By Jennifer Roche |
With thanks to Tescohealthandwellbeing
Tuesday, November 11, 2014.
Coconut water seems to be very
much in vogue this year. It’s taking pride of place in supermarkets and health
food stores all over the UK. Celebs like Sienna Miller, Gwyneth Paltrow and
Rihanna have been seen drinking it and it’s reported that Madonna has invested
hugely in a major coconut water company. But is it just a celebrity trend? Is
coconut water good for you and what are the health benefits?
We have already talked about
the benefits of coconut oil, and coconut milk, which is obtained from the
flesh of the coconut, has long been a staple ingredient in curries and oriental
cooking. However, coconut water is relatively new to those of us living in
Coconut water facts: The brown coconuts we know well are mature
nuts. The best coconut water comes from green coconuts aged 5-7 months.
What is coconut water?
Coconut water is the liquid
contained in young, green coconuts. It’s a clear, sweet liquid with many
nutritional properties and has long been used as a refreshing drink in tropical
climates where the coconut is indigenous. Coconut water is extremely low in
fat, is high in fibre and potassium and contains simple sugars, vitamins,
minerals, enzymes, electrolytes and amino acids. So what does this all mean in
Low in fat: Coconut water is very low in fat, to the point
where it’s almost fat-free so will not affect your saturated fat intake. Pure
coconut water contains about 20 calories per 100ml and most of that is obtained
from the sugars contained in the liquid. If you’re including coconut water in
your daily nutritional intake, be sure to track it in your Food Diary.
fibre: Coconut water is a good
source of fibre and contains about 3% of your daily intake per 100ml. In many
countries, coconut water is drunk as a cure for constipation or bowel problems.
potassium: Coconut water contains
potassium, which benefits brain and heart health, fluid balance, muscle and
nerve function. Many fruits and vegetables contain potassium but coconut water
has a higher level than many, including the old favourite, bananas.
Vitamins: Coconut water also contains Vitamin C and
Riboflavin (B2). 100ml contains 4% of your recommended daily intake of each.
Minerals: Calcium, Iron, Magnesium and Zinc are all part
of the coconut water cocktail. These are instrumental in boosting the immune
system and keeping the body strong.
Coconut water facts: Coconut water is the only liquid that is
compatible with human blood. In third world countries, it has been used
intravenously to rehydrate in emergencies.
Health benefits of coconut water
The nutritional properties of
coconut water make it beneficial to health in many ways:
- Rehydrates – coconut water contains
electrolytes that quickly rehydrate the body, making it an excellent
choice if you have been ill. It’s gentle on the stomach so if you have
been vomiting, it should ease any queasiness or nausea.
- Aids digestion – Coconut water’s high
fibre content makes it an ideal choice if you have digestive problems like
constipation or need to maintain a high-fibre diet. It also helps with indigestion and acid reflux.
- Balances electrolyte
drinking coconut water in the morning is said to help balance the
electrolyte levels in your body. This is
important for maintaining a healthy blood pressure.
- High in nutrition – coconut water’s
nutritional qualities make it a healthier drink to fruit juice-based
drinks. It contains a lower level of sugars and is suitable for both
adults and children. Coconut water could be a healthy choice to add to
your child’s lunchbox.
- Good for the skin – your skin won’t just
benefit from drinking coconut water. You can make it part of your beauty
regime too. Coconut water is said to help with acne and oily skin. Try
using it as a toner and follow with coconut oil to moisturise for a
complexion you will go nuts for. It’s no
wonder so many beauty products contain coconut.
- Anti-ageing – coconut water contains
cytokinins. These are anti-oxidants that protect from ageing and cancer.
Coconut water facts: Got that ‘morning after’ feeling? Coconut water
makes an excellent hangover remedy. It’s easy on the stomach and the high level
of electrolytes aid fast absorption into the body.
Choosing coconut water
Unless you are lucky enough to
live in the tropics where you can drink coconut water straight from the nut,
you will be buying coconut water ‘off the shelf’. Be label aware and look for
pure coconut water. The fewer ingredients there are on the label, the purer it
will be. Many coconut waters have juice or sugars added for flavour but these
aren’t always necessary. Feel free to enjoy them in moderation and track them
in your Food Diary. However, if you are looking to contain your
sugar intake, choose pure coconut water.
Coconut water facts: Hailed as ‘nature’s sports drink’, coconut
water is often used by athletes as a healthier alternative to energy drinks for
its fast-rehydrating and energy-giving qualities.
Is coconut water good for you?
In conclusion, there are many
nutritional and health benefits of coconut water. It’s fat free and low in
calories so you can enjoy it as part of a balanced diet and as a healthy alternative
to fruit juice and fizzy drinks. While water will always be the healthiest
drink, there’s no harm in enjoying the coconut water craze while it lasts.