Have you and your family tried everything to beat this crazy St. Louis heat wave? What about coconut water as a healthy, natural option to stay hydrated? You have likely noticed all the attention coconuts have been getting in the popular media recently
You may have seen coconut water on the shelves of your local grocer or heard of a friend using coconut oil for cooking, but what is all this hype really about? Could some of the more sensational health claims be true?
For more than 4,000 years, coconut water has been revered as a natural source of nutrition, wellness, beauty and hydration. Few beverages on this planet are as biocompatible to the human body and its hydration needs as coconut water. Coconut water contains a high amount of potassium, chlorides, calcium, and magnesium. These are essential minerals that our body needs for certain functions, such as metabolism, muscle contractions and brain functions. Because of this, coconut water can replace the valuable electrolytes that are lost during vigorous physical activity. It has fewer calories, less sodium, and more potassium than a sports drink and even a banana! Ounce per ounce, most unflavored coconut water contains 5.45 calories, 1.3 grams sugar, 61 milligrams (mg) of potassium, and 5.45 mg of sodium compared to Gatorade, which has 6.25 calories, 1.75 grams of sugar, 3.75 mg of potassium, and 13.75 mg of sodium. Naturally refreshing, coconut water has a sweet, nutty taste. It contains easily digested carbohydrates in the form of sugar and electrolytes. Not to be confused with high-fat coconut milk or oil, coconut water is a clear liquid in the fruit’s center that is tapped from young, green coconuts.
Inside an unopened coconut, the water is sterile and free of any bacteria, fungus, or parasite. It’s the only natural substance that can be safely injected into the human blood stream without harming the blood cells and is non-allergenic. It is reported that this was a common practice in WWII and during Vietnam, when intravenous solution was in short supply. A patient can safely receive as much as one quarter to one third of the patient’s body weight in coconut water intravenously.
While some are concerned about the sugar content of this slightly sweet beverage, recent research shows it actually exhibits blood sugar lowering properties in an experimental model of diabetes. Additional animal research shows coconut water prevents and reverses high blood pressure associated with fructose induced hypertension in diabetics, as well as being able to reduce oxidative stress and insulin resistance. Perhaps one of the most amazing properties of coconut water is its superior lipid (cholesterol) modulating activity in the animal model when compared with the cholesterol-lowering statin drug known as lovastatin. In fact, coconut water has been shown to even elevate the HDL (good cholesterol) levels in the blood! We can now modify Hippocrates’ famous saying : “Let What You Drink Be Your Medicine.”
Other medicinal properties of coconuts:
Anti-Ulcer Properties: Both coconut milk and coconut water exhibit potent anti-ulcer activity against chemicals such as indomethacin, a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID).
Blood-Pressuring Lowering Properties: When human subjects consumed coconut water for two weeks, it was found to lower blood pressure in 74% of the experimental group, reducing it by up to 24 points (mmHg) systolic and 15 points (mmHq) diastolic.
Anti-Alzheimer’s Properties: In an animal model of ovary removal-induced menopausal changes, coconut water appeared to prevent the decline of brain estrogen (estradiol) levels, as well as the associated accumulation of Alzheimer’s disease associated ?-amyloid (A?) plaque in their brains.
Anti-Bacterial Properties: Three antimicrobial peptides have been identified in coconut water which exhibited inhibitory activity against infectious bacteria.
Anti-Gastroenteritis Agent: When sodium is added (ideally sea salt) coconut water has been determined to be an ideal rehydrating agent in countries where medical supplies are not freely available, and where cholera and other severe forms of gastroenteritis persist.
Wound Treatment: Coconut oil is particularly useful in wound treatment because of its biochemical structure. Unlike olive oil and fatty animal oils, it consists of short-chained and saturated fatty acids. These qualities in coconut oil prevent it from becoming oxidized or turning rancid.
Multiple research studies suggest anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anti-fever properties of coconut oil.
Ultimately, coconut water makes for an excellent alternative to sports drinks, which are increasingly comprised of synthetic ingredients. Also, coconut water is filtered by nature through an intensive purification process — far safer than municipal systems which leave up to 600 toxic disinfectant byproducts behind. Coconut oil’s molecular structure makes for a very heat stable oil. Its pleasant flavor and nutritional benefits make coconut oil a great option for high temperature cooking and as a substitute for other oils high in saturated fat. Give it a try in some of your favorite recipes and pick up a bottle of coconut water to beat the heat and stay hydrated this summer!
Delta Spinal Care
Holistic Health and Wellness Center
8403 Maryland Ave.
Clayton, MO 63105