13 Ways Coconut Water Is Good For Your HealthReading Time: 4 minutes
Coconut water is the clear liquid found inside coconuts, especially the immature ones. The more immature the coconut, the more water it contains. It is known under many names such as tender coconut water, agua de coco, coconut juice or palm water.
- Antioxidant activity: It is rich in phenols which helps protect the body from oxidative stress and tissue damage.
- Neutralizes toxins, poisons and reverses drug overdose: Coconut water has been used traditionally to neutralize poisons and as antidote to poisons. The evidence supporting this is just anecdotal, however, some studies recommend it is a great antidote for drug overdose and inadvertent poisoning.(1,2)
- Hydration: Coconut water is a naturally refreshing beverage that could be consumed as re-hydration fluid, as it contains water, glucose and electrolytes (potassium, chloride, magnesium, and calcium). It has also been used for intravenous re-hydration by doctors to resuscitate patients, in remote areas of the world with limited resources.(3,4, 5) The advantage coconut water has over soft drinks and other sugar drinks is that it has less sugar, calories and has more potassium. Note: If you are engaged in intense sports or exercise regimen, then this may not be the best re-hydration fluid as it has less sodium compared to other sports drinks.
- Anti-depressant: Young coconut water (water from tender immature coconut) may have antidepressant effect according to a recent study. It does this by influencing a physiologic balance in the chemicals (neuromodulators: monoamines) in the brain that control mood.(6)
- Boosts immunity: Consuming virgin coconut oil fortified with zinc has been shown to boost immunity according to studies.(7,8).
- Protects the liver: Young coconut water protects the liver from toxins and chemicals including CCl4 (found in cleaning agents) capable of causing liver damage. So if you or anyone around you accidentally ingest drinks contaminated with household chemicals and cleaning agents, you may give them coconut water en route to hospital or while waiting for emergency response team to arrive.
- Clears skin infections: Coconut oil is traditionally considered a good skin moisturizer and antiseptic. It’s anti acne effect results from its rich Lauric acid content. It has been used to treat certain bacterial skin infections, such as those caused by Staphylococcus aureus. Virgin coconut oil and monolaurin (in coconut milk) may also treat atopic dermatitis, which is a form of skin allergy. (9)
- Promotes dental health and prevents caries: Studies suggest that decoctions from coconut tree root may be used as mouthwash to protect the teeth. The root extract is low in toxicity and considered safe. Coconut flour is high in lauric acid and has antimicrobial effects which may be beneficial in the treatment of dental caries, mouth infections and sores.(10,11,12,13) You may use the flour as an add-on to your toothpaste.
- Rich source of Potassium: Tender coconut water is high in potassium. Potassium is believed to lower the risk of stroke and high blood pressure.14 The downside is that, when consumed in excess (several liters), it may cause hyperkalemia a condition that leads to kidney failure, reduced blood pressure and heart failure.15
- Convalescing after cholera: Coconut water is also the appropriate fluid to rehydrate anyone recovering from cholera. Give the individual a mix of 1 to 1 1/2 cup(s) of coconut water and 1 teaspoon of fresh lime. This helps counter the acidotic state of the body, rehydrates because of its saline and albumin content and restore lost electrolytes.16
- Antihypertensive: It is believed that coconut water lowers blood pressure. It also has high potassium that helps in lowering blood pressure. To get the antihypertensive benefits drink about 300 mls 2x daily, this suggestion is based on anecdotal evidence. A study where 28 hypertensive participants were given plain water, coconut water, Mauby (Colubrina arborescens) and a mixture of both coconut water and Mauby. The group receiving coconut water showed significant reduction in blood pressure.17
- Antidiabetic: Even though it contains glucose, research suggests it may lower blood sugar and lower Hemoglobin A1C. This is highly beneficial in diabetes where proper blood sugar is required.18
- Acne treatment: Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid which has antibacterial benefits. Although it may combat acne, some people report worsening of their acne with coconut oil use. You may want to try it out first to see if it works for you.
- Coconut is safe for consumption by children and adults. There are no known side effects.
- There is no sufficient information about the safety in pregnant women and lactating mothers.
- It naturally lowers blood pressure, so your doctor may want to adjust your blood pressure medications if you consume coconut water daily.
- It is high in potassium, so if you have high blood potassium it is not a good beverage for you. High blood potassium may lead to fainting, low blood pressure, reduced heart rate, and mental disorientation.1
- If you have low blood pressure do not take CW as it may likely lower your blood pressure even further.
- If you are scheduled for surgery do not take CW at least 2 weeks before surgery because it may make the blood pressure difficult to control.
- Individuals with kidney failure should avoid drinking CW. The kidneys excrete potassium and ensure it is not high in the body. However, in people with kidney failure there is inadequate excretion of potassium and CW being high in potassium, may worsen the condition.
There is no concrete scientific information on the appropriate dose/quantity of coconut water to drink per day. However, the recommended daily intake is measured in terms of potassium level. A cup (8 ounces) contains about 600mg and a maximum of 7 cups (4.7g of potassium) per day may be consumed. The quantity will ultimately depend on the individual’s age and health status.