I love the way coconut water tastes. It is so refreshing and gives me energy and quenches my thirst. I have been enjoying coconut water before and after my workouts for the last five years and feel like it helps me make it through even the toughest workout.
Coconut water is the juice from the center of a young, green coconut that helps to nourish the fruit. The average green coconut makes about 0.5-1 cups of coconut water. As the coconut matures, some juice remains and the rest becomes coconut meat. Do not confuse coconut water with coconut milk which is actually made by adding water to grated coconut meat. Coconut milk contains 50% water and is high in coconut fat while coconut water is 94% water and a very small amount of fat.
What is in coconut water?
One cup of coconut water contains the following:
- Carbs: 9 grams.
- Fiber: 3 grams.
- Protein: 2 grams.
- Vitamin C: 10% of the RDI.
- Magnesium: 15% of the RDI.
- Manganese: 17% of the RDI.
- Potassium: 17% of the RDI.
- Sodium: 11% of the RDI.
- Calcium: 6% of the RDI.
You may have heard about free radicals, the unstable molecules that are produced in cells during metabolism. Production of these molecules increases where there is stress or injury. Too many free radicals in the body create a state of oxidative stress. This can damage cells and increase the risk of disease.
Research conducted on animals has indicated that antioxidants in coconut water can modify free radicals so that they no longer create a dangerous environment. In one study, rats with liver damage had significant improvement in oxidative stress when they were treated with coconut water compared to those that had no treatment. In another interesting study, rats were fed a high-fructose diet and were then treated with coconut water. Free radicals declined and the rats also experienced a significant decrease in blood pressure, triglycerides, and their insulin levels dropped.
Coconut water can lower blood sugar levels and is also a good source of magnesium which is known to improve insulin sensitivity. In one study diabetic rats were treated with coconut water and it was found that they maintained better blood sugar levels than other diabetic rats not treated.
Millions of Americans suffer from heart conditions that lead to comprised living and even early death. Amazingly, adding coconut water to your diet can help maintain a healthy heart. Researchers have found that consuming coconut water daily can reduce cholesterol as significantly as statin drugs. This is a great finding in light of the fact that statin drugs can cause some pretty serious side effects.
Staying hydrated is important, especially after working out. Using coconut water to hydrate and replace electrolytes is one of my favorite ways to start and finish a workout. Electrolytes are minerals that help maintain proper fluid balance.They include potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calcium. Studies have found that coconut water is actually better than water and equal to high-electrolyte sports beverages for after exercise hydration.
So, the next time you reach for a refreshing beverage, try coconut water. You will be surprised at good it makes you feel.