"Coconut water can improve blood circulation, lower blood pressure and reduce risk of heart attacks and strokes."
Coconuts have always been associated with exotic islands, sunshine and luxury. Known as the ‘tree of life,’ coconut trees are grown in over 70 countries, and coconuts are harvested in their millions, proving them to be very popular around the globe.
The water from coconuts provides vitamins, proteins, fibre and antioxidants. They also contain a number of electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium. They truly are a gift of nature.
There is a huge difference between coconut milk and coconut water. Coconut water is a sweet clear juice found inside green coconuts. It is easy to get it confused with coconut milk which essentially is a mix of coconut flesh and water.
Coconut water is consumed daily in countries such as India, Malaysia and Bangladesh. It is known to be refreshing, natural and contains very little fat when compared to fruit juice and fizzy drinks.
Packed with medicinal goodness, it rejuvenates people both mentally and physically by increasing metabolism, decreasing stress and boosting energy.
Here are the main reasons why coconut water is good for us:
- Rehydration: It’s actually compatible with human blood because it is isotonic to human plasma. When saline isn’t available, coconut water is supplied. Used in third world countries in dire times, people’s lives have actually been saved because of this.
- Eliminates Indigestion: Extremely helpful if you don’t like taking tablets. Gets rid of acidity and leaves behind a nice content feeling. Also soothes heartburn.
- Protects Hair: One of the biggest worries for both men and women is hair loss. Coconut water sorts this problem out by strengthening hair follicles, and provides Lauric acid which prevents hair breakage. It also helps hair to grow because it contains antibacterial properties that combats itchy scalp, lice and dandruff.
- Aids in Weight Loss: It can reduce our appetite. Dr. Eugenio Macalalag, director of the urology department of the Chinese General Hospital in the Philippines, reports that consuming coconut water only 2 to 3 times a week results in a significant reduction in stone size.
- Reduces Blood Pressure: Coconut water contains electrolytes that help maintain balance in the blood. It has twice the potassium of one banana which lowers arterial blood pressure: “Research shows that coconut water can improve blood circulation, lower elevated blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes,” says Dr Bruce Fife, director of the Coconut Research Centre.
Coconut water is essentially the next best thing to water. So how come this water contains so many valuable nutrients? Dr Fife continues:
“Since coconuts are grown near the sea, the roots have access to a continual supply of mineral rich salt water. These minerals are absorbed by the roots and find their way into the fruit of the coconut. For this reason, coconut water is a good source of the major minerals like magnesium, calcium, and potassium.”
As a result, coconut water is gaining popularity as a sports drink in many countries. The electrolytes it contains helps with muscle and nerve movement, as well as being good for the brain.
Jennifer Kolso, a dietician at Kaplan University conducted a study comparing the nutritional value between coconut water and sports drink.
Her study found that coconut water had only fewer calories in comparison to other sports drink. She says: “Water straight from the nut has higher sodium content then the commercial varieties sold in stores.”
However, sodium should not be consumed in excess. Adults are required to have fewer than 2300 mg of sodium per day. Coconut water also contains at least 46 carbs.
It is found that processed coconut water contains many additives and sugar which can add more fat content. Today, they are available worldwide, sold in many stores and online. Popular products that use fresh produce and include 100 % coconut water are:
- Vita Coco (£3.19- 500 ml carton) – Holland and Barrett Stores.
- Tiana Coconut Water (350 ml-£1.99) – Tiana-coconut.com
- Go Coco (1 Litre-£3.69) – Planet Organic’s website
Coconut milk and oil are also great sources of nutrition both externally and internally. Coconut oil contains Vitamin E and K which help keep hair naturally shiny and strong. It also moisturises and protects hair against impurities.
Products like Vatika Hair Oil is a popular brand amongst South Asians. These are often found in South Asian supermarkets in the UK. They are also sold at local Superdrug stores for £5.99.
Coconut oil also hydrates the skin by eliminating dirt and keeping pores clean.
In food, coconut oil is a healthier option as it contains fatty acids that form ketone bodies in the liver. Then they are converted to energy. Another benefit is that the Lauric acid found in coconut oil destroys fungi and provides protection against infections.
More than coconut oil, coconut milk has always been used in food, especially in Indian and Thai dishes. They share a lot of nutritional value with coconut oil. It is also lactose free which serves as an ideal alternative for vegans and those with lactose intolerance.
Coconut water gives more goodness than both coconut oil and milk. Too much of anything is bad for you, and the same rings true for coconut water. However, fresh is best. Adding coconut water into your diet will help replenish your body and flush out harmful toxins, keeping you refreshed and rejuvenated.