Among the more popular plant waters is coconut water, a slightly less than clear liquid derived from young, green coconuts. Each fruit provides approximately 4 to 8 ounces of nutty, sweet water that should not be confused with coconut milk, which is significantly higher in fat and calories and is made from the grated meat of mature coconuts.
Why should you consider cozying up with a cup of coconut water (aka, coconut juice) or using it to make smoothies? Here are 7 reasons we love coconut water…and you can too! If you can manage to find green coconuts and tap into completely fresh coconut water, go for it! Otherwise, look for coconut water that doesn't have any added sugar, juices, preservatives, or flavorings.
1. Good source of nutrients. An 8-ounce glass of coconut water contains 3 grams fiber, 9 grams carbs, 2 grams protein, and the following Recommended Daily Intake values of manganese (17%), potassium (17%), magnesium (15%), sodium (11%), vitamin C (10%), riboflavin (8%), and calcium (6%).
2. Superior to sports drinks. Coconut water has less sodium, fewer calories, and more potassium than sports drinks. If you are looking for a beverage to accompany your exercise that's more exciting than water but less intense than sports drinks, then coconut water may be for you. Just be sure to avoid any brands that have added sugar or juices.
3. May be good for diabetes. If you have diabetes, coconut water may be a good beverage for you. The results of an animal study showed that diabetic rats fed coconut water had decreased blood sugar levels and reduced oxidative stress, "indicating the therapeutic potential" of coconut water. Coconut water also registers low (3) on the glycemic load scale.
4. Beneficial for rehydration. Athletes and anyone else who exercises vigorously knows how important it is to stay hydrated, especially when the temperatures are high. Use of coconut water and its inherent electrolytes has been shown to be a safe beverage for rehydration. In a study that compared intake of young coconut water, carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage, and water among healthy male volunteers after exercise, it was found that coconut water "caused less nausea, fullness and no stomach upset and was also easier to consume in a larger amount" when compared with the other two beverages.
5. May help prevent kidney stones. Coconut water was found to help prevent crystals from bonding to the urinary tract and the kidneys in a study of rats with kidney stones. The beverage also lowered the number of crystals that formed in the urine. Although these benefits have not yet been explored in humans, anyone susceptible to kidney stones may want to add coconut water to their diet.
6. Lowers blood pressure. Coconut water may lower your systolic and diastolic blood pressures. In one study conducted in the West Indies, 71 percent of individuals with hypertension who consumed coconut water daily showed a significant decline in systolic and 29 percent had a decline in diastolic pressure. The significant amount of potassium in coconut water may be a reason for this benefit.
7. Great for smoothies. Coconut water offers a pleasing and nutritious alternative to milk, plant milks, and plain water as a liquid base for smoothies. It adds just a touch of sweetness to take the edge off of spinach or other greens you may add.
Alleyne T et al. The control of hypertension by use of coconut water and mauby: two tropic food drinks. West Indian Medical Journal 2005 Jan; 54(1): 3-8
Gandhi M et al. Prophylactic effect of coconut water (Cocos nucifera L) on ethylene glycol induced nephrocalcinosis in male wistar rat. International Brazilian Journal of Urology 2013 Jan-Feb; 39(1): 108-17
Preetha PP et al. Hypoglycemic and antioxidant potential of coconut water in experimental diabetes. Food & Function 2012 Jul; 3(7): 753-57
Saat M et al. Rehydration after exercise with fresh young coconut water, carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage and plain water. Journal of Physiological Anthropology and Applied Human Science 2002 Mar; 21(2): 93-104
SELFNutritionData. Coconut water