11 Benefits of Coconut Water, According to Experts

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The benefits of coconut water are as plentiful as you’d assume. Coconut water has become one of the coolest sippable superfoods on the block in recent years, as it’s great alternative to soda and the perfect add-on to smoothies. But with health claims ranging from hydration and electrolytes to being a catch-all for glowing skin and the ultimate hangover cure, it’s natural to be skeptical of this stuff. To better understand coconut water nutrition, we turned to an expert.

Kaleigh McMordie, RD, is a Texas-based registered dietitian, recipe developer, and food photographer.

What Is Coconut Water?

Coconut water is the juice that’s found inside young, green coconuts—not to be confused with coconut milk, which is mostly coconut meat. It’s a clear liquid that’s full of electrolytes and antioxidants, making it a hydrating and healthy drink. You can consume it directly from fresh, cut-open coconuts or find packaged coconut water in stores.

Coconut Water Nutrition

Coconut water is super hydrating and is full of vitamins and minerals. Here’s a breakdown of what it entails.

  • Water – 95 grams
  • Energy – 19 kcal
  • Protein – 0.72 grams
  • Fat – 0.2 grams
  • Carbohydrates – 3.71 grams
  • Fiber – 1.1 grams
  • Sugars – 2.61 grams
  • Calcium – 24 milligrams
  • Iron – 0.29 milligrams
  • Magnesium – 25 milligrams
  • Phosphorus – 20 milligrams
  • Potassium – 250 milligrams
  • Sodium – 105 milligrams
  • Zinc. – 0.1 milligrams
  • Copper – 0.04 milligrams
  • Vitamin B

11 Health Benefits of Coconut Water

There are tons of health benefits of coconut water. Here are some of the reasons why you should drink more of it.

Rich in Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an important vitamin for maintaining a healthy immune system, as well as an antioxidant. “Coconut water naturally contains about 10% of the recommended daily intake for vitamin C per serving,” says McMordie.

High in Potassium

Coconut water is super high in potassium, even more so than fruits like bananas, which are known to have high potassium levels. Some store-bought coconut waters, for example, have as much as about 470 milligrams of potassium per cup. Potassium is necessary for everything from nerve signals and muscle contractions to maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.

Full of Magnesium

Coconut water also contains a high amount of magnesium, which is essential for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Magnesium plays a critical role in nerve function and muscle contraction, as well as heart rhythm. It also helps to strengthen the bones.

Contains Antioxidants

“Coconut water contains antioxidants that can neutralize damaging free radicals that cause oxidative stress on the body,” explains McMordie. Antioxidants are found in a variety of coconut plant forms and products, which do show a range in their effectiveness. Meaning? “It’s best to choose fresh coconut water for the highest antioxidant activity, as heat processing will reduce antioxidant activity.”

Low in Sugar

Coconut water has low sugar content compared to other juices—and the sugar it has is all natural. For this reason, coconut water is a tasty option for anyone with diabetes who needs to be mindful of their sugar intake but who doesn’t want to drink plain water.

Packs Electrolytes

Hydration is one of coconut water’s most celebrated attributes and for good reason. According to McMordie, coconut water naturally contains the electrolytes magnesium, potassium, calcium, and sodium, all of which are important for maintaining fluid balance in the body. In addition to keeping you hydrated, electrolytes help balance your body’s pH, control muscle contractions, and recover post-workout.

Enhances Post-Workout Recovery

“Coconut water is about 95% water and contains both carbohydrates and electrolytes, making it a great beverage for hydration and recovery after a workout,” explains McMordie. It’s naturally much lower in sugar than sports drinks and doesn’t contain artificial colors or flavors.

Controls Blood Sugar

Some research suggests that coconut water can help lower blood pressure for people with hypertension. That’s because the potassium in coconut water effectively counteracts the effects of sodium, which can boost blood pressure.

Boosts Heart Health

Coconut water is full of potassium, which can help to counteract sodium, which boosts blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease. Therefore, drinking coconut water can ultimately help prevent heart disease.

Improves Muscle Function

Because coconut water is so high in potassium and magnesium, in particular, it is a great beverage to drink to replenish the muscles. Both potassium and magnesium play pivotal parts in muscle functioning.

Enhances Skin

Coconut is often used in skincare products that intend to soothe and hydrate the skin. That’s because it’s full of water, vitamins, and minerals that are good for the skin, like Vitamin C. Its anti-inflammatory effects can also help calm the skin.

Tips for Enjoying Coconut Water

There are tons of ways to enjoy coconut water. You can drink it fresh from the coconut itself, or you can drink packaged coconut water. Or you can get creative with how get your coconut water.

  • Add it to a smoothie: Instead of using plain water for your smoothies, try your next mix with coconut water.
  • Mix it with fruit or fruit juice: Add frozen fruit to your coconut water to give it some extra fruity flavor, or add coconut water to a tart fruit juice to sweeten it up.
  • Use it for lemonade: Rather than using regular water for your lemonade, try coconut water instead to add flavor and electrolytes.

There’s no specific amount of coconut water you should drink per day, but you can enjoy it any time of day. It’s especially good to replenish you after a workout or on a hot day. You shouldn’t drink coconut, however, if you have any kidney issues, due to its high potassium content. Healthy kidneys regulate the blood’s potassium levels, but impaired kidneys struggle. And too much potassium (hyperkalemia) can cause tingling in the hands and feet, irregular heartbeat, temporary paralysis, and even cardiac arrest.

Likewise, it’s important to be mindful of any medications that may interact with coconut water. This includes any medications used to lower blood pressure, since coconut water may lower blood pressure even further.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is it good to drink coconut water everyday?

    Coconut water is healthy to drink in moderation. However, consider that one cup of coconut water contains 6.26 grams of sugar. While it is ideal for rehydrating after an intense workout, coconut water could increase your sugar and calorie intake too much if you drink it excessively. Dilute coconut water with filtered water or alternate between coconut water and other sources of hydration, like tea.

  • How much coconut water should you drink in a day?

    To avoid excess calories and sugar (but still enjoy the health benefits), stick to 1 small cup of coconut water per day. If you are working out heavily or are sick, drink 2 to 3 cups of coconut water per day to rehydrate, in addition to water and other sources of hydration.

  • Is coconut water high in sugar?

    Coconut water contains about 2.61 grams of sugar. The types of sugars in coconut water are natural—glucose, fructose, and sucrose. Because coconut water is so rich in other nutrients, it tends to have a lower glycemic index compared to drinks with added sugars.

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