Low in calories and fat, rich in vitamins and minerals, coconut water—the liquid found on the inside of a coconut—has become a popular drink, including among athletes looking for an effective way to rehydrate. The power of coconut water comes largely from its electrolyte content, including calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Here are 10 health benefits of coconut water.
Supports muscle function
Coconut water contains potassium, which is an essential mineral and electrolyte. Potassium helps your muscles to move and function properly. The amount of potassium found in coconut water varies depending on the brand and the age of the coconut when the water was extracted. Check the label to find out how much potassium the coconut water that you’re buying contains.
Helps regulate nerve function
The potassium in coconut water helps your body’s nerves function properly because it helps electrical signals travel from cell to cell. Therefore, drinking coconut water can support your brain’s function and its ability to send messages to other cells in your body. For most adults, the recommended daily potassium intake is 3,400 mg for men and 2,600 mg for women.
Coconut water contains nutrients like vitamin C and L-arginine. L-arginine is an amino acid that has antioxidant effects in your body to reduce oxidative stress and fight free radicals. For example, studies have shown that coconut water can help protect gold miners from oxidative stress caused by exposure to high levels of mercury. Try this Velvety Thai Carrot Soup with Coconut Water Ice Cubes for an antioxidant-rich lunch led by the power of coconut.
Has anti-inflammatory effects
Coconut water can prevent and reduce inflammation and pain, thanks to its combination of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and cytokinins. When inflammation carries on for an extended period of time, it becomes what is known as chronic inflammation, which has been linked to a wide range of diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart disease, and more. Check out these other 10 delicious foods that can help you reduce inflammation.
Supports bone health
With about 19.2 mg of calcium per cup, coconut water can help you get enough of this crucial nutrient. From maintaining healthy bones and teeth to keeping your heartbeat regular, calcium is an essential mineral and electrolyte. If you’d like to know more about the important role calcium plays in your health, check out 10 surprising facts about calcium and your body.
Lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol
Drinking coconut water can provide a cardioprotective effect, partly because the beverage works to lower your levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides, while raising levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. High levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, or having low HDL cholesterol, can lead to buildup in your artery walls. This increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. Read more about other heart-healthy foods that can help support healthy cholesterol levels.
Encourages healthy blood pressure
Coconut water has been shown to help lower high blood pressure—a risk factor associated with the development of heart disease and stroke. Also known as hypertension, the exact causes of high blood pressure are unknown. However, there are factors that can contribute to the development of high blood pressure.
Helps prevent blood clots
Coconut water has been found to be anti-thrombotic, meaning it can help protect against abnormal blood clotting. The amino acid L-arginine contained in coconut water has been linked to the beverage’s anti-thrombotic abilities. Research has even shown that coconut water’s anti-clotting effects are comparable to an anti-thrombotic medication, streptokinase.
Helps with diarrhea
Coconut water’s electrolyte content can help reduce dehydration caused by diarrhea. Studies have also found that the wulung species of green coconut is particularly effective at inhibiting the growth of Shigella sp. bacteria that can cause severe diarrhea, thanks—in large part—to their tannin content.
Has anti-diabetic potential
Coconut water’s L-arginine content has anti-diabetic effects. A growing number of studies support L-arginine’s ability to help prevent and even relieve type 2 diabetes by restoring insulin sensitivity. What you eat can play a major role in getting blood sugar levels under control and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.