Quenching Thirst with Coconut Water

Coconut water is an incredibly versatile, natural product. It is filled with electrolytes, though low in fat. This refreshing drink is consumed not only because of its health-boosting nutrients, but also because of its medicinal value. As multifunctional as it is, it is also no surprise that many athletes across the world find coconut water useful for hydration. 
In fact, Massimo d’Amore, chief executive officer, PepsiCo Americas Beverages, has described it as one of the fastest growing beverage categories.

Extracted from five-month-old nuts, coconut water is the clear, liquid endosperm, the inner part of the nut, found in the centre of young, green coconuts. For centuries, coconut water has been and still used as a daily food source by people living in the traditional coconut-growing areas of the tropics. In this region, coconuts have also long been used for medicinal purposes.

According to a review article by Alexia Prades and co-workers, coconut water was traditionally used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine to treat ailments such as hair loss, burns and heart problems. It was also used to treat burning pain during urination. It was used for dysuria, gastritis, burning pain of the eyes, indigestion and hiccups. In emergencies, coconut water was used as an intravenous fluid when medical saline solution wasn’t available or in short supply. Coconut water is, however, an effective hydration drink that replenishes electrolytes excreted through sweat, making it ideal for athletes.  Consuming coconut water provides the same hydrating effects as carbohydrate-electrolyte sport drinks. In addition, it has similar performance-related benefits. However, in comparison to regular sports drinks, coconut water is a healthier, more natural option.

As it is naturally rich in nutrients that are essential to the normal functioning of the body, it makes complete sense to add coconut water to one’s diet. It helps in reducing anaemia, lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, cutting the risk of stroke, preventing various cancers, protecting against heart attack, controlling hypertension, lowering blood pressure. Coconut water is also used to treat cholera and urinary tract infections. It may also protect against the bacteria that cause stomach ulcers, and may help in the treatment of sinusitis, dental cavities, food poisoning and diarrhoea.

Note, however, that most of the above health benefits have not yet been firmly established by randomised, controlled clinical trials.

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