Coconut water: pros and cons

posted in: Holistic Wellness | 1

Coconut water has been a common beverage in tropical regions all over the world for a long time. Women have traditionally used coconut water to increase fertility and to promote a healthy pregnancy. The health food market has cashed in on its benefits and now, you can find coconut water in almost any grocery store, usually marketed as an all-natural sports drink. It has become wildly popular and comes with a price tag to reflect that. Though it's not the miracle potion some companies would have you believe, coconut water does have nutritional benefits and can be a healthy addition to a well-balanced diet.

Nutritionally, coconut water is high in potassium, which helps the body regulate blood pressure. It's rich in vitamin C, fiber, magnesium and electrolytes. Coconut water is also a good source of riboflavin and calcium, which many women lack. A 1 cup serving has 46 calories and 3 grams of dietary fiber. It has low cholesterol and even helps the body produce high-density lipoprotein or “good” cholesterol.

Coconut Water During Pregnancy

In addition to the nutritional advantages, coconut water is beneficial for pregnant women. Pregnant women in tropical climates have used it for ages to alleviate morning sickness and to soothe the stomach after vomiting. It's a diuretic, so it helps prevent urinary tract infections and kidney stones. Coconut water also aids digestion and prevents constipation, a common complaint during pregnancy. It even contains lauric acid which boosts the immune system, preventing infection and illness.

A Natural Sports Drink?

The electrolyte and potassium content of coconut water make it useful for replenishing lost fluids during a workout, which is important for women who live in hot climates. However, while coconut water is a decent choice for women who engage in light exercise, fitness experts seem to agree that in this capacity, it may not be necessary. Angela Giancoli, a spokesperson for the American Diabetic Association, states, “Most people don't exercise heavily enough to need a sports recovery drink. Water is just fine for most people.”

Weight Loss

Coconut water is low in fat and calories. While the calories do still add up, it's a wise alternative to sugary sodas and juices for women who are watching their weight. Also, with the carbohydrates and nutrients in coconut water, it can provide extra energy for a workout.

I like the way it tastes, it's mild and refreshing. The health benefits are certainly there, but they don't wow me enough to make it a regular part of my diet, due to the cost and somewhat wasteful packaging (I've never seen it packaged in anything other than individual servings). If, however, you drink sports drinks regularly anyway, and you like what they do for you but would like to try a more natural alternative, coconut water might be the ticket!

 

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