Sunday, May 1, 2011

Coconut Water and You

This article will also be available on the Total Cleanse website
Coconut Water and You
Sarah Reid, RHNC

Coconut water is big business. No doubt you’ve seen this latest “hip drink” to hit the market in your local store, and you may have even had a taste of it yourself. But just what is this sweet, mysterious nectar, and what makes it better than say, a glass of juice or a bottle of sports drink?

To begin, a very clear distinction must be made: coconut water is not the same as coconut milk. Coconut water is literally is the liquid found inside the fruit (particularly the unripened green ones) before it begins to harden and form the white “meat” that is commonly removed for consumption. Coconut milk on the other hand is comprised of a combination of coconut water and the flesh, and though it can occur naturally in semi-ripened coconuts it is more commonly man-made by blending the two parts in a production plant to achieve a thick, creamy result. Unlike it’s “milk” counterpart, coconut water is also fat free and low in calories, and is a source of many life-sustaining nutrients. Like the insides of an egg, the liquid inside a coconut were designed by nature to form and nourish an “adult” of the species.

Many studies have shown that the remarkable abilities of the liquid are largely due to the high concentration of mineral ions, vitamins and organic acids that naturally exist without the system-taxing refined sugar and fat content in the coconut meat and “milk”. The isotonic (i.e. blood chemical friendly) solution is also a potent antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, immune system supporter and stimulant for both thyroid and circulation. Regular consumption of coconut water is akin to a metabolic “jump-starter”, and the results are often a higher concentration of HDL (good) cholesterol in the blood, lower blood glucose, and less heavy metal and drug toxicity in the liver, kidneys and thyroid. Weight loss due to the alteration of thyroid activity re-prioritizing the use of body tissues for energy (resorting to fat rather than protein) is also very common, while muscle mass is not typically lost while dieting and drinking coconut water.

The nutrients and hydration simulate plasma formation in the bloodstream in cases of burns and trauma and in emergency situations coconut water has been used as a plasma substitute in transfusions worldwide. The lauric acid found in coconut water is the same composition as what is found in human breast milk, long thought of as “the perfect food”, and monolaurin in the drink acts as an antiviral agent that can kill an assortment of foreign viruses and bacteria in the body without harming the “friendly” gut bacteria. Pure coconut water is safe for anyone to supplement with, from infants to seniors, and has been shown to alleviate many digestive upsets such as colic and maldigestion.

Finally, coconut water is a strong circulatory stimulant that functions without also raising blood pressure. Instead, the high potassium content in the liquid (roughly 480 mg per cup) has been shown to drastically improve blood pressure control in hypertensive patients, with over 71% marking “significant improvement” in just 2 weeks of supplementation. The increase in circulation also leads to an influx of oxygen to the vital organ systems and a faster rate of waste removal to the kidneys and colon after passing through the liver. With the support of the nutrients found in coconut water, the liver and other detoxing organs become far more efficient at releasing their stored toxins, and the amount of free radical damage as a result will be much less.

Nutritionally, how does this new nectar stack up against the “Original Thirst Quencher”™ known as Gatorade®? In each cup (8 fl. oz), coconut water has 43 calories, 25 mg sodium, 11 g carbohydrate, <0.5 g fibre, 10 g sugars, 0.7 g protein, 29 mg calcium, trace magnesium and 480 mg potassium. On the other hand, the same amount of Gatorade® packs in 50 calories, 110 mg sodium, 14 g carbohydrate, 14 g sugar, no protein, 30 mg potassium and nothing else. While it may come in an easy-to-hold bottle (compared to a tiny tetra-pak), there is no argument in the nutrition department. Coconut water stands up to the hype, and is a fresh and flavourful alternative available now.

1 comment:

  1. Its a very nyc article. Do u no any antinutrients found in coconut water?


About Me

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I started my "working life" as a holistic and allopathic nutritional consultant with a love of cooking. Teaching the value of wholesome meal choices to families became close to my heart after I battled a long history of struggles with weight and health, and the passion for teaching led me into where I am now. My blog, which focuses on "bringing good taste to healthier food" through creative use of whole grains, fresh produce and acknowledging the importance of the occasional treat, also features a wealth of "specialty diet" friendly recipes for gluten-, egg-, dairy- and sugar- tree nut-free items that everyone can enjoy without alienating those who need them.

Overall, I want to bring back the desire for good quality, homemade, (mostly) healthy food into the hearts and kitchens of families so that the next generation will be less box-reliant than mine. I firmly believe that any “homemade” food, even when labelled as "naughty", is a more wholesome treat than pre-packaged, cookie-cutter junk. With the knowledge of good food (and how to cook good food) as a base, a healthy lifestyle can follow, and then anything is possible!