Perhaps you have happy fantasies about sitting on the beach, sipping coconut water straight out of the fruit’s giant green hip. Me too.
But in the meantime, the deli is always cooler for when you’re in the mood for a delicious and nutritious refreshing sip. To be clear, coconut milk is creamy white in color and incorporates the actual coconut flesh. Here, I’m talking about the clear liquid from inside a colon.
Because coconut water is so full of electrolytes (minerals and salts that help regulate nerve function, hydrate, maintain fluid balance in your cells), some people call it “nature’s sport” because it’s great for post-workout hydration . You can also use it as a base for a bunch of healthy smoothie recipes. I like it because it’s not too sweet, but still has that nice tropical flavor.
But it’s not just about good taste, check out this master list health benefits of coconut wateras well as some things to look out for if you drink it every day.
Health and nutritional benefits of coconut water
1. It is pprovides a good source of nutrients and electrolytes
Coconut water fits into low calorie and low sugar diets since it only has about 45 calories per cup and about 11 grams of sugar. In addition, it is naturally loaded with electrolytes including potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and more. Although nutrition facts can vary slightly based on where the coconut was found, as well as the maturity of the coconut, an average 8-ounce glass of coconut water contains:
- calories: 45
- Total Fat: 0g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
- Sodium: 25 mg
- Potassium: 470 mg
- Total Carbohydrate: 11g
- Total Sugars: 11g
- Protein: 0g
- Calcium: 4% dv
- Magnesium: 4% dv
- Phosphorus: 2% dv
2. It may help with post-workout recovery
Coconut water is rich in several electrolytes including potassium, sodium and magnesium. If you are working up a sweat, especially in the summer months, coconut water may be very useful.
Chicago-based registered dietitian Maggie Michalczyk says the electrolytes in coconut water can help regulate fluid balance, prevent dehydration and even ensure proper muscle function. Of course, you’ll want to make sure you refuel with plenty of carbohydrates and protein post-workout as well.
3. It can reduce blood pressure and stroke risk
Bananas are famous for their high potassium count, but just one cup of coconut water contains no more potassium than a medium-sized banana. Research suggests that diets rich in potassium can help support heart health by reducing blood pressure and even protect against stroke. Complementing coconut water with other potassium-rich foods in your diet is ideal when it comes to supporting a healthy heart.
4. Can promote healthy skin
Lack of proper hydration can lead to dry, tight and even flaky skin. Drinking coconut water can supplement your daily hydration needs, promoting circulation and radiant skin. Certain types of coconut water are fortified with vitamin C, which has antioxidant properties and naturally stimulates collagen synthesis, and can help keep your skin firm and youthful.
5. It can reduce the intake of added sugar
Skip the sugary juices and sodas and instead make coconut water when you’re in the mood for something other than the tap, says Michalczyk. Unlike sugar-sweetened beverages, coconut water (in unflavored varieties) typically has very little added sugar. So it is a great choice for diabetics or individuals who want to reduce their consumption of added sugar. Loats for 100% coconut water that is not thickened and opt for plain unflavored varieties for a solution with no added sugar.
6. Is it possible to help rehydrate when you are sick
If you are under the weather, the body can lose a huge amount of fluid from vomiting and diarrhoea. Michalcyzk notes that coconut water can help balance hydration status and electrolytes better than regular water in this situation. Some brands even fortify their coconut water with vitamins C and D which may provide even better immune support.
7. It can help with weight management
You may be wondering if coconut water is good for weight loss. Well, we know that proper hydration is essential to nourish every cell in the body and optimize your metabolic rate. And while coconut water has more calories than plain water, it’s much lower in calories than other drinks like soda and juice. This simple swap can help you cut calories throughout the week.
8. It may help cure a hangover
If a little too much wine at happy hour has left you feeling dehydrated and foggy the next day, Michalczyk offers a tip to keep coconut water in your fridge. She says that it will help to replenish those electrolytes that may have been depleted by drinking, and that it can quench great thirst.
9. It can support bone health
Women, especially over the age of 50, need all the calcium they can get (1000 mg for women 19-50, 1200mg thereafter). If you don’t eat enough dairy, it can be difficult to meet your numbers through food alone. Why do we need so many? Calcium is essential to help keep bones strong, and your muscles and nerves need it to function properly. One cup of coconut water has about 17 mg of calcium, which helps you get your daily recommended amount.
10. It is a good source of magnesium
Magnesium is essential for healthy muscles, nerves, bones and blood sugar levels, and if you don’t get enough over time you may be at a higher risk of various health problems, such as diabetes and stroke. One cup contains 14% of what you need a day. It’s a good idea to keep it in the fridge as a grab-and-go if you have teenagers at home—teenagers are more likely to have a low magnesium intake, according to the National Institutes of Health.
11. Coconut may (keyword: may!) help with kidney stones
The research is very preliminary, but one small study found that coconut water helped participants pee out more citrate, potassium and chloride, indicating that the drink may help dissolve or prevent stones from forming in the first place. Most kidney stones are calcium, and citrate helps prevent crystallization. More research is needed though, and note that if you have other kidney problems, too much potassium is not recommended (coconut water is plenty).
Are there any side effects from drinking coconut water?
You may be wondering whether it is good to drink coconut water every day or not. For the general population, coconut water is considered safe to consume and provides a sensitive source of natural electrolytes. But there are some exceptions to be aware of: If you have kidney failure, you will want to be careful with drinking coconut water, as it is high in potassium. Although this nutrient is normally healthy for the body, when the kidneys fail, they can no longer remove excess potassium and it is important to monitor your intake. Coconut water may provide an unexpected large source of potassium if consumed regularly, causing hyperkalemia which indicates excess potassium in the blood.
How do I choose the best coconut water?
Ideally, coconut water should only have one ingredient. We recommend opting for varieties that are 100% coconut water with no added sugar, flavorings or additives. If you don’t love the taste of coconut water on its own, try incorporating it into smoothies or mixed with sparkling water or a little juice.
Coconut water can be a great way to rehydrate and supply the body with nutrients and electrolytes. Choose simple varieties where possible that are not made of concentrate to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Stefani is a registered dietitian, NASM certified personal trainer and director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Nutrition Lab, where she handles all nutrition related topics, tests and evaluations. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nutritional sciences from Pennsylvania State University and a master’s degree in clinical nutrition from NYU. She is too Good Housekeeping fitness and fitness expert on staff. Stefani is committed to providing readers with evidence-based content to encourage informed food choices and healthy living. She is an avid CrossFitter and passionate home cook who loves spending time with her big man suitable Greek family.