A Caribbean beach, palm trees that frame a breathtaking nature and a drink prepared simply by putting a straw into a still green coconut. From today this image will no longer be just a symbol of holidays and relaxation but also, as we will see better in the course of the article, of health. The delicious, fresh and healthy drink that can be drunk straight from the heart of the coconut is the famous coconut water, which is obtained from the young fruits of the coconut palm. When the coconut is about 7-8 months old and has a light green color, then the coconut water can be extracted. As the coconut matures, however, the water is absorbed by the pulp and the outside becomes harder and more brown, taking on the typical shape of the coconut that we are used to knowing. Coconut water should not be confused with coconut milk, which is obtained from the pulp of the coconut and not from its interior and which appears as a white and thick liquid that tends to separate. So let's try to understand the properties of coconut water and why this, as we have mentioned, can become a precious ally for our health!
Coconut water, nutrients
Coconut water is composed of 94% water, it is also rich in amino acids, fatty acids such as oleic acid, with anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor action, but also mineral salts, such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, iron and manganese. Not only that, coconut water provides sugars, and therefore energy, and vitamins, such as vitamin C but also vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B5 (Rukmini et al, J Int Soc Prev Community Dent., 2017). Finally, coconut water also provides antioxidants such as phenolic compounds (Kumar et al, J Food Sci Technol, 2022). These characteristics make coconut water deeply anti-inflammatory, antioxidant but above all rehydrating, useful in case of diarrhea or when you sweat a lot, such as after sport or on very hot days.
Coconut water and intestinal inflammation
Studies have shown that coconut water is able to counteract inflammation in the colon and restore correct intestinal motility, especially in case of problems, irritation and intestinal disorders due to excessive warm weather (Ajeigbe et al, J Food Biochem, 2022).
Coconut water and liver
Coconut water shows an interesting hepatoprotective action and helps to counteract inflammation of the liver, which, in the long term, if left untreated, can increase the risk of cellular degeneration (Lakshmanan et al, J Funct Foods, 2020).
Coconut water and urinary tract stones
Coconut water also helps prevent the formation of urinary tract stones thanks to the fact that it is able to increase citrate in the urine. The aforementioned, in fact, is a substance that inhibits the formation of stones (Patel et al, Biomed Res Int, 2018).
Coconut water against hypertension
Coconut water, if taken on a regular basis, helps reduce blood pressure in case of hypertension. In fact, a study showed that the intake, twice a day for 2 weeks, of 300 ml of coconut water led to a significant decrease, between 5 and 10 mmHg, in the volunteers, all with a diagnosis of hypertension, of systolic and diastolic blood pressure (Alleyne et al, West Indian Med J, 2005).
Coconut water and diabetes
Coconut water has also been shown to help lower blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes. Not only that, coconut water intake has improved the body's use of insulin, as well as protecting the kidneys from the damage of diabetes (Alatawi et al, Saudi J Biol Sci, 2021). Another noteworthy result is the fact that coconut water, due to its antioxidant power, protects the lens from the risk of cataracts and the retina from possible degeneration, the risk of which increases instead in the case of diabetes (Zhang et al, Biomed Pharmacother, 2021).
Coconut water and cholesterol
Coconut water, thanks to the antioxidant phenolic compounds it contains, is also able to act on blood cholesterol levels. In particular, its intake has been shown to reduce bad cholesterol and triglyceride values while increasing HDL good cholesterol values (Kumar et al, J Food Sci Technol, 2022).
The tropical drink, simply delicious
You can enjoy coconut water alone or, why not, prepare a delicious antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, rehydrating, as well as delicious drink. Blend the pulp of half a pineapple, fresh, pour 200 ml of coconut water and add 1 cm of grated fresh ginger. Enjoy this beauty.