Coconut water is a staple in many tropical regions of the world. Eight ounces of coconut water contains only 45 to 60 calories, along with natural electrolytes such as sodium, manganese, and potassium. Because it is naturally low in sugar and calories, coconut water is healthier than most fruit juices and a tasty alternative to water.
Though an essential part of a healthy diet, regular water can get dull, and some people crave a different source of hydration. Fruit juices, fizzy drinks, and sodas are often high in sugar and additives that detract from health. Pure coconut water can deliver the beneficial effects of sports drinks without undesirable ingredients, offering energy and hydration without the calories.
Potassium can help lower blood pressure, and, because of this, coconut water is attracting interest in some parts of the medical community. Coconut water not only contains potassium but also has lower levels of sodium than most sports drinks. A study in the West Indian Medical Journal in 2005 indicated that drinking coconut water had a big impact on blood pressure, but more research is needed in this area.
Coconut water could help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, as indicated in a 2006 study in the Journal of Medicinal Food. It is free of cholesterol and fat and believed to increase "good" HDL and decrease "bad" LDL cholesterol. Antioxidants in coconut water may play a role in reducing damage from free radicals, a buildup of which can lead to many illnesses, including cancer.
Hangovers occur because alcohol dehydrates the body; when combined with the lack of water during sleep, many people awake after a night of drinking with headaches, nausea, and cognitive impairment. Coconut water provides precisely what the body needs in these cases: it replenishes electrolytes. It lacks the sugar and additives of sports drinks, and the antioxidants in coconut water may also reduce the oxidative stress the body experiences after drinking.
Coconut water is a healthy, low-calorie alternative to fruit juices and sodas. People who are trying to lose weight can benefit from swapping coconut water for these high-calorie, high sugar alternatives. One cup of coconut water has between 45 and 60 calories, while a 12-ounce can of soda has up to 180.
Dehydration is one of many possible causes of headaches and migraines. In addition to alleviating this potential cause, coconut water delivers a boost of magnesium to the body; many experts theorize that magnesium deficiency is a cause of migraines.
Stomach acid has a low pH and, for people with reflux, this leads to heartburn and other gastric issues. Coconut water can help balance this. Because coconut water has a higher alkaline pH than stomach acid, it can help reduce acidity in the stomach and prevent the pain that comes along with GERD.
Some promising studies in diabetic animals have suggested that coconut water may be effective in controlling diabetes. One study in rats showed that blood sugars and hemoglobin A1C levels were lower in those who drank coconut water than those who did not. Coconut water is also a good source of magnesium, which can increase insulin sensitivity, lowering blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics.
Proper urine production is essential to good health because it is one of the body's natural ways to eliminate toxins and excess nutrients. Potassium plays a vital role in the health of the urinary system, including the kidneys, and coconut water is rich in this mineral. The drink's antibacterial properties can also benefit these body systems, potentially improving kidney and bladder function.
We can't stop our bodies from getting older, but a healthy diet and lifestyle can prevent cellular aging from occurring too quickly. Coconut water contains cytokinins, compounds secreted by the immune system that benefit both the skin and tissues. Combined with hydration, this drink helps skin remain supple and plump, reducing detrimental cell activity that leads to wrinkles.
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