If you think sipping from a coconut through a straw (paper, glass, or metal, of course!) is reserved solely for a seaside vacation, you're in luck. Coconut water has gone beyond the tropical locale, or even health food stores, and is now available in mainstream grocery stores.
Are the health benefits of coconut water truly worth the hype? Before you stock up on this lightly sweet and nutty water, let's dive into what's packed in this popular drink.
Where Does Coconut Water Come from?
These days, you may be able to pick up a carton of coconut water pretty much anywhere that sells beverages—not just a cabana near the ocean. But coconut water still starts out in a tropical environment. Some of the top coconut producing countries are Indonesia, the Philippines, and India, according to World Atlas.
Coconut water is harvested from coconuts, obviously, but not just any coconuts. The water is the clear liquid that comes from the cavity inside young, green coconuts, as the American Society for Nutrition explains. This is important, as liquid taken from a green coconut versus a brown coconut is not the same. The liquid extracted from the pulp of a mature, brown coconut is much thicker in consistency, which is why it's called coconut milk.
6 Reasons to Sip Coconut Water
You may know that coconut oil has many uses in the kitchen and in your personal care routine, but let's talk about the health benefits of coconut water. According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), coconut water contains potassium, manganese, and magnesium, as well as vitamins C and B6, riboflavin, thiamin, folate, and pantothenic acid. In addition, the Mayo Clinic notes that coconut water may contain sodium—so, if you're concerned about your salt intake, you may want to drink plain water instead.
Here are some of the top reasons to consider sipping on this tropical drink.
1. It's a low-calorie beverage.
Coconut water is a low-calorie beverage, clocking in at forty-five to sixty calories in a one-cup serving, according to the Mayo Clinic. A typical juice of the same size will run you approximately double that, or even more, in calories.
2. It's the perfect choice for post-workout hydration.
An article published by The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center states that coconut water contains plant compounds and electrolytes, such as potassium, sodium, magnesium, and phosphorus. While amounts vary depending on the maturity of the coconuts, coconut water is often higher in potassium than other sources of electrolytes, making it helpful in recovery after an intense workout.
3. It can help you rehydrate after heat or illness.
Those electrolytes that help after exercise are also good for making you feel rehydrated after spending time outside in hot weather or after being ill. Try sipping chilled coconut water when you are overheated or under the weather.
4. It's rich in antioxidants.
A study published by the Annals of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences shows that coconut water is rich in antioxidants—elements that fight free radical damage. Antioxidants ultimately protect your healthy cells, helping to ward off conditions such as heart disease and cancer, as the Mayo Clinic explains.
5. It can boost your mood.
Could sipping coconut water make you feel happier? Just as certain foods may help diminish feelings of anxiety, one study published in the journal Metabolic Brain Disease shows that drinking coconut water may have an antidepressant effect. Now, that's a feel-good beverage.
6. It's keto-friendly.
Coconut water fits in well with any keto or other low-carb eating plans. As the USDA outlines, the water is relatively low in sugar and contains only 8.9 carb grams per one-cup serving.
How to Enjoy the Health Benefits of Coconut Water
Many people love the refreshing taste of coconut water, but the drink isn't for everyone. If you find straight coconut water isn't tasty for you, there are many other ways you can add coconut water to your diet without having to drink it solo.
- Add it to juices and smoothies. Use coconut water in place of milk or water in your smoothies and juices. It adds a hint of coconut flavor but is mild enough not to overwhelm the drink.
- Use it in your favorite beverages. Coconut water is perfect when used to make a variety of drinks. For example, you can swap out plain water for coconut water in lemonade, iced tea, and iced coffee.
- Stir it into dinner. Add coconut water to curries, soups, and stir fries for a boost of delicious flavor.
- Make it a salad dressing. Combine coconut water, olive oil, fresh garlic, apple cider vinegar, and your favorite herbs for a delightful homemade salad dressing.
It's always a good idea to take a closer look at the latest healthy food fads—but being popular doesn't always mean that a food is void of benefits. Next time you reach for a drink to parch your thirst, consider sipping some coconut water to help your body and mind. Who knows, you may just find yourself making it a part of your routine!
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Why It's Good
The list of coconut water's health benefits is long. Not only is it good for the body, but this tasty drink also holds advantages for your mood. Not a fan of the flavor? There are many ways to consume coconut water and reap its rewards.