According to numbers reported by Merrill Lynch, the coconut water industry has grown steadily over the past five years, earning $35 million in the United States alone. This nutrient-packed beverage has long been a staple of the Southeast Asian diet, and Western marketers have christened it as "nature's sports drink". By providing high amounts of potassium, the beverage helps to regulate blood pressure in addition to preventing heart attack, stroke and other disorders.
Coconut water comes from young and green coconuts. Although all coconuts contain the all-natural liquid, young coconuts contain more because the liquid hasn't yet been transformed into the fruit's trademark white flesh. After the green fruit is harvested from the tree, the husk is removed, and the fruit is wrapped in plastic to ensure that it stays fresh. Because the fruit is so young, it tends to ferment quickly after the internal liquid is exposed to air.
The juice of young coconuts contains twice as much potassium as a banana. In fact, this light and refreshing natural beverage contains 569 milligrams of potassium as opposed to the 52.5 milligrams of potassium in the leading synthetic sports drink. The potassium in this natural sports drink helps to increase high-density lips, or HDL, which is a beneficial form of cholesterol. Many people who have high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease also have low levels of potassium.
Potassium has other benefits in addition to helping the cardiovascular system. The nutrients in coconut water, including potassium and other minerals, are very similar to the nutrient content of human blood. The minerals inside of this life-sustaining beverage help the body to hydrate more efficiently. In fact, the juice of young coconuts has been used in some countries to treat the dehydration that results from serious disorders such as dysentery and cholera.
This delicious beverage may have positive anti-aging effects. The cytokinins and lauric acid found in the liquid regulates cell growth and division, minimizing the aging of skin cells, keeping connecting tissue hydrated and strong and balancing pH levels. Some experts speculate that applying coconut water directly to the skin may even reduce wrinkles, age spots, stretch marks, cellulite and eczema.
In addition to anti-aging properties, lauric acid aids with digestion. The body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which protects the digestive tract from bacteria, viruses and protozoa. In addition to protecting the digestive tract against bacteria and certain viruses, the drink fights against intestinal parasites and worms. One simple remedy for intestinal worms involves mixing one tablespoon of olive oil into one cup of coconut water.
The natural electrolytes and isotonic action of nature's sports drink may help people to lose weight. The glucose and fructose polymers in the beverage cause the body to absorb carbohydrates more slowly. Electrolytes speed up metabolism naturally, giving a boost to people who are frustrated with other weight loss techniques. As a diuretic, the drink helps the body to flush out toxins and other wastes to pass through the body more easily. Instead of drinking caloric fruit juices, people who are trying to lose weight should consider trying this remarkable beverage.
Coconut water is low in fat and calories but rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. When buying fresh coconuts, dietitians recommend purchasing fruit with a few light brown spots on the green husks because these are thought to contain the most liquid. If consuming water from a fresh coconut, then people should drink the beverage quickly as it may lose important nutrients when exposed to air. However, many people purchase this nutritious liquid in cans or bottles from a variety of grocers or online retailers. A variety of flavors are available to suit each person's individual tastes.
While the beverage works well as a sports drink after moderate workouts, it may not provide enough sodium to replace nutrients lost to sweat during especially intense workouts. Therefore, dietitians recommend sprinkling salt in oatmeal or consuming salted pretzels in addition to using a sports drink to replenish the body's stores after a strenuous workout. However, for those looking to enjoy a more natural sports drink, or for people looking for a way to inject some healthy hydration into their diets, delicious and nutritious coconut water fits the dietary bill.