Nutritional Benefits of Coconut Water by DR. Lita Lee PHD
Dr. Bruce Fife, N.D. gave me permission to use this article for my newsletter. I have summarized his article as best I can.
Coconut water is the liquid you find inside a young green coconut. In the tropics it is not only considered a refreshing beverage but a health tonic. Hawaiians call coconut water noelani (no-way lah-nee), which means “dew from the heavens.” Coconut water has a long history of use as both a food and as a medicine. Although a variety of fruits grow in abundance in many tropical locations, coconut water is prized above all other juices. It not only satisfies thirst but invigorates the body and brings about a sense of well-being and renewed health. Women are encouraged to drink it when pregnant and nursing so their milk will provide all the nutrients necessary for a healthy baby. The first food an infant receives as it begins weaning is coconut water and coconut jelly (soft immature coconut meat).
Coconut water contains a variety of nutrients including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, enzymes, growth factors, and other nutrients. Coconut water is a good source of the major minerals like magnesium, calcium, and potassium. It is particularly rich in potassium, an essential nutrient; one 8-ounce cup of coconut water has more potassium than a banana. It also contains a variety of trace elements such as zinc, selenium, iodine, sulfur, manganese, boron, molybdenum, and others. These are derived from volcanic soils and seawater from which the coconut palms are grown. All of these minerals are in the form of electrolytes so they are easily absorbable by the human body. Many of the health benefits attributed to coconut water can be traced to its mineral content.
In the tropics where heatstroke and dehydration are common problems, coconut water is far more effective in relieving symptoms associated with these conditions than either plain water or fruit juice. Over the past two decades coconut water has been used extensively as a treatment for cholera, dysentery, influenza, and other infectious diseases that promote dehydration. Coconut water has saved thousands of lives, especially of children in underdeveloped countries. Ordinary water is not effective in treating severe dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhea, but because of coconut water’s unique chemical composition it is able to rehydrate the body and give it the strength and energy it needs to fight off the infection. Death rates from cholera are high, but with the use of coconut water survival rates increase to 97 percent.
Coconut water has a therapeutic effect on the urinary and reproductive systems. It is reported to clear-up bladder infections, remove kidney stones, and improve sexual vitality. Medical research has shown that the consumption of coconut water can be very effective in dissolving kidney stones. Dr. Eugenio Macalalag, director of the urology department of the Chinese General Hospital in the Philippines, says that coconut water has demonstrated its effectiveness in patients suffering from kidney and urethral stones. He reports that consuming coconut water only 2 to 3 times a week results in a significant reduction in stone size and expulsion, eliminating the need for surgery.1
In Jamaica coconut water is known as a heart tonic and is used to strengthen the heart and improve circulation. Research bears this out. Animal studies show that coconut water consumption reduces plaque formation in arteries, thus reducing risk of heart attack and stroke.
High blood pressure is one of the primary risk factors associated with heart disease and stroke. The minerals potassium and magnesium are known to help reduce high blood pressure. Human studies show that coconut water, which is a good source of both of these minerals, is effective in reducing high blood pressure and increasing circulation.2 Studies also demonstrate that coconut water consumption...
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