Coconut water: Why all the hype?

If you’re lactose intolerant, following a LCHF (low carb high fat) eating plan, or simply enjoy the flavours of foods from South East Asia, then you probably use coconut cream or milk fairly regularly in your cooking. It’s the latest “must have” ingredient, and with good reason: it’s versatile and ticks all of the boxes if you’re eating LCHF.

But what about coconut water? You’ve seen it in the shops, and everyone seems to be drinking it – from supermodels to the guy next door. Have you tried it? Converts claim it’s great for your skin, keeps you hydrated, and has a host of other benefits, but what is it about coconut water that makes it so good for you?

To start with, the drink that many call “nature’s sports drink” is cholesterol free, practically fat free, and low in carbs and natural sugars. A standard 180ml glass of coconut water contains around 30 calories and 8g sugar, but that’s only if it’s 100% natural. Some brands add sugar and other juices, which puts it on par with the average sugary drink. So, unless you’re actually drinking it fresh out of a coconut, check the labels.

When it comes to the health benefits of coconut water, converts claim it:

  • Has a hydrating and age defying effect on the skin
  • Keeps skin feeling smooth and youthful
  • Helps reduce inflammation associated with acne and eczema when dabbed on the skin (although there’s no scientific evidence to back it up)
  • Gives you an energy boost
  • Could help lower high blood pressure and increase HDL (good) cholesterol
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That being said, if you are going to drink it, there are a few things to watch out for:

  • Once coconut water’s been exposed to air, it starts to ferment and loses its nutritional value – so try and only drink fresh coconut water
  • If you have nut allergies, check with your doctor before you start drinking coconut water or using coconut oil in your cooking
  • It can have a laxative effect, so don’t drink too much in one go!
  • Coconut oil water is high in potassium, so if you’re on a low-potassium diet then avoid coconut oil, as too much potassium in the diet can impact your overall health.

What do you think about coconut water – is it something you enjoy drinking and using in your cooking? What are some of the health benefits you’ve experienced, if any?

Sources: Stylecraze.com, Body and Soul, WebMD, iol.co.za