Our bodies need hydration no matter what time of year it is. During the hot days of summer, it’s easy to feel the urge to grab a cool drink. During chilly and dry winters, even if we’re not sweating, it’s equally important to stay well hydrated. While plain water is always a good option (especially if we can get it from a local spring), the coconut water benefits are just so fantastic it’s hard to pass it up as a hydration option.
Coconut water is the ultimate in rehydrating beverages. Some even refer to it as nature’s Gatorade (but way better, because it doesn’t have the scary fluorescent colouring, sugar, vegetable oil, and high fructose corn syrup. Whether you’re in the Canadian North, the deep Caribbean South or anywhere in between, coconut water is an awesome addition to any diet.
In Sanskrit, the coconut palm is known as kalpa vriksha, meaning “tree which gives all that is necessary for living.” In tropical climates where coconuts grow, children often drink coconut water with their meals and a snack as children here drink juice boxes. When I visit the Caribbean, I make friends with the locals and ask one of them to scooch up a coconut palm tree and toss a good coconut down to me. (One day, I’ll figure out how to climb up a tree like that!)
Coconut Water benefits
Coconut water is the liquid that comes from a young coconut. As the coconut matures, you’ll find more meat. It’s a rich source of a variety of nutrients, especially the electrolytes potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus, as well as Vitamin C, some B vitamins, protein, fibre and antioxidants.
You’ve probably heard praise for coconut water as an amazing sports drink, which is definitely true. Coconut water can replace fluids after exercise and while some studies have shown it is equally effective as traditional electrolyte drinks and water, others have proved it is the option that’s easier to tolerate. So, when all things are equal, why not choose the one that won’t give you a stomachache? And, aside from post-exercise, coconut water can also help replace fluids after having diarrhea.
Other healthy coconut water benefits include:
- Heart Health. In this study, participants who drank coconut water, as well as a mixture of coconut water and mauby (a tree-bark beverage), experienced a drop in blood pressure.
- Blood Sugar + Diabetes. Animal studies indicate that coconut water can reduce blood glucose levels and prevent hyperglycemia.
- Alzheimer’s. This animal study, which noted that young coconut juice has potential estrogenic effects, showed that coconut water may play a role in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s in menopausal women.
- Anti-Viral. Coconuts have anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, which makes them fantastic for disease prevention.
Where to Find Coconut Water
Coconut water can be purchased in the refrigerator section of any health food store, and many grocery stores have fresh coconuts available where you can just poke a straw in and away you go. Opt for raw, fresh coconut water – as many of the boxed version have been pasteurized, which eliminates the nutrient value (not to mention they contain added sugars, flavours and preservatives).
Lemon Lime Coconut Quench Recipe
This is an ideal beverage to replace electrolytes after a workout. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, low in sugar and is easy to drink. Additionally, it works great as a thirst quencher on those hot summer days and is perfect to replenish fluids in the dryness of the winter. Aside from the amazing health benefits of coconut water, this recipe also contains:
- Lemons contain unique flavanoid compounds with anti-cancer properties. Also rich in antioxidants including Vitamin C, lemons helps protect the body from free radical damage and boost the immune system. Lemons have been found to help protect against inflammation associated with arthritis.
- Ginger is rich in potassium, magnesium and manganese, all important minerals in maintaining electrolyte balance. Ginger is also very effective at relieving gastrointestinal distress and possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, and has direct anti-inflammatory effects.
- Sea salt helps regulate blood pressure and is rich in a wide, full spectrum of vitamins and minerals.
- Honey has anti-oxidant and anti-microbial properties and also aids in wound healing. Honey helps sustain favourable blood sugar concentrations after endurance training and is important for maintaining muscle glycogen stores so that muscles can recuperate more efficiently.
Other ways you can adapt this recipe are:
- For the vegans: replace honey with coconut nectar
- For the kiddies: freeze and make delicious, healthful popsicles
- For the pool-side loungers: replace 1/2 cup of water with ice and make a super rad slushy
- For the drinkers: throw in a little tequila and ice and you’ve got yourself a margarita (though you may want to save the coconut water to take care of the hangover the next day).