Coconut water is the nearly colorless liquid contained within a coconut, and you can find it in all kinds of stores these days. I recently found it in my local Co-op! When it is in its natural form it is a refreshingly light, and mildly sweet drink. It also has lots of benefits, especially when you get it in its 100% natural state without anything like sugars or preservatives added to it. This article from over on Natural Living Ideas goes further into the benefits of it.
Coconut Water Is A Clean Natural Drink
Coconuts are not nuts; they are the fruit of a tall palm Cocos nucifera with large, spreading fronds. The actual edible part is the seed kernel inside the fibrous fruit. What is unique about this seed is the large quantity of edible liquid contained within the kernel. What’s more: it is hermetically sealed in several protective layers that keep moisture, mold and bacteria from contaminating this nature’s bounty. The people of Hawaii call it “neolani” for good reason. It literally translates to “dew from the heavens.”
The tops of fresh tender coconuts are usually cut open with a sharp machete to access the goodness inside, which includes both the water and the jelly-like meat. But did you know that there’s another way to get the coconut water? When a machete is not available, native islanders remove the outer husk by hitting the coconut on a rock to loosen it off the inner shell.
This hard shell of the coconut has three eyes, and the largest among them is softer than the others. You can actually poke a hole in this eye with a stick and then upturn the shell over your mouth or insert a straw to suck up the water. It looks like nature designed this soft eye specifically for accommodating a drinking straw. Actually, it is to help the baby plant come out easily when a mature coconut sprouts.
When you drink coconut water directly from a freshly cut coconut, It is as clean and pure a drink as you can get. It does not contain any artificial preservatives, nor does it need any additives to make it palatable. It is a far cry from the sodas and juices your palate is familiar with, but most people who get to taste fresh coconut water fall in love with it. Although mild in taste, it satisfies thirst and refreshes the body.
When you cannot get fresh coconuts, the next best thing could be bottled coconut water, but always remember to check the label. Get the brand that gives pure, organic coconut water without additives.
It Rehydrates You Very Quickly
Coconut water has the ability to rehydrate you very quickly because it is readily absorbed into the body. In fact, coconut water is recognized as more hydrating than pure water. Coconut water is identical to human blood plasma and was used for transfusions during World War ll.
In places with hot and humid climates where coconut trees naturally grow, people get dehydrated very often due to heavy sweating. Locals and tourists alike find that coconut water is more hydrating than plain water or fruit juices ( which are loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients). In addition, the mineral salts naturally occurring in coconut water speed up the absorption of water through the gut wall.
People who have lost a lot of blood are given coconut water, so are those who are dehydrated because of frequent vomiting and diarrhea. Coconut water is usually well-tolerated by people who suffer from nausea and aversion to food due to metallic taste in the mouth. It is often given to women who cannot keep down any food during the first trimester of pregnancy. It is also common for those who undertake severe fasting for extended periods to break it with a drink of coconut water.
Coconut Water Is Great For Replenishing Electrolytes
Electrolytes are essential minerals and mineral salts that regulate muscle and nerve function in our body. Blood pressure and blood pH are also regulated by electrolytes. Sodium (Na+), Potassium (K+), Magnesium (Mg++), Calcium (Ca++), Chloride (Cl-), Phosphate (HPO4–) and Bicarbonate (HCO3-) are the seven major electrolytes in the body. The positive and negative charges carried by these ions are responsible for the electrical activity within muscle fibers and nerve cells.
The body gets these important substances from food and employs different mechanisms to maintain them at optimum levels. But excessive sweating, bleeding, and loss of bodily fluids from the gastrointestinal tract can cause imbalances and deficiencies, throwing the normal functions like heartbeat, and muscle contraction out of gear. For example, deficiency of potassium and magnesium affects muscle contraction and causes muscle cramps. This is why high potassium foods like bananas are recommended after bouts of exercise and sports practice.
A cup of coconut water not only has more than 600 mg of potassium, which is one and a half times of what you get from a banana, but has over 250 mg sodium, about 60 mg magnesium, 58 mg calcium and 48 mg phosphorus. So whenever there’s a possibility of developing electrolyte imbalance, coconut water is what you can turn to for a quick fill up.
Coconut Water Is A Great Post-Workout Drink
As mentioned earlier, strenuous activities that require constant muscular movement use up minerals such as sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. It is important to replace them as early as possible to avoid muscle breakdown and electrolyte imbalance. This is the reason why people always reach for mineral-rich foods and health drinks right after workouts. We know that coconut water has these minerals to offer. But what makes it even more special is that its composition and salt concentration are very similar to that of tissue fluids. Therefore, coconut water is readily absorbed into the body.
Some people point out that our body requires a lot more of sodium than what coconut water provides. This is true only if too much sodium has been flushed away through excess perspiration. Nevertheless, this can be easily remedied by adding a pinch or two of sea salt to your coconut water drink.
A lot of water is also lost as a result of profuse sweating during workouts. Every tissue and organ in the body requires minimum levels of hydration for their proper functioning. Severe dehydration can have far-reaching consequences, including dangerous drops in blood pressure and irregular heartbeat. Coconut water can quickly restore fluid volume in the blood as well as in the tissues due to its isotonicity with interstitial fluid and blood plasma.
According to John Isner who successfully played the longest match ever in the history of professional tennis, it is coconut water that kept him going and prevented muscle cramps all through the three days that saw him play a total of 11 hours of intense tennis.
Coconut Water Helps Kidney Function
Most diets are high in sodium and low in potassium. Sodium puts a lot of stress on the kidneys because it promotes fluid retention. When sodium is high, kidneys have to work harder to eliminate excess water. On the other hand, potassium acts as a diuretic, helping the kidneys flush out water.
A single cup of coconut water can provide enough potassium to keep the kidneys in good health. Its diuretic effect is beneficial in preventing kidney stones. The arginine in coconut water increases blood circulation to all organs including kidneys.
Well there you have it! Do you like coconut water? I find I do enjoy it in the summer months when it’s crazy hot. I think I’ll keep some around for after workouts now too.