Coconut Water: Benefits Beyond Electrolytes
Following its introduction in the early part of the 20th century, the term “superfood” has permeated our everyday language, even claiming space in the dictionary. This term is awarded to nutrient-dense foods with a capacity for significant positive impact on health and includes coconut water (as “super liquids” haven’t caught on, quite yet). Lining the shelves of not just health food stores, but also pharmacies, grocery, and convenience stores, coconut water has captured a position in the consensus of what is embraced as “extra” healthy. Word on the street is that it’s good for you, advocated as Mother Nature’s sports drink. Though it rings true that coconut water is a uniquely and synergistically balanced complex of all the charged minerals which play key roles in hydration (as well as cardiac, skeletal, nerve, and muscle function), coconut water’s main claim to electrolyte fame isn’t the only benefit available to the human body. As is with all things beautifully complex in nature, the clear liquid of green, immature coconuts offers a host of additional benefits.
1. Free Radical Modification
Free radicals are unstable molecules produced naturally by metabolism and response to stress and injury by increasing in number. High levels of the free radical accumulation set the stage for disease: the body shifts into a state of oxidative stress and serious damage is sustained on the cellular level. If free radicals are the Lex Luther of your body, then antioxidants are the Superman of your health, swooping in to keep the free radicals in check by heroically donating an electron from their outer shell to create the sort of energy exchange that renders the powers of Lex harmless. Coconut water provides a source of antioxidants for this free-radical modification, and animal research has uncovered that shikimic and caffeic acid in coconut water is just two of the many phytonutrients that contribute to this protection of human health.
2. Younger, Clearer Skin
Perusing the ingredient listing of topical natural skincare products, and coconut oil will make a recurring appearance on the guest list. Ingesting the anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and detoxifying properties of coconut water can also lend a hand, from the inside out, to the largest organ of your integumentary system. Coconut decreases excess oils on your skin, resulting in a reduction of “breakouts”. As is with the wide-ranging benefits of nature, coconut water not only boasts the ability to contribute to clearer skin but also to reduce the signs of aging. Research has shown that the B vitamins and specific proteins that grace the profile of coconut water decrease skin aging.
3. Digestion and Metabolism: BOOSTED
Coconut water contains a high concentration of fiber, providing satiety and buffering the impact of what is heralded as its one major downfall: sugar. Though these sugars are naturally occurring, and serve athletes looking to replenish their energy stores when engaging in intense exercise, they remain the key motivation for moderation in the consumption of coconut water. The good news is that the fiber present in coconut water helps to modulate the release of these sugars, avoiding an undesirable rollercoaster sugar spike and crash. Digestion and metabolism both receive a boost from the bio-active enzymes found in abundance in coconut water, alongside lauric acid: the uplifter of immunity and kick-starter of metabolism. A higher metabolic rate and a resulting greater amount of fat burned for energy are supported by the consumption of coconut water, especially in the morning on an empty stomach when absorption rates are highest.
4. Urinary Tract Lubrication
In a dehydrated internal environment, compounds like calcium and oxalate can dangerously combine to form problematic crystals. The best defence against kidney stone formation is prevention, in the form of sufficient fluid intake. Coconut water can not only lend to optimal hydration levels but is a source of urinary citrate,
the nemesis of kidney stone formation. Coconut water also lubricates the surface of the urinary tract, transforming it into a human “Slip ‘n Slide”, preventing the attachment of any pre-existing crystals.
Human plasma and coconut water have identical osmotic pressure, which means coconut water can be used to rapidly rehydrate the human body when administered intravenously (by a professional, of course) in extreme emergencies.
Far from being an exhaustive catalog of the many benefits of coconut water, this compilation illustrates a very real rationale for the ever-expanding success and popularity of this “super liquid”. Though there is no one “magic bullet” to optimal health, the intricate balance of nutrients found in coconut water provided by nature deserves to be sipped, savored, and appreciated….in moderation, of course.