Coconut water has become a very popular drink in the last couple years, championed by body builders, fitness fiends and organic eaters. But what makes this tropical beverage so special and why has it suddenly become so popular?
Coconut water is the semi-sweet, clear liquid found inside of healthy, young, green coconuts, not to be mistaken for coconut milk, which is made from the grinding down and boiling of the meat of the coconut.
Coconut water is found in the interior, or endosperm, of the coconut and supplies the fruit much of its nutrients as it contains a wealth of vitamins and minerals: sugar, potassium, chloride, sodium, magnesium, cytokines, phyto-hormones, vitamins B and C, and calcium in addition to containing vital fats and proteins.
With so many valuable nutrients in one source, coconut water is like hitting the nutrient jackpot, a one-stop shop. Just one cup of coconut water contains roughly 17 percent of your daily potassium levels, 15 percent of your daily magnesium levels, 11 percent of your sodium and vitamin C levels, and 6 percent of your calcium levels!
And if that weren’t enough, you received all of those benefits for only about 46 calories, 6 of which are protein. This serving size of coconut water only contains about 1.7 grams of protein, but that’s about half to one-third of the amount of protein found in most non-Greek yogurts, and in a clear, liquid drink no less.
The carbohydrates found in coconut water are great for a good boost of natural clean energy, and with zero trans fats are a much healthier alternative to sodas and energy drinks. At about 36 calories and 9 grams of the serving size, the carbohydrates of coconut water are composed of simple, natural sugars and dietary fibers, which help aid digestion.
While you might find some of the minerals overlapping in fruits like oranges, coconut water has a much better concentration and a slew of minerals and nutrients you won’t easily find: niacin, thiamin, riboflavin and folates. These vitamins are essential for assuring healthy cognition, brain and fetus development, maintenance of the nervous and circulatory systems and for your body’s ability to properly break down carbohydrates.
The natural sugars and electrolytes make it a great alternative to popular sports drinks like Gatorade and Vitamin Water. The balance of the nutrients in coconut water produces a greater osmolarity in your body than in other beverages, meaning that it replenishes dehydration much better than sodas or other juices and has been known to cure diarrhea and the common hangover.
Further still, the cytokines and enzymes found in coconut water have been found to have, respectfully, anti-aging, anti-carcinogenic properties and digestive, metabolic aids. Coconut water is also organic and contains no additional additives or sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup, unless the manufacturer has decided to put those in there; always check the label to make sure that it is 100 percent organic.
With these numerous benefits, and in an age where people are valuing fresh, natural sources of vitamins, minerals and other dietary nutrients, anyone can see why coconut water has made such a prolific appearance in gyms, vitamin shops, grocery stores and even gas stations. The anti-aging properties of this clear liquid, mixed with the wonderful diuretic properties and mineral sources makes this sweet liquid practically the fountain of youth.