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Does Coconut Water Count as Fluid?
It's a sweltering day out, and after a run, a long walk, a sweaty session at the gym, or even if you're just chilling in your pajamas at home – a cool, refreshing drink is just the thing you need.
And there are a great variety of fluid options out there, sports drinks, sodas, coconut water, and just plain old H2O as well.
But have you ever wondered if coconut water actually counts as a fluid? Have you been drinking this yummy, fresh fluid in vain?
Coconut water 100% counts as a fluid. What's more, it's one of the most nutritious and beneficial fluids out there that you can drink! In this article, we explore the different facets of this wonder drink.
Different Varieties of Coconut Water
Not every country can have the bounties of tropical weather. If you do happen to live in a tropical country like Brazil, India, or Thailand, you can savor fresh coconut water straight from its source, the coconut itself.
Although not as healthy, you can also try bottled or commercial brands of coconut water in countries that don’t have indigenous coconut trees.
Try not to drink bottled coconut waters that have added sugars or too many preservatives, as this takes away from the nutritional quotient.
What is in Coconut Water?
Coconut water is the clear juice inside the coconut fruit. Its constitution is 95% water, and it has the consistency of water too, which makes it just like a glass of H20 but a little tastier! Hence, it certainly counts towards your overall fluid intake.
It has a sweet taste with a slight nuttiness from the coconut itself. It has a negligible fat content and is free of cholesterol. It is rich in electrolytes and nutrients making it hydrating and nourishing in equal measure.
Below are some of the nutrients it contains and their beneficial properties.
Coconut water has about 60 mg of magnesium per cup (8 fluid ounces) which is about 1/6th or 4% of your daily requirement of the electrolyte. Magnesium is central to myriad bodily functions such as regulating blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
It is important for most biochemical reactions in the body including protein synthesis, energy production, and the maintenance and repair of genetic material like DNA and RNA.
In addition, magnesium helps to promote optimal muscle function, by improving muscle mass and reducing damage. Through this and the additional mechanism of facilitating lactate disposal, it could enhance your stamina and exercise performance.
Magnesium is also a key component of nerve and brain health, as well as the modulation of neurotransmitters. This in turn may reduce the risk of anxiety and depression, and may also aid in mitigating mood fluctuations and irritability. It can also aid in improving the quality and duration of sleep, reduce insomnia, and reduce excessive sleepiness during the day.
Magnesium may also additionally help with inflammation and reduce the frequency and severity of migraines.
It also contributes to bone health, reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Plus, magnesium may provide relief from certain PMS symptoms such as fatigue, bloating, and abdominal cramps.
The primary function of potassium is in modulating cellular fluid balance, by ensuring an equal concentration of electrolytes both inside and outside the cells i.e., osmolality and the balance of intra-cellular fluid (ICF). A deficiency of potassium can cause dehydration.
It also plays an important role in nervous system health by controlling muscle contractions and heartbeats. It is, therefore, a great electrolyte for heart health, when it is moderately properly.
Very high and very low levels are equally damaging as they make the heart muscles either too flaccid or rigid, causing arrhythmias and improper pumping of the blood to the organs and the brain. These consequences can, in turn, be fatal – for example, it could precipitate sudden stoppage of blood flow and consequent strokes.
The 600 mg (15% of the daily required value) of potassium in one cup of coconut water can also help your heart by lowering blood pressure, both systolic and diastolic i.e., during heartbeats and in between when the heart rests.
However, if you are already on medication for hypertension or high blood pressure, coconut water may cause your blood pressure to plummet dangerously low. So, consult your doctor to see if it is safe for consumption.
At 252 mg per cup, you’re getting a rather large amount of sodium in one serving. So, it's best to have this drink in moderation, especially if you have health conditions that require you to restrict your sodium intake. It's best used after workouts, as exercise removes sodium from your body, and needs to the electrolyte needs to be reinfused.
In moderation, sodium is crucial to regulate osmolality by maintaining the extra-cellular fluid (ECF) composition and contributing to fluid balance along with potassium. It also helps with the absorption of glucose and may help relieve constipation and regularize bowel movements.
Phosphorus and Calcium
At 2% and 4% of your daily required value of phosphorus and calcium respectively, coconut water can help contribute to bone and dental health, filtering out waste through the kidneys, blood circulation, and hormone transportation.
Coconut water is just as hydrating as normal water, but not any more or less under normal circumstances. So, it isn’t a substitute except for particular purposes.
For example, coconut water is more useful after exercise as it not only rehydrates but also replenishes crucial electrolytes like sodium that you lose when you sweat.
Additionally, it may help in preventing or reducing kidney stones as drinking coconut water flushes out a combination of potassium, citrate, and chloride.
This points to the potential of coconut water to flush out toxins such as oxalate and excess calcium that are responsible for crystallizing into stones and sticking to the kidney walls and urinary tract.
However, this hasn’t been proven conclusively. Plus, those with terminal or chronic kidney disease should avoid coconut water as it can cause excess potassium in the blood i.e., hypokalaemia.
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