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Coconut water, the clear liquid found inside young green coconuts, has gained popularity in recent years as a natural and refreshing beverage. It is a low-calorie beverage containing natural sugars. It helps restore electrolytes after exercise and prevents dehydration.
One glass (240 mL) of coconut water contains 36 kcal with 84% carbs, 7% protein, and 9.4% fat. It is a good source of potassium, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin E, magnesium, and an excellent source of manganese.
The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels. Foods with a high GI rating are more likely to cause a rapid increase in blood sugar, while foods with a low GI rating are less likely to cause a rapid increase.
It's also worth noting that coconut water is not a low-glycemic beverage. Coconut water has a GI rating of around 55, which is considered moderate1.
Coconut water is great for hydrating your body. It is often advertised as a healthy alternative to sugary sports drinks.
It might not only provide enough energy during a workout, but it can help with rehydration afterward.
Research on animals has shown that coconut water contains antioxidants that may help modify free radicals so they no longer cause harm2.
Free radicals are a type of unstable reactive oxygen species. These free radicals can build up in cells and cause damage to other molecules like DNA, lipids, and proteins.
All the health benefits of coconut water mentioned above concerning hydration and reduction of oxidative stress do not conclude whether coconut water is good for diabetes.
Let's take a closer look at what research suggests.
There are two independent animal research studies conducted to determine the effect of coconut water on diabetes. No human studies to support testing this hypothesis were found to date.
A study conducted on diabetic rats indicates that the diabetic rats treated with coconut water had decreased blood glucose levels and reduced oxidative stress3.
However, this study was conducted on rats with matured coconut water (MCW) and the nutritional composition of matured coconut water could be significantly different from tender coconut water.
In a second study on diabetic rats4, it was reported that coconut water can effectively reduce blood glucose in diabetic rats, but its mechanism remains unknown and requires further experimental studies.
Even though these animal studies on coconut water and diabetes demonstrated encouraging results, it is not sufficient to conclude that coconut water is good for sugar patients.
More comprehensive human studies are required to support this hypothesis.
Based on the sugar composition and moderate glycemic index of coconut water, we do not recommend regular consumption of coconut water for diabetic patients.
Coconut water has a GI rating of around 55, which is considered moderate. This means that it is likely to cause a moderate increase in blood sugar levels, which may not be suitable for individuals with diabetes.
In addition, some brands of packaged coconut water may contain added sugars or other sweeteners, so it's important to check the label before purchasing.
Considering the high mineral content and hydration properties of coconut water, diabetic patients can drink not more than 1 glass (240 mL) of unsweetened tender coconut water post workouts to restore electrolytes lost during exercise.
However, despite its potential benefits, it's important to remember that coconut water should not be used as part of diabetes treatment.
Managing diabetes requires a combination of lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and taking medications as prescribed.
If you are looking to change your lifestyle and manage diabetes, we recommend you get some help in this process by subscribing to our diabetic diet plan.
Download the Hint app and go to the Hint store to get a personalized diabetic diet plan created for you.
In conclusion, while there is some limited evidence to suggest that coconut water may have potential benefits for individuals with diabetes, more research is needed to determine its effectiveness.
Additionally, coconut water is not a low-glycemic beverage and should not be relied upon as a sole method of managing Diabetes.
While incorporating coconut water into your diet as a post-workout may have some potential benefits, it's important to remember that managing diabetes requires a combination of lifestyle changes and medications.
Coconut Water, along with a healthy balanced weight loss diet can help in weight loss as it is low in calories as compared to other beverages like packed juices or aerated drinks.
Yes. If taken in moderation it can help improve gastroenteritis and be good for rehydration after diarrhea. Also can help to cure symptoms like inflammation and acidity5.
There is no evidence of getting benefits from drinking coconut water during Covid. However, as coconut water is a good electrolyte, it can help with issues like indigestion.
Drinking coconut water is a good choice for pregnant females. It helps to hydrate and provide electrolytes to make up for losses from vomiting due to morning sickness. Also, as coconut water is a rich source of potassium, it helps to control blood pressure during pregnancy6.
Coconut water can spike blood sugar levels as it’s not a low-glycemic beverage. Hence, avoiding coconut water for type 1 diabetes is safe.
Fiona S Atkinson, Jennie C Brand-Miller, Kaye Foster-Powell, Anette E Buyken, Janina Goletzke, international tables of glycemic index and glycemic load values 2021: a systematic review, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 114, Issue 5, November 2021, Pages 1625–1632.
Geetha V, Mohan Kumar A S, Chetana R, Gopala Krishna A G & Suresh Kumar G, Effect of Shelf Stable Concentrates of Tender Coconut Water and Testa Phenolics on Lipid Profile and Liver Antioxidant Enzymes in High Fat Fed Rats, global institute for research & education.
Preetha PP, Devi VG, Rajamohan T. Hypoglycemic and antioxidant potential of coconut water in experimental diabetes. Food Funct. 2012 Jul;3(7):753-7. doi: 10.1039/c2fo30066d. Epub 2012 Jun 27. PMID: 22576019.
Dai Y, Peng L, Zhang X, et al. Effects of coconut water on blood sugar and retina of rats with diabetes. PeerJ. 2021;9:e10667. Published 2021 Jan 29. doi:10.7717/peerj.10667
Adams W, Bratt DE. Young coconut water for home rehydration in children with mild gastroenteritis. Trop Geogr Med. 1992 Jan;44(1-2):149-53. PMID: 1496708.
Alleyne T, Roache S, Thomas C, Shirley A. The control of hypertension by use of coconut water and mauby: two tropical food drinks. West Indian Med J. 2005 Jan;54(1):3-8. doi: 10.1590/s0043-31442005000100002. PMID: 15892382.