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Better Than Gatorade: Coconut Water

When you need something refreshing to drink why not choose the original sports drink! Coconut water is one of nature’s healthiest beverages, but what are the real health benefits? This “juice” of the young green coconut has been enjoyed for centuries by the many peoples of tropical islands and Latin American countries.

We know just how good coconut is for the body, so it is no surprise that coconut water has so many health benefits. Let’s take a look…

Health Benefits of Coconut Water

1. Coconut Water is packed with Electrolytes.

Coconut water contains all the electrolytes that our bodies need — including potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, sodium and calcium. These electrolytes help keep the body’s fluids in balance between and within the cells, which keeps the endocrine, neuromuscular, and excretory systems working smoothly.

Electrolytes affect the amount of water in your body, blood acidity (pH), muscle action, and other important processes. You lose electrolytes when you sweat, and you must replace them by drinking fluids. MedlinePlus

A scientific study conducted at the medical school of a major university in Malaysia demonstrated that coconut water is just as effective as sports drinks (carbohydrate-electrolyte beverages) as a rehydrator, without the added sugar, artificial flavorings, colorings, and other chemical additives these beverages commonly contain.

2. Coconut Water is high in Potassium.

Coconut water contains more potassium per equivalent serving than a banana. It is also higher in potassium than other typical “sports drinks” — for instance, coconut water contains about 295mg of potassium while sports drink contain about 117mg of potassium.

Potassium is a very important mineral for the proper function of all cells, tissues, and organs in the human body… it is crucial to heart function and plays a key role in skeletal and smooth muscle contraction, making it important for normal digestive and muscular function, too.University of Maryland Medical Center

3. Coconut Water can aid digestion.

Coconut water is a natural isotonic beverage (similar concentrations of salt and sugar as in the human body), and nature’s most highly concentrated source of electrolytes. It resembles plasma in its salt concentration, enabling it to be easily absorbed and used by the body.

During World War II both the American and Japanese medics used coconut juice in transfusions when they ran out of plasma because it is so easily absorbed by the body.

In fact coconut water is a gentle diuretic that not only aids digestion, but can also reduce intestinal disturbances in infants.

4. Coconut Water can help curb sugar cravings and aid in weight loss.

Coconut water is a naturally sweet beverage that even children can enjoy. With only 10 to 13 grams of sugar per serving, it is a much better alternative to other sweet drinks — including 100% Juice drinks (30 to 35+ grams of sugar), sodas, flavored water and milk.

Unlike most other juices, coconut water contains 3 grams of fiber per serving. Fiber slows the absorption of sugars in food which can help keep your blood sugar level.

Fiber aids weight loss by slowing down the absorption of food through the digestive system, which keeps blood glucose levels even, preventing sugar spikes, crashes and cravings.Livestrong.com

Coconut water is also a good appetite suppressant due to its protein content, 2 grams per serving. A Yale University study published in 1999 found that a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet “will lead to reduced hunger”, thus helping you to consume fewer calories and lose weight.

5. Coconut Water is a natural immune system booster.

Coconut water contains high levels of Lauric acid, the main constituent found in breast milk. Coconuts are the only fruit (or vegetable) known to contain Lauric acid.

Lauric acid has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties which protect the body against various infections and boosts the immune system.Nutrihealth.in

Ways to Get Coconut Water

Live in a climate with coconuts — If you are so blessed to live in or near a tropical area with and abundance of these young green coconuts then get yourself some (I wish I could). You can cut a hole in the top and easily pour out the fresh coconut water. Fresh coconut water is even better for you than canned/bottled coconut waters purchased in the stores because it has not been flash pasteurized.

Purchase pre-packaged coconut water — If you do not have access to fresh young green coconuts then I would suggest trying some of the different pre-packaged coconut waters and see what you like best. There are many brands of coconut water, some come from Brazil and some Thailand. The coconut water from Thailand tends to be a little sweeter in taste, which is what I prefer. We enjoy coconut water from Amy & Brian Naturals, especially the coconut water with pulp. If you happen to see coconuts in your local super-market I would not recommend purchasing them (unless you are close to an area where they grow), as they are most likely old due to the traveling distance/time to get to you, not to mention they are also usually irradiated.

To boost the wonderful benefits of coconut water, try fermenting it into Coconut Water ‘Kefir’ using this Kefir Starter from Body Ecology.