Superfood Sunday: Coconut Water – the magic elixir
So I am currently doing a Bikram Yoga challenge for the month of October. The challenge consists of 31 Bikram classes in 31 days. If you’ve ever done Bikram Yoga before, or any hot yoga for that matter, I’m sure you can appreciate how intense this sounds – and yes I’ve second guessed my decision to sign-up for the challenge several times this month already! I will write up a full post on how I feel at the end of the month, because at the moment my mind is constantly swinging from loving it – to absolutely dreading the thought of going back into that hot room again! Needless to say, I’m hoping I feel pretty great by the end.
In the meantime, I thought it be good to share with you one of my absolute essentials that has been getting me through my first week of the challenge…
Introducing one of nature’s most magical elixirs – coconut water! I realise there has been a lot of hype around coconut water over the last couple of years… for example, in Sydney the weather’s only just starting to warm up, the beaches are getting busier and it seems every second person is walking down the street holding a coconut! While a lot of the superfoods you may hear about might be considered to be a ‘fad’ – I do consider coconut water to be an exception because of its truly unique benefits.
Here’s 5 reasons why I love coconut water:
1. Nature’s sports drink
When you exercise, you often loose a lot of these minerals and vitamins through your sweat – which is why it’s so important to rehydrate and replenish them during or after your workout. Coconut water is a natural isotonic drink that provides many of the same benefits as formulated sports drinks, without all of the nasty synthetic chemicals! It includes minerals and vitamins like electrolytes calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium and potassium – all in their natural form.
2. Gives you youthful skin
Who doesn’t want to look younger these days? Coconut water is a natural source of cytokinins which is a group of plant growth hormones that help regulate cell growth, development and ageing. Rich in potassium, antioxidants and lauric acid, cytokinins are said to balance pH levels, strengthen and hydrate connective tissues and even reduce the risk of age-related diseases.
3. Aids digestion
Coconut water is known to be a great treatment for a range of digestive and urinary ailments and has been used in the tropics to treat stomach flu, dysentery, indigestion, constipation, IBS, inflammatory bowel disease, intestinal worms, bladder infections and malfunctioning kidneys. It’s a natural diuretic and is said to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) and kidney stone.
4. Supports weight loss
Coconut water has many naturally occurring bioactive enzymes such as acid phosphatase, catalase, dehydrogenase, diastase, peroxidase, RNA-polymerases etc. In effect, these enzymes help in improving digestion and firing up your metabolism. It is also low in fat.
5. Regulates blood pressure
Research shows that coconut water can improve blood circulation, lower elevated blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.. Advocates also claim it helps increase HDL (good) cholesterol, reduces plaque formation, moderates sugar absorption and improves insulin sensitivity.
So where do you buy coconut water? Well if you’re in Australia there are so many sources of coconut water now available – from fresh young coconuts to the packaged variety in cartons and even cans. I love drinking coconut water straight from the coconut – that way you can scoop out all the flesh at the end and add it to your smoothies, use it in baking or simply eat it on its own! If I don’t have a fresh young coconut on hand, then my favourite brand of ‘packaged’ coconut water is a brand called Meko which you can buy from Woolworths. I have tried most of the brands on the market, and this one is probably the closest to the fresh source.
I love drinking fresh coconut water chilled. I also love to add it to my green smoothies for a hint of sweetness! Here is a quick green smoothie recipe that I’m loving at the moment 🙂
Glowing Green Coconut Smoothie
1 cup coconut water
½ cup pineapple
few sprigs of mint
1 tsp spirulina
 Dr Bruce Fife, director of the Coconut Research Center and author of Coconut Water For Health And Healing (Perfect Paperback).