Coconut water has many benefits. While there is controversy over the content of saturated fat in coconuts, research has shown that the plant form of saturated fat has a different chemical make-up compared to animal sources of saturated fat (Coulston, 1999). Plant-based saturated fats do not raise the low-density lipid profile (“bad” cholesterol), but raise the high-density profile (“good” cholesterol). If the individual has a current cardiovascular disease and/or hypertension, he should avoid high fat foods, including plant sources (Ganguly, 2014). Fresh coconut water, inside the nut, is sterile. In poor countries and in World War II coconut water is and was used as a temporary IV solution and for wound-cleaning (Prades, Dornier, Diop, & Pain, 2012).
Coconut water is beneficial for re-hydration after sports events and exercise. Coconut water is low in fat, carbohydrates and protein, but high in antioxidants and electrolytes, especially potassium. The nutrient content of the coconut water depends on the age of the fruit. Coconut water for drinking comes from young (green) coconuts (Devgun, 2015; Ganguly, 2014). Coconut water is also full of amino acids, which serve as building blocks for proteins. The amino acids in coconut water are: alanine, arginine, cysteine, and serine. These are higher in content in coconut water than they are in cow’s milk (Prades, Dornier, Diop, & Pain, 2012).
A study was conducted to assess the best beverage to use as a re-hydrating drink after exercise. The drinks used in the study were water, a sport-drink, and coconut water. Coconut water showed to be most beneficial. Coconut water was sweeter, but led to decreased symptoms of nausea, stomach upset and fullness. The coconut water was also much easier to consume in large amounts compared to the other beverages in the study ((Prades, Dornier, Diop, & Pain, 2012).
In conclusion, while quality coconut water can be expensive, having some on hand can be beneficial, especially for athletes. Coconut water is great to re-hydrate after spending time in the hot summer sun. Next time you go on a run, work in the garden, or cut the grass, take along a chilled bottle of coconut water.
If you have a coconut allergy, coconut water should not be consumed except under the guidance of a doctor or other healthcare provider.
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