BENEFITS OF DRINKING COCONUT WATER
Currently there is an enormous amount of information available referring to the health benefits of drinking coconut water. Coconut water is primarily marketed as a rehydrating and re-energising beverage...which it is, however, studies and research have discovered other benefits as well. Read on..........
Coconut water is the liquid found inside a young green coconut. In the tropics it is not only considered a refreshing beverage but a health tonic. In 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 wellbeing and renewed health. Women are encouraged to drink it when pregnant and nursing to assist in the production of nutritious breast milk.
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 major minerals like magnesium calcium and potassium. It is particularly rich in potassium and essential nutrients. One 200ml cup of coconut water has more potassium than a banana. It also contains a variety of trace elements such as zinc, selenium, iodine, sulphur, manganese, boron, molybdenum, and others.
Trace Element Information Links
Trace elements are derived from volcanic soils and sea water from which coconut palms are grown. All of these minerals are in the form of electrolytes so they are easily absorbed by the human body. Many of the health benefits attributed to coconut water can be traced to the mineral content.
Although coconut water contains sodium it is beneficial, particularly in hot weather, to add Celtic salt, or Himalayan salt (not table salt which is denuded of any nutritional value) to the diet.
In the tropics where heat stroke 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 2 decades coconut water has been used extensively as a treatment for cholera, dysentery, influenza and other infectious disease that promote dehydration.
Coconut water has saved 1000’s of lives, especially of children in underdeveloped countries. Ordinary water is not effective in treating severe dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhoea. Due to coconut water’s chemical composition it is able to rehydrate the body and give it the strength and energy it needs to fight off infection. Death rates from cholera are high but with the use of coconut water, survival rates increase to 97%.
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 – 3 times per week results in a significant reduction in stone size and expulsion, eliminating the need for surgery.
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 mineral 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. Studies also demonstrate that coconut water consumption reduces the risk of heart failure in heart disease patients. The evidence is so convincing that the FDA allows coconut water to carry the claim that it “may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke”.
Because coconut water improves blood circulation, it is of benefit to diabetics. Coconut water helps dilate blood vessels, improves blood flow and reduces plaque formation. Coconut water also contains certain forms of dietary fibre and amino acids that help moderate sugar absorption and improve insulin sensitivity.
Coconut water contains plant growth hormones, particularly cytokinins. They regulate growth development and aging. Plant cytokinins are similar to the hormones called cytokines in the human body. Plant cytokinins also have an anti-aging effect on human cells and tissues. Normal human cells, as they age, go through a progressive and irreversible accumulation of changes until they reach a stage at which they finally die. Young cells are plump, round and smooth. As they age they become irregular in shape, flatten out, enlarge and fill up with debris; cell division slows down and eventually stops, which is ultimately followed by death.
During laboratory testing when cytokinins are added to the cells, cells don’t act their age. The normal sequence of aging slows down considerably. Cells do not undergo the severe degenerative changes that ordinarily occur. Although the total lifespan of human cells is not increased much, the cells remain significantly more youthful and functional throughout their lifetime. For example, treated cells, after they reach the final stage of their lifespan and no longer divide, look and function like untreated cells half their age. Treated cells never undergo severe degenerative changes experienced by untreated cells. In all respects, their youth is extended into old age.
Because of the effects on human cells, cytokinins have been tested for the possible treatment of age spots, wrinkles, sagging, and dry skin. One of the factors that cause wrinkles and sagging skin is the aging and breakdown of connective tissues in the skin. Connective tissues give the skin strength and elasticity. When cytokinins are applied to the skin, they stimulate cell division of connective tissue which replaces older, damaged tissue with functionally younger tissue. The result is that on the surface of the skin, wrinkles tend to flatten out. Dry, aging skin is replaced with smoother, softer skin. This had led some cosmetic manufacturers to add cytokinins to facial creams and lotions.
Coconut water is the richest, natural dietary source of cytokinins. Researchers have suggested the possibility that consuming a rich source of cytokinins, such as coconut water, may produce an anti-aging effect on the body, reducing risk of developing degenerative and age-related diseases.
In regulating cell growth, cytokinins also prevent mistakes that may lead to the development of cancer. Normal cells are kept healthy while cancerous cells are programmed to die, preventing them from growing and spreading. Subsequently, the anti-cancer effects of cytokinins have been well documented.
Acknowledgements:The majority of the material in the above article has been sourced from articles written by Dr Bruce Fife, Certified Nutritionist and Naturopathic Physician, author of several books on the benefits of coconut consumption. He is also the Director of the Coconut Research Centre in the USA.
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