Coconut water has gained in popularity, evolving from a niche health food to a popular beverage, available at many grocery and convenience stores. While not all the health claims associated with coconut water stand up to scrutiny -- for example, it's not "nature's sports drink," notes registered dietitian Jennifer Koslo, writing for Kaplan University's Center for Health and Wellness -- it does offer a variety of health benefits thanks to its nutrient content. Add it to your diet as a healthful beverage, and you'll boost your fiber and mineral intake.
Coconut water offers health benefits by boosting your intake of dietary fiber. Each 1-cup serving of the water contains 2.6 grams of dietary fiber, which is 10 percent of the fiber women need each day, and 7 percent of the fiber men need. Because it contains a significant amount of fiber, coconut water helps you feel full -- the fiber absorbs water, which helps fill your stomach. The fiber in coconut water also regulates your blood sugar, which makes it a healthy choice if you suffer from diabetes, and helps lower cholesterol.
Magnesium and Copper
Coconut water is a good source of the essential minerals magnesium and copper. Magnesium affects the function of your parathyroid gland, a hormone gland located in your neck, and supports your metabolism so that you can convert food into energy. Copper also facilitates energy production and plays a role in the production of collagen, which keeps your bones strong. A 1-cup serving of coconut water contains 60 milligrams of magnesium -- 14 percent of the recommended daily intake for men and 19 percent for women -- along with 96 micrograms of copper, or 11 percent of the daily recommended intake.
Manganese and Potassium
Drink coconut water and you'll also get a significant amount of manganese and potassium. Your body uses potassium to maintain membrane potential, which is the electrolyte balance your cells need to function properly. A serving of coconut water boasts 600 milligrams of potassium, which is 13 percent of your daily recommended intake. The manganese found in coconut water boosts collagen production, a process central to healthy wound healing, and supports your metabolism. A cup of coconut water provides 0.34 milligram of manganese, which is 15 and 19 percent, respectively, of the daily recommended manganese intakes for men and women.
Serving Tips and Suggestions
Use coconut water's mellow flavor to your advantage by selecting it as a base for healthful smoothies. Combine it with frozen raspberries, mango chunks and pineapple for a tropical beverage, and blend in ground flaxseed for texture. Or combine coconut water with fruit puree and honey, then freeze for healthful coconut water sorbet. If you're feeling adventurous, use coconut water in place of regular water for cold-steeped green iced tea. Simply add green tea to chilled coconut water, then store in the fridge overnight to allow the tea's flavor to develop.
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Sylvie Tremblay holds a Master of Science in molecular and cellular biology and has years of experience as a cancer researcher and neuroscientist.