Health enthusiasts the world over rave about it. Fitness personalities always seem to have a carton in hand, and supermarkets shelves are full of the stuff. What am I talking about? Coconut water, of course.
The drink - a clear liquid, found inside a young, green coconut - became more readily available a few years ago, and since then has become extremely popular.
It's often dubbed as a 'miracle' product, but what is it that makes coconut water so great?
Well, coconut water is not only 100% natural, but has many other benefits too. It contains a generous amount of electrolytes, including potassium and sodium, meaning it can replenish our body's needs post-exercise. Additionally, coconut water contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids not found in standard water. It manages to do all of this, whilst remaining relatively low in calories (19 calories/100ml).
With all those properties, it's no wonder people go crazy for it. Here are 10 benefits you can reap from swapping your fizzy drink for coconut water today.
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1. Coconut water is low in calories
Coconut water is much lower in calories than your average, store-bought drink. It contains half the calories of orange juice, but tastes just as good.
Not only that, but as it's 100% natural, there are no nasties to contend with in the form of artificial colours and flavourings.
Whilst calorie-free water is the best drink to go for if you're trying to lose weight, coconut water is a great alternative. Offering taste along with a range of health benefits, it's better than many other choices on the market. Pick up a carton instead of your full-fat coke, and watch the pounds fall off.
2. Coconut water is also high in fibre
The reasons to swap your soda for coconut water just keep on coming.
A glass will help you work towards meeting your recommended fibre intake for the day. Fibre is essential for the digestion process, as it bulks up stools, allowing them to pass through the digestive tract more easily.
The recommended daily amount is around 30g for adults - a number coconut water can help make attainable. 250ml will provide you with 9.8g of fibre, compared with just 0.5g from the same amount of orange juice.
As far as fibre is concerned, coconut water comes out on top!
3. A drink that's high in potassium
If you don't know much about potassium, here's a quick low-down:
Potassium is an electrolyte, required for the regulation the body's water level. It helps ensure you become neither dehydrated, nor retain excess water.
Coconut water's high potassium content is one of the reasons it's recommended as a sports drink. During exercise, the body can become dehydrated due to expiration. A glass of coconut water helps to replenish the fluids lost, and maintain the body's recommended water levels.
Not only this, but potassium is often used to treat all manner of things such as migraines, cardiovascular health and constipation. A 250ml glass contains around 634mg of potassium - that's 17.5% of your recommended daily intake.
4. Coconut water is gentle on the stomach
Coconut water's many nutritional benefits make it an ideal drink to soothe upset stomachs.
Not only will it rehydrate the body, but it can also help flush out toxins. This is thanks to the many electrolytes and antioxidants inside each glass. Coconut water also contains tannins, which are known for reducing inflammation.
100% natural products are usually much more gentle on the digestive system, and coconut water is no different. Stick to water and coconut water, and you should be feeling great again in no time.
5. No refined sugar
Now, I'm not saying coconut water is sugar-free. There are naturally occurring sugars in the drink, 2.7g/100ml to be exact.
These, naturally occurring sugars from the coconut itself, however, are different to the refined sugars added to your can of pop. This is because a can of coke or lemonade contains sugar, and little else. We now know that coconut water is rich in potassium, fibre and much more.
It's the fibre that is particularly important here. Refined sugar is digested extremely quickly, leading to a spike in insulin and a hormone imbalance. Not only this, but the lack of other nutrients found in refined sugar-dense foods means it has little other value, and it, therefore, doesn't fill you up.
Coconut water's high nutritional value, including high dietary fibre, help the naturally occuring sugars to be absorbed more slowly, realising energy over time. This keeps the body more in balance, and also helps you to feel full up.
6. High in magnesium
Magnesium plays a key role in so many of our bodies functions. Fall short on your recommended daily intake, and you could experience muscle cramps, poor sleep and even anxiety.
Coconut water is relatively rich in magnesium - a 250ml glass contains around 15% of your recommended daily allowance. Comparatively, most fizzy drinks contain no magnesium at all, making coconut water nutritionally superior. Additionally, the phosphates found in soda actually flush magnesium out of your system, meaning it's unabsorbed by the body.
Coconut water could be the key to reaching your RDA of magnesium, supporting your body in over 300 enzyme reactions.
7. Coconut water has been known to lower blood pressure
One in three adults in the UK has high blood pressure - a worrying figure. It can happen to anyone, that's why ensuring you live a lifestyle that actively prevents it is so important. If high blood pressure does develop, it can lead to serious risks such as stroke, heart attack and heart failure.
Healthy choices can prevent this from happening to you. A balanced diet, including lots of fruit and vegetables, can help keep your blood pressure low.
This primarily due to their high potassium content - a mineral we know that coconut water is also rich in.
Potassium helps to regulate the effects of salt on their body, thereby enabling the kidneys to maintain the correct blood pressure in our bodies. Coconut water can play a part in promoting this regulation.
8. Healthy fats
The 'fat debate' has been going on for many years. Should we avoid them, or embrace them? And if the latter, which ones are the best? Well, the truth is that we need fats to live.
Fats provide us with an extra source of energy when all of our carbohydrates are used up. Besides exercise, this energy is also essential for growth. They also contain essential fatty acids, enable our brain to function properly, maintain healthy skin, and much more.
Despite the benefits, it's not an excuse to overindulge. Excess fat consumption can lead to high cholesterol and other health problems. In order to avoid this, the recommended daily saturated fat allowance of 24g should be adhered to.
As coconut water contains few(0.2g/100ml) and only naturally occurring fats, it's considered a much healthier choice than say, a chocolate bar. Your body will be able to process and use this natural energy much more easily than processed foods.
9. Ideal cleanser & toner for sensitive skin
Coconut water has proven its certainly worth sipping on. Its benefits don't end there, however. Not only is it great for our insides, but it can be used externally too.
When used on the skin, coconut water is extremely hydrating, working to plump up the skin and give it a refreshed glow. As it's also 100% natural, it's a gentle cleanser for sensitive or problem-prone skin.
Additionally, it can also be used for removing makeup. Coconut water is a much softer solution than other makeup removers - and also much cheaper than some top-end brands! Use by applying to coconut wool pads and sweeping over the face.
10. Coconut water contains vitamin C
Anything with the word 'vitamin' in front of it has got to be good. Vitamin C, with its wide array of health benefits, definitely delivers.
Vitamin C works to boost our immune system, making the body more adept at protecting us from sickness. It also plays a key role in the production of mood-enhancing chemicals in our body. It's essential for wound repair, helping our bodies to grow connective tissues that heal our cuts. These are just some of the benefits, there are much more.
Compared with other nuts per calorie, coconut water is much denser in vitamin C. 19 calories would provide you with an impressive, 4% of your RDA. To do the same munching on walnuts, you'd have to consume a hefty, 1,308 calories - crikey!
Whilst not as high in vitamin C as other fruits and vegetables, coconut water is a valuable source given its low-calorie impact.
I think I've just joined the coconut-water mad club! Do you enjoy sipping on this healthy drink?