Benefits of Coconut Water ~ Healthy or Hype?

Updated on March 16, 2016
Turtlewoman profile image

Kim is a board-certified holistic health coach, healthy living and cleanse consultant, and studied under Drs. Andrew Weil and Walter Willet.

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They are everywhere now! Coconut water is a very trendy drink, popping up in many grocery and health food stores. More and more companies are coming up with different bottled coconut water, claiming that it can do wonders for our health.

Then there's the coconut water that is flavored with fruit juices and sugar. Are those recommended as well?

So is it true or is it all part of the usual marketing hype? Let's take a look at the nutritional profile and some real facts gathered from reliable studies.

Coconut water is the clear liquid found inside young coconuts, not to be mistaken for coconut milk. Coconut milk is thicker, made from blending water and coconut meat.

The sweet tasting drink provides many nutrients including:

  • Electrolytes (Potassium, Sodium, Magnesium)
  • Low in fat and calories
  • No cholesterol

Coconut water has been a popular drink for thousands of years in Southeast Asia and Caribbean before it became a trendy sports drink in the US. According to Beverage World, coconut water is one of the fastest growing drinks.

Are you a coconut water drinker?

Do you drink coconut water?

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Coconut Water ~ Mother Nature's Sports Drink?

Sometimes referred to as Mother Nature's sports drink, coconut water is often recommended for athletes to drink after a workout. A new scientific study concluded that high concentration of potassium is important for replenishment after sweating.

Potassium will help you relieve cramps, particularly leg cramps. In fact, an analysis shows that it has 5 times the amount of potassium than Gatorade and a banana.

However, the downside, and it's a small relative downside, is that contains less sodium compared to other sports drinks.Causes of Hyponatremia

When you sweat during a strenuous workout, your body loses potassium and sodium. Your body loses more sodium than potassium. A severe loss of sodium can cause hyponatremia, leading to dehydration, cramps, disorientation, and confusion. During some extreme stage it can cause seizures, coma, or death.

So in conclusion, coconut water may be a great sports drink for those who participate in a relatively moderate exercise. However if you are doing intensive, long workouts such as marathon running or triathlon training, it is advised that you reach for a sodium containing sports drink instead. Pickle juice has been shown to relieve these symptoms as well.

Coconut water doesn't get any fresher than this! Give me a straw please!

This young boy is cutting the fresh coconut open to sell to tourists in Savandruga.
This young boy is cutting the fresh coconut open to sell to tourists in Savandruga. | Source
Raw coconut water has not been heated, which retains all of the flavor and nutrients.
Raw coconut water has not been heated, which retains all of the flavor and nutrients. | Source

If you google coconut water, don't be surprised to see many health claims on the companies' websites and health and nutrition blogs. So can coconut water really prevent cancer, hangovers, slow aging, and all of that good stuff? These are some of the latest claims:

  • Prevents cancer
  • Slow aging process
  • Hydrates your body
  • Regulate blood pressure
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Break up kidney stones
  • Even cures hangovers

So far, there aren't any major studies out there concluding that coconut water can cure cancer. There are a few studies that are in the early stages, hoping to find out whether coconut water can lower cholesterol and blood pressure. However, it is too preliminary to conclude from it.

Difference between coconut water and young and old coconut

Coconut water is the clear water from a young coconut. Coconut milk is made from an emulsion of the meat inside an old coconut. The picture above is an OLD coconut.
Coconut water is the clear water from a young coconut. Coconut milk is made from an emulsion of the meat inside an old coconut. The picture above is an OLD coconut. | Source

Questions & Answers

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      • Spanish Food profile image

        Lena Durante 

        17 months ago from San Francisco Bay Area

        I find coconut water unpleasantly sweet by itself, so I often mix with unsweetened cranberry juice. Delish!

      • Kristen Howe profile image

        Kristen Howe 

        3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Kim, this is an interesting read about coconut water. I've had coconut milk before. I might try it sometime.

      • Turtlewoman profile imageAUTHOR

        Kim Lam 

        3 years ago from California

        Thanks Easy Exercise- hope you like the coconut water!

      • Easy Exercise profile image

        Kelly A Burnett 

        3 years ago from United States

        I have had this in my fridge now for a couple of weeks and have yet to try it - will have to review the expiration date. You inspired me - I will give it a try. Love your enthusiasm for food - good food, healthy food - you are right - it is a medicine.

      • Turtlewoman profile imageAUTHOR

        Kim Lam 

        4 years ago from California

        Hi Torr, if you use coconut water in smoothies you won't really taste it! And yes coconut oil is amazing. I also use it as a moisturizer.

        Cheers

      • Torrs13 profile image

        Tori Canonge 

        4 years ago from North Carolina

        I've never really liked the taste of coconut but I gave coconut water a try once and I just couldn't get into it. I have heard a lot of great things about it and it seems that if you get the all natural stuff, then it would be a great thing to have. I wonder if using it as part of a recipe would tone down the taste and make me like it more. I have heard that coconut oil is another great thing to use in cooking, as well as simply eating. Thanks for the info!

      • profile image

        dragonflycolor 

        4 years ago

        I love coconuts and coconut water! Great hub and voted up.

      • healthmunsta profile image

        healthmunsta 

        4 years ago

        I love coconut water and I try to drink some at least once weekly, from a nearby Thai restaurant. Quite pricey, but way better than carbonated soft drinks.

      • Turtlewoman profile imageAUTHOR

        Kim Lam 

        5 years ago from California

        Thank you! It's refreshing on its own too! I appreciate you stopping by...and welcome to HP;-)

      • abetterwaytolive profile image

        Casey Johnson 

        5 years ago from Sanger, Texas

        Great Hub! I am a firm believer of the benefits of the coconut. I use it in every smoothie I make and I notice an unbelievable amount of energy every time. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

      • Turtlewoman profile imageAUTHOR

        Kim Lam 

        5 years ago from California

        Martin- I've learned that people either really love it, or can't stand it. There's no in between haha. Hope you enjoy it! :-)

      • Martin Lu profile image

        Martin Lu 

        5 years ago from Palmerston North, New Zealand

        I've never drunk coconut water before , i will try it after i read your Hub. Big thanks

      • Turtlewoman profile imageAUTHOR

        Kim Lam 

        5 years ago from California

        Careermommy, So glad you got used to the taste! So yummy and refreshing!

      • Careermommy profile image

        Tirralan Watkins 

        5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

        Turtlewoman, I am a big proponent of Coconut water. It is such a healthy drink, although it was an acquired taste for me. Thanks for reminding me that I need need to stock up on it. (-:

      • Turtlewoman profile imageAUTHOR

        Kim Lam 

        5 years ago from California

        iguidenetwork- Thanks for sharing your sister's experience! I'm glad it worked out for her. :-)

        CZCZCZ- Oh I am so jealous of you right now! I hope to be able to drink it straight from the source one day! The closest I've gotten to drinking a fresh coconut is at the Asian market. However, they've been shipped over from the tropical and have been sitting in cargo for awhile. It's still better tasting than the cans! Thanks for sharing!

      • CZCZCZ profile image

        CZCZCZ 

        5 years ago from Oregon

        I love a fresh coconut water straight from the shell. One of my favorite activities when in the Philippines is sipping straight out of the shell with a straw, so tasty when it is super fresh.

      • iguidenetwork profile image

        iguidenetwork 

        5 years ago from Austin, TX

        I have long believed in the health benefits of coconut long before coconut water became a trend. Also, that's what my sister's doctor recommended to her in treating UTI when she had the ailment some time ago -- and she was healed just from drinking the coconut water. I love coconut water, and everything about the fruit. Voted up.

      • Turtlewoman profile imageAUTHOR

        Kim Lam 

        5 years ago from California

        @SidKemp ~ Thank you for the kind comment, and the tips!

      • SidKemp profile image

        Sid Kemp 

        5 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

        I agree with your report that coconut water goes well with mild exercise. It is an excellent balancing rehydration drink, like sports drinks without all the artificial stuff. I find it is also useful during health and dietary cleanses, flu, and colds. Regarding the low sodium - eat a salty snack with it to bring it into balance (unless you like pickle juice!).

      • healthylife2 profile image

        Healthy Life 

        5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

        Thanks for sharing this information. I heard it tastes good but didn't realize all those great health benefits like lowering blood pressure. I think I'm one of the only people that hasn't actually tried it but heard it tastes good which isn't always the case with healthy food. Voted up!

      • lemonkerdz profile image

        lemonkerdz 

        5 years ago from LIMA, PERU

        I have been lucky enough to live where you can get fresh coconuts and we always had coconut water rather than bottled water its so more refreshing. The idea of floavoring it though seems crazy.

        Any stomach problems, and we always turned to coconut, it has properties that can sort it out, horribly enough, even parasites.

        Thanks, nice to see its popularity is taking off.

      • Thelma Alberts profile image

        Thelma Alberts 

        5 years ago from Germany

        Great info here. I love coconut water. I drink it most often when I´m at home in the Philippines as coconuts are just behind our house waiting to be harvested. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and useful.

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