohydrates and other molecules that are turned into energy. It also acts as an antioxidant to help your body disarm free radicals before they can turn cancerous.
Magnesium - 14% of your D.R.I.
Magnesium is a nutrient that’s very important for the production and regulation of proper bone density. It also helps regulate blood pressure by expanding the blood vessels, allowing for better transportation of oxygen and nutrients.
Magnesium helps the brain function, with its action as an NMDA antagonist. This allows NMDA receptors to prevent overstimulation which can cause an excess of glutamate in the brain, leading to unpleasant symptoms.
Potassium - 17% of your D.R.I.
Potassium is responsible for helping your body manage its blood pressure. It does this through a number of mechanisms - it helps your kidneys function, aids in blood clotting, and helps your blood vessels dilate properly. These all work together to reduce strain from the cardiovascular system and make for a healthier level of blood pressure.
Manganese - 17% of your D.R.I.
Manganese is another nutrient that’s helpful for the production of healthy bones and helps to maintain their integrity. In addition, manganese helps the body produce prolidase, which is further used to develop healthy amounts of collagen - the hormone primarily responsible for the health of our skin.
These are the most prominent nutrients present in coconut water, though there are good amounts of phosphorous, zinc, copper, iron, vitamin B6, niacin and thiamin.
Conclusion: Coconut water is one of the healthiest drinks you could possibly find! It has a good source of quite a few essential minerals and nutrients - and can be drank straight from the coconut!
2. Coconut Water Has Cytokinetic Properties
Cytokinins are hormones, that develop naturally in plants. There has been some studying done on cytokinins that suggests they reduce the proliferation of cancer cells.
This study shows that, both in vitro and in vivo, that cytokinins are effective cytotoxins (toxic to cells) that target cancerous cells. They tested the activity of their cytotoxicity on human cancer cells and found that they were good at disarming cancer cells.
,Cytokinins promote the healthy division of cells, while at the same time inhibiting the growth of mutated cells. Since cancer is caused by cellular mutations of various types, slowing and preventing the growth of these cells is crucial to preventing the formation of the disease.
On top of that, it also helps prevent cell aging which contributes to enhancing and prolonging human youthfulness. Teeth and tissues are preserved in cytokinetic solutions much more effectively than in regular solutions or water.
Conclusion: Coconut water is a great source of cytokinins, plant hormones that are known to prevent the growth of cancer by inhibiting the growth of cancerous cells.
3. Coconut water contains enough electrolytes to replace sports drinks
Electrolytes are substances that ionize within a solution. Electrolytes are able to conduct electricity, and are needed for the proper function and communication of organs and cells. The four common electrolytes that the human body uses are sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate.
Coconut water is very high in potassium, and also contains 11% of your D.R.I. for sodium. Potassium is a positive ion that resides within cellular components. Sodium is also a positive ion, but it works on the outside of cells.
Coconut water functions so well as an electrolyte replacement that they’ve used it as a replacement for intravenous hydration in certain emergencies.
For athletes hoping to watch their carbohydrate intake or their sugar levels, they might consider coconut water - it has about 4.5% carbs by volume, as opposed to other sports drinks which have between 6 and 8% carbohydrates.
One study compared coconut water against regular water and sports drinks, in order to find out which one was best to re-hydrate with after intense exercise. The study showed that the three were equally hydrating - but coconut water was easier to consume, showing less incidence of nausea or excessive fullness and bloating
Some athletes even swear by coconut water. John Isner, a professional tennis player, has been quoted saying that coconut water is what keeps him energized and hydrated during the extreme 11-hour tennis marathon he was a part of.
Conclusion: Coconut water is an effective replacement for hydration therapy. It contains two of the main electrolytes needed by the human body, and considerably less carbohydrates than leading sports drink brands. It has proven to be just as hydrating as these, and regular water.
4. Lower blood pressure
Studies have shown that coconut water effectively reduces high blood pressure. In this particular study, after two weeks of consuming coconut water, their blood pressure decreased by 71% when compared to a study group drinking regular water.
This is likely linked to the high amounts of potassium and magnesium. Both of these nutrients are known to help reduce blood pressure through various mechanisms; magnesium by improving blood vessel dilation and nutrient transportation, and phosphorous through similar mechanisms but to a lesser extent when not combined with magnesium.
Conclusion: Coconut water has been shown to be effective at lowering blood pressure. It contains a high amount of magnesium, and a good amount of sodium. These two minerals work together to combat hypertension by dilating blood vessels, as well as other mechanisms.
5. Cholesterol makes a good heart helper
The content of coconut water can offer some cardioprotective effects. These are particularly evident in its help with removing unhealthy levels of cholesterol.
There are two types of cholesterol:
LDL cholesterol is short for low-density lipoprotein. LDL cholesterol is the bad stuff, that sticks to the walls of your arteries. It can also make its way into damaged arterial walls, where it can cause blockages and lead to the buildup of plaque which can cause atherosclerosis and other unpleasant diseases. LDL is highly reactive, and can oxidize easily, becoming cancerous.
HDL cholesterol is short for HDL cholesterol - high density lipoprotein. This is the healthier form of cholesterol.. High density cholesterol, in a sense, sweeps the veins and arteries of LDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol needs fiber to be excreted properly, otherwise it can build up and cause problems of its own
Coconut water has positive effects on the level of lipid metabolism. This helps the body metabolise fats, preventing an increase of total cholesterol or VLDLs - very low density lipoproteins.
The mechanism isn’t entirely clear, but it has been shown consistently that coconut water, when consumed regularly, reduces LDL cholesterol. It also reduces the instance of triglycerides - compounds that store fat for your body to use for energy in emergency. Too many triglycerides spells bad news, though. This can increase heart disease, and can be a symptom of metabolic syndrome - a combination of high blood pressure, blood sugar, and too much belly fat.
Some of the nutrients in coconut water helped the study subjects recover quicker, even if they did have a heart attack. This is likely related to the content of potassium, magnesium, and calcium in coconut water.
Furthermore, coconut oil, contained in the meat of coconuts, contains lots of healthy fats which can combat the levels of unhealthy blood fats.
Conclusion: Coconut oil consistently has proven to reduce the level of blood fats in healthy individuals. It also has shown efficacy at helping rat subjects recover from heart attacks. It is speculated that this has to do with the potassium, calcium, and sodium content - all three of these minerals are electrolytes which help improve heart health.
6. Coconut water can fight against diabetes
Coconut water has the ability to lower blood sugar levels. This has been primarily demonstrated in animals, but the results have been consistent. In 2015, coconut water passed the safety test for diabetes according to that year’s edition of the Journal of Medicinal Food.
DIabetic rats treated with coconut water showed reduced levels of blood sugar and reduced instances of blood sugar spikes. They also had lower levels of hemoglobin, a state of which is used to confirm long-term blood glucose maintenance.
There are several nutrients responsible for these effects. Vitamin C, calcium, sodium, and potassium are particularly useful in monitoring and maintaining blood sugar fluctuations.
Coconut water is a healthy alternative for diabetics who like drinking juice or flavoured beverages. It’s quite low in carbohydrates despite the flavour, and those it does contain come from fructose - fruit sugar. Coconut fiber also has a good amount of fiber in it, which further helps modulate blood sugar.
A lot of diabetics also suffer from bad blood circulation. Coconut oil has several minerals in it that bolsters the flow of blood in the body, allowing for easier flow of nutrients and preventing blockages. This can prevent some of the unpleasant symptoms diabetics must deal with, like numb feet, blurry vision, and failing kidneys. Magnesium also improves insulin sensitivity.
Conclusion: Diabetics might want to consider drinking coconut water - especially if they enjoy drinking soda or fruit juice. The combination of nutrients and fiber present in coconut water allows for blood sugar to be reduced and blood sugar spikes to be worked against. It can also prevent a lot of the unpleasant symptoms diabetics see from having high blood pressure.
7. Coconut water can prevent kidney stones
Hydration in general is the most important preventative measure for preventing kidney stones. Regular water is fine, but some suggest that coconut water might be even better!
Kidney stones are formed when calcium and other compounds combine, forming solid crystals in the urine. These crystals can, in turn, become stones. These stones are extremely hindering and painful to pass through the urinary tract.
There was a study done on rats. These rats had kidney stones and were given coconut water supplements on a regular basis. The study results showed that coconut water helped prevent crystals from sticking to the kidneys, and elsewhere in the urinary tract. It also limited the number of crystals forming in the subject’s urine.
There have been minimal studies done in this area of research, so more data is needed to prove whether or not this is an effective treatment in humans.
Conclusion: Coconut water is shown to be effective at preventing the buildup of kidney stones and preventing them from sticking to the urinary.
8. Coconut water helps the body with detoxification
The human body is great at cleansing and detoxing itself naturally - if it has the proper ingredients. A lot of people are deficient in the necessary vitamins, minerals, and hydration to do this properly.
Dehydration allows toxins to build up in our body, because the liver and kidneys aren’t able to function as well. As toxins build up, so does their workload, forcing them to work harder and get less done. As well as difficulty detoxing, dehydration can also cause fatigue and confusion. These are caused by the same reason - the kidney being unable to function properly.
8-10 cups of water a day can typically reduce most symptoms of dehydration, but for an even better alternative, you’ll want to make sure you get your electrolytes balanced. Coconut water has a great balance of electrolytes - sodium, calcium and phosphorous - all of which are necessary to facilitate proper hydration.
Conclusion: Coconut water is good at helping the body restore the minerals and nutrients it needs to properly detox itself. It’s also more efficient than regular water at hydrating the body because it stocks it with electrolytes that are required for proper hydration.
8. Reduce stress and muscle tension
Electrolytes are good at relieving stress and muscle tension. The two most commonly associated with this are calcium and magnesium. Magnesium actually can be strong enough to demonstrate acute effects in high doses, lowering blood pressure and improving relaxation.
A lot of people are deficient in this particular minerals, which can compound stress that’s already present. Raising these levels back to normal can help your entire muscle system f9eel more relaxed, which lowers the risk of heart attacks.
Magnesium operates on the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for stimulating feelings of relaxation (opposed to the sympathetic nervous system, which is related to adrenaline and feelings of energy or restlessness.) Furthermore, magnesium helps the body produce serotonin, which is one of the two main neurotransmitters responsible for feeling ‘happy’ and relaxed.
Conclusion: Coconut water contains enough magnesium to be considered for those hoping to reduce muscle tension and limit stress and anxiety.
9. Coconut water can relieve hangovers
While this is a health-benefit only necessitated by self-induced damage, it can improve the morning after a drinking adventure significantly. With the great balance of electrolytes, it helps your body rehydrate itself faster and more effectively.
Additionally, coconut water contains antioxidants and phytonutrients. Alcohol puts a lot of oxidative stress on your body, particularly in your stomach. These nutrients can combat this oxidative damage and help the acids and bile in your digestive tract settle.
Conclusion: Frequent drinkers should keep a bunch of coconut water on hand - it can help relieve their hangovers!
Including Coconut Water In Your Diet
Now that you’ve learned about what coconut water can do for your health, I’m sure you’re eager to find out how you can include it in your meal plans! Coconut water is stored differently, of course, than the whole coconut, the oil, or just the flesh.
There are certain storage techniques and cooking processes that you should read up on before buying and using coconut water, to make sure that you’re going to get the most benefit from your purchase.
Selecting and Storing Coconut Water
Ideally, you will get your coconut water from inside a fresh green coconut. Unless you’re willing to dish out the dough, and carry home dozens of coconuts - or if you live in the tropics - this isn’t going to be very practical for you (though it is very fun to crack one open and sip the juice out through a straw.) Unprocessed coconut water can’t have any added sugar or preservatives, making it the most health-conscious choice.
Fresh coconuts are perishable, however, and can expire if you don’t drink the water on time. They’re often expensive and can be hard to find.
The next best bet is cold-pressured coconut water. This method of processing uses pressure to kill bacteria, and doesn’t resort to high heat that damages nutrients. This stuff should be refrigerated, and kept for no more than a week.
Coconut water that doesn’t need to be refrigerated has likely been pasteurized. Pasteurizing is a process where liquids are heated extremely high to kill any bacteria. During this process, a lot of the vitamins and minerals are damaged beyond the point of being useful for our body.
Avoid coconut water concentrates, or waters with added flavours and sweeteners. Flavours can also hide the fact that producers aren’t using healthy coconuts in their water, which are less nutritious and tasty.
Preparation and serving tips
If preparing coconut milk from a fresh coconut, use a long sickle to cut open the outermost layer at the top or bottom. Cut open the harder, inner shell next. This will open up the cavity where the water is contained. You can then drink it through a straw, or turn the coconut upside down and transfer the water to another container.
Once you’ve transferred it, it will expire within a couple days if it’s not consumed quickly. Make sure to refrigerate for the time it is being stored, which shouldn’t be more than a few days.
Iced coconut water adds a nice twist to the tropical beverage.
Adding lemon slices or zest, mint leaves, orange zest, or lime slices can add an even deeper twist to this delicious drink.
Be sure to save the meat from inside the coconut. It’s nutritious in its own right, and very tasty!
Coconut water can make a great probiotic
Probiotic diets are great for those hoping to improve their intestinal flora. These healthy bacteria are responsible for a lot of things, including the metabolization of nutrients, sugars, and fats. An imbalance of intestinal flora can lead to a lot of problems throughout your entire body. Plus - those who are sensitive to dairy products can drink coconut milk without problem.
Coconut water kefir is a variation on traditional kefir. Kefir is a dairy product that’s an extremely effective probiotic. It’s great for people with intestinal disorders, or those who are dealing with an infection that requires antibiotics.
Kefir grains -which are actually small kernels that are composed of a balanced amount of yeast and bacteria - are typically added to dairy to produce a bacterial culture that helps out the human body.
Those who can’t handle kefir - usually people with extreme dairy allergies, those with mild sensitivity to dairy can often tolerate it - are good to consume coconut kefir. The first recipe included is one for coconut water kefir.
Recipes For Cooking With Coconut Water
Coconut water has an impressive array of applications. Of course, it can be an ingredient in a number of delicious drinks and smoothies. It can also be the backbone for great caribbean curry sauces, and can help lay foundations for delicious cakes or frozen desserts like sorbet.
You will need:
A quart of coconut water
Three tablespoons of water
Fresh fruit (optional)
Activate the kefir grains by using sugar water. Add a quarter cup of sugar to a quart of water and add the grains. Soak them for a day or two. Once they’re activated, you’re ready to use them with the coconut water.
Place the kefir in the coconut water, and put that in a large jar. Put the lid on or cover it with plastic wrap tightened by an elastic, and let sit for 24-48 hours. Strain the grains out before consuming. If you wish to use fruit, blend it together with the kefir.
The kefir grains can be used again and again if you refresh them between uses.
This delightful recipe will guide you through the process of making a delightful, smooth coconut sorbet. The recipe is tailored towards vegans, but a couple ingredients can be substituted with non-vegan alternatives for those who don’t mind consuming animal products.
You will need:
For the coconut sorbet:
A can (400ml) of coconut milk
Half a cup of coconut water
A quarter cup of maple syrup or honey
A quarter cup of unsweetened coconut shreddings
The juice of half a lime (save the other half)
For the soaked cherries:
2 cups of halved cherries
A tablespoon of Kirsch or other cherry brandy
Two tablespoons of maple syrup or honey
Juice from half a lime
Prepare your cherries first. This takes a while, and the longer you wait, the stronger the sauce gets - gso you might want to get started the night before.
Combine the cherries, kirsch, and maple syrup all in a small bowl. Let this sit under cover for an hour - or let sit overnight if you want a stronger sauce. If you leave it overnight, the cherries should be nice and juicy.
Meanwhile, make your coconut sorbet!
Make sure the coconut water and milk are chilled ahead of time.
When they are chilled, combined them with the maple syrup, shredded coconut, water, lime juice, and a pinch of your salt in a high speed blender and pulse briefly until blended.
Pour this into an ice cream maker and churn depending on whatever directions your ice cream maker recommends. When it’s ready, scoop it into a container that you can store in your freezer. Let it sit for a couple hours at minimum. If you let it sit overnight, or for further storage, let it thaw for a few minutes to make it easier for scooping,
Add the cherries and the liquid they’re soaking in by the spoonful on top of served ice cream.
With winter coming to a close, we can look forwards to hot spring and summer days again. Even for the rest of winter, this slushie tastes great as an accompaniment with any meal. Watermelons are pretty much completely made of water, and coconut water’s excellent hydration abilities make this a great recipe to stay quenched.
You will need:
Two tablespoons of dried boba tapioca pearls
Half a cup of frozen pineapple
Two tablespoons of coconut water
12 mint leaves
Two cups of frozen watermelon (seeded and cubed)
Juice from a lime
A teaspoon of sweetener - maple syrup or honey
In a pot, bring a cup of water to a boil. Stir your boba in and continue stirring until they begin to float. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until tender, which shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes. Remove from the heating source, the cover with a lid and let it rest for another 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, you can rinse everything under cold water and drain it before setting it aside.
In a blender, combine your pineapple, coconut water, and mint. Puree until there are no chunks. Pour this into the bottom of your glass.
Give your blender a quick rinse, then add your watermelon and the juice from your lime. Blend it until it’s slushy, then stir in the boba. Then you can spoon this on top of the mint mixture you have in the bottom of your glass. You can ‘drink’ this with a spoon, or using a wide-mouthed straw.
This is a recipe that boasts a whole lot of flavour with a minimal amount of ingredients. Tossing aside traditional preparation techniques such as hand-pulverising the curry spices, this recipe relies on using pre made curry powder and Sambal sauce. The result? An incredibly aromatic, healthy dish.
You will need:
500 grams of chicken breast
Curried Meat Powder (the creator of this recipe used Falza Curry Meat Powder, but says any mix is fine. Alternatively, you could seek out the ingredients online if you want to make your own.)
Three dried red chilies
Four tablespoons of vegetable oil
A tablespoon of chopped garlic
Two tablespoons of Worcestershire
A tablespoon of Fish Sauce
A tablespoon of Sambal Olek sauce
A teaspoon of sugar
A teaspoon of white pepper
A cup of toasted, desiccated coconut
A cup of coconut water
If you don’t want to buy coconut water, you can soak the desiccated coconut in warm water and squeeze it, saving the water for cooking. Make sure the coconut is completely dry before toasting.
A lime leaf
Sliced red chili as garnish
First, cut your chicken breast into rough chunks, bite-sized. Coat them in curry powder and salt, then set aside.
In a wok or a skillet, heat up four tablespoons of oil. Once it’s hot enough, toss in the chicken and cook it, tossing until it’s browned on all sides. Take it out and set it aside.
Chop your garlic, then throw it In the same pan with the dried chilies and sambal sauce. When you can smell the cooking distinctly, pour some coconut water into the pan slowly. Reduce heat so it rests at a gentle simmer.
Add the Worcestershire sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and white pepper. Simmer for a few minutes, then turn the heat back up to high.
Toss the browned chicken, mix it up, and then add half of your toasted coconut (or enough to ensure that all ingredients are coated evenly.)
The sauce will begin to thicken. Add the rest of your coconut water and let it simmer.
When it starts to thicken for a second time, turn off your heat and serve with whatever sort of pulse you desire. Garnish with you red chilies and lime leaf.
This soup is made with two things in mind - comfort, and lowering blood pressure (though the two go hand-in-hand.) The minerals in the ingredients have a powerful effect on both relaxation and blood pressure control.
You will need:
2 cups of coconut water
A quarter cup of chopped cabbage
Half a cup of blanched spinach
Two tablespoons of chopped yellow banana peppers
A quarter cup of boiled bananas/plantains
Two tablespoons of chopped tomatoes
Two tablespoons of chopped onions
A tablespoon of olive oil
Two teaspoons of cumin seeds
2-3 curry leaves
Grated cottage cheese (paneer) for garnishing
This isn’t the stuff you’ll buy premade with your local dairy products, you’ll likely find it in the foreign food sections.
First, quickly heat your seeds up. Pour the oil in a pan and add the cumin. When the cumin starts crackling, add the curry leaves with your finely chopped onions and saute them.
When your onions are golden brown and semi-translucent, add the yellow pepper, your cabbage, tomatoes, and mashed bananas. Saute everything for a minute. Puree your spinach, then add that to the pan with your coconut water, salt, and pepper. Bring this all to a boil.
Once it’s reached a boil, simmer for 2 minutes and serve hot. Garnish with your grated paneer.
This is a fairly atypical recipe as far as coconut gravies go. It’s not made with coconut milk or even pureed coconut flesh & spices - it uses coconut water and a bit of the meat. It makes an interesting texture, and a great flavour that can be used with all sorts of different vegetables. This recipe uses nothing but a microwave, but you can substitute the recommended steps with appropriate cooking times on the stove.
Half a cup of french beans
Half a cup of carrots
A quarter cup of green peas
One and a quarter cups of coconut water
Half a cup of coconut meat
A tablespoon of cornflourA tablespoon of oil
Half a teaspoon of cumin seeds
For the paste
Half a tablespoon of green chilis
Half a cup of onions
Half a teaspoon of ginger
First, prepare your vegetables.You can prepare those for the paste first - roughly chop your green chilis, onions, and ginger, and grind them into a thick paste. Set this aside, then roughly chop your coconut meat. Chop your green beans and your carrots, and set aside.
Combine the coconut meat, coconut water, and cornflour in a blender. Mix until smooth, then set aside.
Mix the french beans, carrots, green peas, and half a cup of water in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave without a lid for 4 minutes, then drain and set aside.
MIcrowave your oil on high for 20 seconds, then add the cumin seeds and microwave for another minute. Add the paste to this, mix until it’s evenly distributed, then microwave for another minute.
Add the mixture of the coconut water, mix it until everything is evenly distributed, then microwave for 2 and a half minutes. Stir twice during this time.
Add the vegetables and salt, mix, and microwave on high for 2 minutes, stirring once.
Coconut water is an amazing natural source of nutrition. It can help your body stay hydrated even better than just drinking solely water - though it shouldn’t entirely replace it. Drinking one or two cups a day will certainly help your body function better!