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Coconut Water for Diabetes? How Good Is It?

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Coconut water is clean, fresh, and free of preservatives and artificial sweeteners. The use of coconut water is known to have various health benefits.

Due to its two most vital salts, potassium and sodium, it is a wonderful drink for maintaining electrolyte balance before and after any physical activity. In addition, it contains critical amino acids, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, iron, and copper.

Diabetes: An Overview

Diabetes is a chronic condition brought on by either insufficient insulin production by the pancreas or inefficient insulin utilisation by the body. A hormone called insulin controls blood sugar levels.

Uncontrolled diabetes frequently causes hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia is also known as high blood glucose or high blood sugar. Overtime, it can seriously harm many bodily systems, including the neurons and blood vessels.

While Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are chronic metabolic disorders other diabetes disorders, including gestational diabetes and prediabetes, may be reversible.

Prediabetes is when blood sugar levels are higher than the usual healthy limits but not rise enough to be classified as diabetes. If you do not take preventative measures, prediabetes might become diabetes.

Gestational diabetes, also known as pregnancy diabetes, is when you develop high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. The fact that your body naturally reacts to insulin differently during pregnancy is one of the causes.

Your body becomes more resistant to insulin during pregnancy because your body has to give the developing baby extra glucose. However, in a few women, the process goes completely wrong. Your body either stops responding to the insulin as it should or does not produce the necessary amount of insulin.

As the name suggests, gestational diabetes appears only during pregnancy, particularly in those who have never had diabetes. Fortunately, in most cases, it goes away soon after delivery.

Managing Diabetes like a Pro

Diabetes and other chronic conditions may not reverse altogether. But with the right interventions, you can reduce the impact of such conditions.

Unfortunately, sometimes there is too much conflicting information about the dietary dos and don’ts. Hence, speaking to a reliable health service provider like HealthifyMe nutritionists can ease your health woes substantially.

The nutritionists help you craft a meal plan based on your preferences, health and age. HealthifyPRO 2.0 comes with BIOS- a CGM-based wearable.

Any food intake or activity input affects our blood glucose levels in real-time. CGM helps us identify the right foods and beverages ideal for our body types and health conditions.

Nutritional Value of Coconut Water

As per USDA, one hundred ml of coconut water contains the following nutrients.

  • Energy: 19 kCal
  • Water: 95g
  • Protein: 0.72g
  • Carbohydrate: 3.71g
  • Fat: 0.2g
  • Calcium: 24mg
  • Vitamin C: 2.4mg

Coconut water is a refreshing and hydrating beverage rich in nutrients. In addition, it is a good source of electrolytes, including potassium, sodium, and magnesium, essential for maintaining proper fluid balance. 

Coconut water also contains small amounts of other minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, and zinc. In addition to electrolytes and minerals, coconut water is a source of antioxidants, which help to protect the body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals. It is also low in calories and fat, making it a healthy alternative to sugary sports drinks.

Coconut Water for Diabetes Patients with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Research shows coconut water is suitable for people with diabetes due to its low sugar content. According to a study, coconut water primarily contains carbs, as opposed to coconut meat, which is high in fat. 

The high manganese, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and L-arginine levels of coconut water result in lower HbA1c, blood glucose, and oxidative stress levels. Furthermore, it contains substances that can make cells more sensitive to insulin. 

Coconut water has a relatively low glycemic index (GI) of 54 (low GI: 1 to 55, medium GI: 56 to 69, high GI: 70 and higher) and a glycemic load of 3. Hence, it is generally considered safe for people with diabetes to consume.

However, it is crucial to keep in mind that although it does not have added sugar, it does have natural sugar, and if one consumes too much, it can cause blood sugar levels to rise quickly.

Coconut water drastically reduces oxidative stress, preventing serious heart, nerve, and kidney-related issues. Regular consumption of coconut water lowers blood triglycerides, cholesterol, and liver fat. Additionally, coconut water lowers blood pressure, limiting the formation of blood clots. 

Health Benefits of Coconut Water

Prevents Free Radicals Damage 

Free radicals are unstable compounds created as a by-product of metabolism. They get produced more when under pressure, under stress or when the metabolism is put for a toss.

As a result, our body experiences oxidative stress in the presence of too many free radicals, which can harm your cells and raise your chances of getting sick.

According to studies, coconut water has antioxidants that can work to change free radicals, so they no longer cause damage.

Beneficial During Exercise

Coconut water can be the ideal hydration booster and electrolyte replacement during exercise. Minerals called electrolytes have several vital functions in your body. 

According to studies, it helps preserve a healthy fluid balance. Potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calcium are a few essential electrolytes. Therefore, coconut water can be more advantageous than water for rehydrating after exercise since it comprises electrolytes like potassium and magnesium.

Low-Calorie Content

Coconut water is a good substitute for beverages with more calories. Most drinks (such as juice or soda) contain more sugar and carbohydrates than coconut water. Additionally, coconut water has additional nutrients and electrolytes, primarily potassium.

Coconut water can quench your thirst with fewer calories than a sweet beverage. However, when purchasing packaged coconut water, you need to be mindful. Choose beverages carefully and read the labels. Avoid coconut water with added sugar. They are the same as other sugary drinks. Choose plain coconut water instead or it’s best to buy fresh coconut water from vendors. 

Helps Remove Kidney Stone

Kidney stones form when calcium, oxalate, and other crystals combine to produce urine. Small stones can be created by further combining these crystals. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain proper hydration to prevent kidney stones. 

As per research, coconut water effectively prevents kidney stones in the body. That is because coconut water eliminates chloride and citrate from healthy people’s urine. Additionally, coconut water can cleanse the body efficiently. As a result, it aids in reducing the likelihood of stones.

It Helps Regulate Blood Pressure

According to research, coconut water can reduce blood pressure. However, if you take blood pressure medicine, it will be best not to consume coconut water as it may cause your blood pressure to drop too low.

Prevents Constipation

Drinking coconut water daily keeps your digestive system running smoothly, enabling nutrients to enter the bloodstream. Coconut water is healthy for digestion due to its fibre and magnesium content. Fibre is an essential part of a healthy digestive system as it aids in the removal of waste from your system. Magnesium aids in muscular relaxation and is frequently taken as a supplement to treat issues like constipation.

Healthy Skin

In addition to promoting healthy organ function, proper body hydration supports healthy skin. Of course, you reap the same advantage by having regular water. But coconut water has an advantage. It contains a small amount of vitamin C that mainly benefits the skin.

Studies show that vitamin C helps collagen formation, which lessens the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles. Thus, coconut water can be your secret to flawless skin. 

Hangover Remedy

Dehydration brought on by alcohol can produce headaches and nausea the following morning. You can fight off both with coconut water. It replenishes electrolytes lost during the process.

Best Time to Drink Coconut Water

Early Morning

Drinking coconut water early in the morning after waking up can be beneficial in various ways. Lauric acid, which is present in coconut water, helps to increase immunity, jump-start metabolism, and promote weight loss. Coconut water is frequently advised to expectant mothers because it prevents dehydration and constipation. Additionally, it aids in reducing heartburn and morning sickness, two typical pregnancy side effects.

Before or After a Workout

Coconut water is a great natural sports beverage that hydrates your body and increases energy before a workout. Additionally, it aids in replacing the electrolytes lost during intense exercise. As a result, coconut water is one of the best energy-boosting beverages and aids in battling tiredness and exhaustion.

Before and After Meals

Before a meal, sipping a glass of coconut water leaves you feeling full and helps you avoid overeating. It is soothing to the stomach and low in calories. In addition, coconut water has digestive properties. It promotes rapid digestion and reduces post-meal bloating. Regular drinking of coconut water also aids in preserving your body’s electrolyte balance, which lowers blood pressure and enhances digestion.

Before Going to Bed

The sweet and pleasant scent of coconut has a psychological impact that lowers anxiety and slows our pulse rate. Before bedtime, sip a little coconut water to reduce stress and clear your head. Additionally, consuming coconut water before bed can aid in cleaning your urinary tract and draining out any toxins. As a result, this can protect you from infections and kidney issues. 

The HealthifyMe Note

Coconut water is a hydrating natural drink that is high in nutrients. It is a good source of glucose and is rich in vitamins and minerals. For people with diabetes, coconut water has a lot of advantages. However,  diabetics should be aware that coconut water still essentially contains sugar and thus they should be careful with the amount they consume . In some cases, specialists advise against drinking it if you have excessive blood sugar. The patient can still drink coconut water, but only in moderation. Please remember not to consume excessive amounts.

Precaution

Avoid eating coconut meat since it is high in saturated fat, which raises the possibility of problems for people with diabetes. The best time to consume coconut water is in the afternoon to boost immunity and improve cardiovascular health. People with chronic kidney illness, rheumatism, or gestational diabetes should consult a nutritionist before consuming coconut water. For people with diabetes, older coconuts are preferable to younger ones. You must divide your daily intake of coconut water into two servings of no more than 250 ml each to get the best results.

Summary

Coconut water is a hydrating, nutrient-rich beverage. It has a lot of vitamins and minerals and only a tiny amount of sugar. Please avoid sweetened and packaged coconut water because it can increase your calorie consumption and blood sugar levels. Instead, pick unsweetened kinds and limit your consumption to 1-2 cups (240-280 ml) daily if you have diabetes and wish to try coconut water.

The Research Sources

1. The U S Department of Agriculture

https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170174/nutrients

2. Preetha PP, Devi VG, Rajamohan T. Mature coconut water exhibits antidiabetic and antithrombotic potential via L-arginine-nitric oxide pathway in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol. 2015 Nov;26(6):575-83. doi: 10.1515/jbcpp-2014-0126. PMID: 26146124.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26146124/

3. Yong JW, Ge L, Ng YF, Tan SN. The chemical composition and biological properties of coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) water. Molecules. 2009 Dec 9;14(12):5144-64. doi: 10.3390/molecules14125144. PMID: 20032881; PMCID: PMC6255029.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20032881/

4. Bhagya D, Prema L, Rajamohan T. Therapeutic effects of tender coconut water on oxidative stress in fructose-fed insulin resistant hypertensive rats. Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2012 Apr;5(4):270-6. doi: 10.1016/S1995-7645(12)60038-8. PMID: 22449517.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22449517/

5. National Library of Medicine

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541123/

6. Patel, Roshan & Jiang, Pengbo & Asplin, John & Granja, Ignacio & Capretz, Taylor & Osann, Kathryn & Okhunov, Zhamshid & Landman, Jaime & Clayman, Ralph. (2018). Coconut Water: An Unexpected Source of Urinary Citrate. BioMed Research International. 2018. 1-5. 10.1155/2018/3061742.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/328691885_Coconut_Water_An_Unexpected_Source_of_Urinary_Citrate

7. 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.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15892382/

8. Pullar JM, Carr AC, Vissers MCM. The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health. Nutrients. 2017 Aug 12;9(8):866. doi: 10.3390/nu9080866. PMID: 28805671; PMCID: PMC5579659.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579659/

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