It may sound like one of those enhanced flavored waters you find at your local convenience store, but coconut water is actually a natural drink that comes directly from the coconut itself. Also known as coconut juice, coconut water is the liquid found in a young green coconut. Without added sugar or other additives, the flavored natural water -- whether fresh or bottled -- provides a number of health benefits you may not find in other juices.
It's not calorie-free like water, but compared to juice, coconut water is a low-calorie beverage option. A 1-cup serving of coconut water has 46 calories. By comparison, 1 cup of most juices have 120 calories.
Finding lower calorie options for your usual foods is an easy way to cut calories if you're trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Switching your glass of OJ for a glass of coconut water can save you almost 75 calories. For perspective, cutting back 250 calories a day over seven days may help you lose one-half pound in a week.
This natural low-calorie drink is also a good source of fiber, with nearly 3 grams in a 1-cup serving. Getting more fiber in your diet helps keep your bowels moving and may help alleviate and prevent constipation. It may also help lower your risk of developing diverticulosis, which is a common condition that affects the colon.
Fiber helps more than just your bowels. Finding ways to up your fiber intake by including foods like coconut water in your diet may help lower your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Adults need at least 20 grams of fiber a day, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
Coconut water also contains a number of nutrients you need for healthy bones, including calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. A 1-cup serving of the water contains 58 milligrams of calcium, 60 milligrams of magnesium and 48 milligrams of phosphorus.
On average, most Americans don't get enough calcium and magnesium in their diets, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Coconut water can help you bump up your intake and help you meet your daily needs for stronger, healthier bones.
When you're working out hard and sweating profusely you need to replace lost fluids and electrolytes. Coconut water is a rich source of a number of these essential nutrients, including potassium, sodium and magnesium. In addition to the magnesium, 1 cup of coconut water contains 600 milligrams of potassium and 252 milligram of sodium.
However, with only 9 grams of carbohydrate per cup, coconut water does not contain as many carbohydrates as traditional sport drinks, so you may need to supplement with some carbohydrate-rich food, such as a banana, to replace energy stores.
- Mayo Clinic: What's Behind the Buzz About Coconut Water?
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Nuts, Coconut Water
- University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture: The Exchange List System for Diabetic Meal Planning
- FamilyDoctor.org: What It Takes to Lose Weight
- Harvard School of Public Health: Fiber: Start Roughing It!
- Linus Pauling Institute: Micronutrients and Bone Health
- American Council on Exercise: Electrolytes: Understanding Replacement Options