Coconut water is the original sports drink. The health benefits of coconut water have been enjoyed by people in tropical countries for thousands of years.
Recently, coconut water has been “discovered” by the rest of the world, especially the U.S., with many commercialized coconut water products now available.
But is coconut water healthy? Here are the facts about coconut water, its health benefits, two Coconut Water Smoothie recipes, and more.
What is Coconut Water?
Coconut water is the clear liquid found inside young, green coconuts. It’s usually drank directly out of the coconut by drilling a hole or chopping off part of it to get to the liquid inside.
Coconut water has a sweet, slightly nutty taste. Only young coconuts are used because as coconuts mature, the liquid turns into solid coconut meat which is used in traditional coconut recipes. (1)
Don’t confuse coconut water with coconut oil, which is higher in calories and fat than coconut water. Pure coconut water contains 94% water and very little fat.
It not only tastes good and is naturally refreshing, but there are some amazing coconut water health benefits as well.
Studies have shown that it helps support a healthier heart, and can lower cholesterol and liver fat amounts. (2)
In addition to these great reasons, here are more benefits of coconut water:
#1. Good Source of Nutrients
Coconut water is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and other important minerals.
One cup contains about 46 calories, 9 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber, and 2 grams of protein. (3)
The coconut water nutrition facts alone make it a possible “superfood”, because it delivers loads of nutrition in just one serving.
#2. Helps Support Weight Loss Efforts
Coconut water is fairly low in calories, making it a good alternative to sugary or sweetened drinks like soda or fruit juice. It also contains a high amount of antioxidants. (4)
It contains a higher amount of sugar and sodium than traditional water, so it’s not recommended you drink too much of it if you’re trying to lose weight. Start with 4-6 ounces in place of sugary drinks once a day.
By drinking this instead of sugary sodas or juices, you’ll be saving yourself hundreds of calories a month, which can add up to some serious coconut water weight loss over time.
#3. Hydrates Your Body Naturally
It’s the perfect beverage for hydrating your body, especially after prolonged exercise. It contains high amount of electrolytes, which are minerals your body needs to maintain proper fluid balance.
The coconut water electrolytes are potassium, magnesium, sodium and calcium, and studies have shown that rehydrating with coconut water after prolonged exercise was better or equal to using just plain water. (5)
Participants in another study reported less nausea and stomach upset when rehydrating with coconut water. (6)
#4. May Help Reduce Blood Pressure
Studies have shown that coconut water may help lower blood pressure.(7)
Coconut water contains a lot of potassium (600 mg per 1 cup serving), which has been shown to be a contributing factor in lowering blood pressure. (8)
Another study has also shown that coconut water may possibly lower the risk of blood clots forming in your arteries. (9)
#5. Good for Headaches and Hangovers
When you drink alcohol, your body loses water and electrolytes which results in you waking up feeling groggy and nauseated. A coconut water hangover drink may be just what you need to feel better faster.
It’s high in water and electrolytes, so it is a great natural remedy for hangovers. Not only does it replace lost electrolytes, but it adds antioxidants and other nutrients to help repair some of the damage done to your body by the alcohol. (10)
It’s also often effective when you have a regular headache thanks to it’s hydrating properties. It replenishes your electrolytes, helping you feel better quicker.
Where To Buy Coconut Water
The best place to get coconut water is to buy a green coconut from a store or farmer’s market and cut it open yourself. If you live in a tropical climate it may not be a problem to find fresh coconuts, but in many countries it may be harder to know where to buy them.
Commercial Coconut Water
Thankfully, there are a lot of brands on the market today making it easier to find. The most popular brand is Vita Coco Coconut Water, which you can find pretty much everywhere these days, including Costco and supermarkets.
I recommend looking for organic coconut water so you know it’s been grown without any harmful fertilizers or pesticides.
Coconut Water Smoothie
Here are a couple recipes for coconut water smoothies I created. Basically, any smoothie recipe can be made into a coconut water smoothie, just You swap out regular water for coconut water in any green smoothie recipe,
Tropical Green Coconut Water Smoothie
This one it goes especially well with coconut water, plus it tastes like a fancy tropical drink.
- ½ cup frozen banana chunks
- ¼ cup frozen mango chunks
- 2 cups spinach
- 8 ounces coconut water
- 1 teaspoon hemp, flax seeds, or walnuts (optional but so good for you!)
Blend all the ingredients together until smooth, if you like a thinner drink add more coconut water or regular water.
Coconut Water Fruit Smoothie
I like to buy frozen fruit for this recipe, I can find all 3 at my local store and it saves me both time and money to get frozen fruit… plus no clean up, bonus!
- ¼ cup pineapple
- ¼ cup mango
- ¼ cup peach slices
- 2 ½ cups coconut water
- 1 large 3 cup jar with lid (optional but very helpful)
Add the fruit to the bottom of a large mason jar, pour in the coconut water, cover with lid and place in the fridge for 1-24 hours, taking out and shaking whenever you think about it (2-3 times at least). This yummy drink will hold well in your fridge for 2-3 days, to make more simply discard fruit and start over.
I recommend ½-1 cup per day, per person.
Coconut water is a delicious, nutritious, and natural beverage, and the benefits of coconut water are endless. If you find water too boring and if you’re trying to stop drinking sugary sodas or juices give it a try.