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Tender Coconut Water: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Siddharth Gupta

By Dr Siddharth Gupta +2 more

Introduction:  

Have you ever had the ”fluid of life”? You might be wondering what ”fluid of life” is.1 It is nothing but tender coconut water. In Philippines, the coconut tree is also referred to as the ”tree of life”. Now this might refresh your memory and take you on a trip down memory lane; it’s probably a scene of a beach and a green coconut in your hand. Tender coconut water seems to be the perfect comrade for a summer beach trip. Not only is it refreshing, but it might also have many health benefits too!2 

benefits of coconut water

The coconut palm tree, also known as Cocos nucifera, is the most extensively grown palm tree over the world. It is mainly grown in tropical countries. Indonesia is the largest coconut producer in the world. 1,2  

The clear delicious liquid found inside the coconut is known as coconut water. The water of a tender coconut is nothing but the endosperm of the coconut and it is one of the most nutritious beverages available to us. This nutritious water is what matures and forms the flesh of the coconut over time. Tender coconut water is the liquid and not the milk of the coconut. The water content of the coconut depends on its age and the variety of coconut, but an average tender coconut of five to seven months age contains around 500-750 mL of refreshing coconut water! Read on to find out more about the various potential health benefits of tender coconut water.1,2 

Did you know?

  • Coconut water contains minerals such as potassium, sodium, calcium, and 9.9 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams. source: USDA FoodData Central
  • Coconut water contains 9.9 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams. source: fdc.nal.usda.gov
  • Regular consumption of coconut water has been shown to have beneficial effects on hypertension and myocardial infarction. source: NCBI
  • Coconut water is a good source of vitamins, including vitamin C, thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), and pantothenic acid (B5). source: NCBI
  • Coconut water contains a unique chemical composition of sugars, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and phytohormones. source: NCBI

Nutritional Value of Tender Coconut Water: 

The nutrients present in tender coconut water are as follows: 

Nutrient Percentage content 
Sugars 2.4 
Carbohydrates 4.4 
Fibre 0.4 
Calcium 0.008 
Potassium 0.184 
Sodium 0.022 
Magnesium 0.006 
Phosphorous 0.008 
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) 0.247 

Table 1: Nutrient content of tender coconut water3  

Also Read: Apple Juice: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

Properties of Tender Coconut Water: 

Tender coconut water might have the following properties: 

  • It might be rich in antioxidants  
  • It might help in lipid (fat) metabolism in the body  
  • It might help lower blood pressure  
  • It might help reduce inflammation (body’s reaction to external agents and wounds)  
  • It might be helpful for the heart (cardioprotective)  
  • It might help in improving the haemoglobin (a protein present in blood cells) levels in blood  
  • It might help lower the blood sugar level (antidiabetic activity)  
  • It might be effective against the formation of clots in the blood (antithrombotic activity)1  

I recently came across a fascinating study from 2021 that involved rats with diabetes. Guess what? They found that coconut water might actually reduce their blood glucose levels! Not only that, but coconut water may also reduce diabetic retinal damage.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Also Read: Mango Juice: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Siddharth Gupta

Potential Uses of Tender Coconut Water for Overall Health: 

The young coconut flesh has a jelly like consistency, hence, is known as tender coconut. The tender coconut water is rich in vitamins and minerals. Therefore, it might have the following potential uses for human health.1 

1. Potential uses of tender coconut water for blood pressure  

The results of several studies state that tender coconut water might have the potential to help lower the systolic pressure. In a study conducted by a Bhagya et al. it was seen that tender coconut water, when consumed regularly, might lower systolic blood pressure but not diastolic blood pressure. Therefore, there is a need for more studies to ascertain the effects of tender coconut water for human health. Conditions like blood pressure are serious and must be properly diagnosed and treated by a doctor. So, ensure that you follow your doctor’s advice.1 

2. Potential uses of tender coconut water for blood cholesterol  

Multiple studies have shown that tender coconut water might help lower lipid levels in the blood. This potential effect might be seen as a reduction of LDL (low density lipoproteins), triglycerides and HDL (high density lipoproteins). However, these effects were observed in animal models. More research on humans need to be conducted to understand their true benefits in human health.1 

3. Potential uses of tender coconut water for pain and inflammation  

In animal studies, it was seen that coconut water might have the potential to decrease inflammation (body’s reaction to external agents) and pain. This might be due to the presence of high amount of nutrients in coconut water. It is hypothesised that this activity of coconut water might be due to its potential action of interfering with the compound (prostaglandin) responsible for pain and inflammation. However, these activities need to be confirmed by more research.1 

4. Potential uses of tender coconut water for stomach  

Coconut water contains a lot of active vitamins, minerals and nutrients. It might have a potential to soothe the ailing stomach. It might be helpful for people suffering with diarrhoea and other stomach infections where there is loss of water and vital salts like sodium. Tender coconut water can help replenish these lost salts as well as hydrate. The presence of certain enzymes like polyphenol oxidase and peroxidase too might make it beneficial. There is a need for more scientific research to prove these claims.1 

5. Potential uses of tender coconut water for oxidative stress  

The results of the various studies conducted on animals indicate that tender coconut water might have a positive effect on the cells of the body and might help them against oxidative stress. It has been observed that on a molecular level, tender coconut water might have a potential to protect the mitochondria from damage from free radicals. This seems to be in tune with the findings of another study that states the possibility of tender coconut water helping improve the antioxidant status and reducing the oxidative stress in experimental mice. Therefore, it might help reduce the oxidative stress. However, more research is needed to prove these claims as concrete facts.1 

6. Potential uses of tender coconut water for the heart    

In an animal study, an experiment was conducted to assess the effectiveness of tender coconut water on heart attack (myocardial infarction). It was observed that tender coconut water in fact might have the potential to help against the changes that might lead to a heart attack. Other studies have also seen that tender coconut water might be involved in actions that help with betterment of heart health. These activities, however, are yet to be proved in humans. Moreover, heart conditions must be properly diagnosed and treated by a specialist doctor. Therefore, ensure to consult a qualified doctor and not treat yourself with coconut water alone.1 

7. Other potential uses of tender coconut water  

The other potential uses of tender coconut water for human health are as follows: 

  • It might be helpful for urinary tract infections  
  • It might act as a good oral rehydration drink 
  • It might help against chills  
  • It might be helpful against rashes caused by chicken pox, measles and from prickly heat 
  • It might have an action as a diuretic (helps formation and passing of urine) 
  • It might be helpful for kidney stones 
  • It might help in killing worms1 

Though there are studies that show the potential uses of tender coconut water in various conditions, but these are insufficient and there is a need of further studies to establish the true extent of benefits of tender coconut water on human health.   

I came across a study that showed how treatment with coconut water might stop crystals from building up in the kidneys and reduce the number of crystals in urine. It may also help keep the kidneys functioning well and protects them from harmful oxidative stress. It’s like coconut water acts as a shield for our kidneys!

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Also Read: Guava Juice: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Smita Barode

How to Use Tender Coconut Water? 

Tender coconut water is a beverage and is best when consumed in the pure form. You might also find it in packaged forms on the market.  

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking any herbal supplements. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.   

After going through an article, I found that drinking coconut water before exercising in hot conditions can do wonders! Not only it may boost exercise capacity, but it might also help to retain more fluids compared to plain water or other flavoured drinks.

Dr. Smita barode, B.A.M.S, M.S.

Side Effects of Tender Coconut Water: 

 There is need for more research to observe side effects of tender coconut water. 

Precautions to Take with Tender Coconut Water:  

Tender coconut water should be avoided in the following conditions: 

  • In people with hyperkalaemia (increased potassium levels in blood) 
  • Renal (kidney) failure 
  • Acute adrenal gland insufficiency 
  • In people whose urine output has reduced 
  • Viper bite, as the blood potassium levels are increased2 

Drinking green coconut water was considered as a taboo in some parts of India as it was said to cause opacity in eyes.4 However, such effects have not been scientifically verified. Therefore, it is advised that you consult a doctor about drinking tender coconut water during pregnancy. Special care and a doctor’s advice should be followed before giving tender coconut water to children as well.  

I have learnt that lauric acid has incredible antimicrobial properties. It’s all thanks to the high content of lauric acid in coconut. Lauric acid may act as a powerful defender against harmful microorganisms, making it a superhero ingredient! In fact, it might be used in medications to treat oral infections like mouth sores.

Dr. Anuja Bodhare, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Also Read: Amla-Aloe Vera Juice: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Siddharth Gupta

Interactions with Other Drugs: 

There is a lack of sufficient data regarding the interaction of tender coconut water with any other drugs. Therefore, consult a doctor before taking it, especially if you are on medication and/or are receiving treatment for any condition. 

Also Read: Is Coconut Water Good for Diabetes? A Fact-Based Discussion

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What are the benefits of tender coconut water? 

Tender coconut water might be good for health as it might have blood pressure lowering, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diarrhoeal, rehydrating, gastroprotective activities, etc. However, more research is required to prove these potential uses of tender coconut water.1 

Is tender coconut water good for skin? 

Tender coconut water might be good for skin, but there is inadequate evidence stating of such effects. It might be helpful against rashes caused by chicken pox, etc.1  

Does tender coconut water benefit people with high blood pressure? 

As seen in several studies, tender coconut water might help in lowering the systolic blood pressure but might not help lower the diastolic blood pressure. There is more research required to know the exact effects of tender coconut water on blood pressure. Moreover, a condition such as high blood pressure should be properly diagnosed and treated by a doctor. Therefore, do not self-medicate. Kindly consult a doctor.1

Is tender coconut water and coconut milk same? 

No. Tender coconut water is the liquid endosperm of a young coconut. It is not the same as coconut milk.1 

Is tender coconut water good for hair? 

There are no reports regarding the potential effects of tender coconut water on hair. Therefore, more research is required. 

References: 

1. Zulaikhah ST. HEALTH BENEFITS OF TENDER COCONUT WATER (TCW) Siti Thomas Zulaikhah Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, UNISSULA, Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia. Int J Pharm Sci Res. 2019;10(2):474–80. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330825517_HEALTH_BENEFITS_OF_TENDER_COCONUT_WATER_TCW 

2. Shubhashree. M.N VG, H DS. Therapeutic and Nutritional Values of Narikelodaka (Tender Coconut Water)-A Review. Res J Pharmacogn Phytochem. 2014;6(4):195–201. Available from: www.anvpublication.org 

3. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Coconut Water [Internet]. FoodData Central. [cited 2022 Jul 26]. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170096/nutrients 

4. Chakrabarti S, Chakrabarti A. Food taboos in pregnancy anf lactation in rural west bengal. J Fam Med Prim Care. 2017;6(2):169–70. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6396620/ 

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

Links and product recommendations in the information provided here are advertisements of third-party products available on the website. PharmEasy does not make any representation on the accuracy or suitability of such products/services. Advertisements do not influence the editorial decisions or content. The information in this blog is subject to change without notice. The authors and administrators reserve the right to modify, add, or remove content without notification. It is your responsibility to review this disclaimer regularly for any changes.

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