Recently, coconut water has grown to be a health food superstar—and for good reason. This ultra-hydrating drink is one of my favorite additions to smoothies and for post-workout electrolyte rebalance. I even drank coconut water throughout my pregnancy—it’s a safe choice for mamas-to-be.
Coconut water used to be a total chore to find outside of an Asian Market or by word of mouth, but thankfully, people all over the US have heard the good word on numerous coconut water benefits. Now you can find several brands of coconut water locally without much fuss, which is awesome for crunchy mamas on the go.
So how do you choose which coconut water is best for you? Look at how coconut water could improve your diet.
Packs a Nutritional Punch
Coconut water contains several important minerals and electrolytes, some of which our bodies do not naturally produce, and we must gain from our diets, like manganese. A cup of coconut water contains a lot of micronutrition. The following nutrients are found in coconut water:
Magnesium: This mineral helps muscle function and aids in digestion, relief with cramping, and helps our bodies regulate blood sugar. Magnesium can also help keep us happier and combat depression.
Potassium: Did you know that coconut water has more potassium in a bottle than a banana? Potassium helps regulate your muscle contractions and nervous system. It’s also crucial for heart health and balancing fluid retention in the body.
Manganese: This is a trace mineral that our bodies don’t produce naturally. Manganese is a powerhouse for metabolizing carbohydrates, proteins, and cholesterol, and helps the body’s immune function and response.
Great for Electrolyte Recovery Post-Workout
When we’re really working out and building up a sweat in cardio, we’re losing some electrolytes. Add hot summer months to the mix, and it’s clear that we’re going to need to rebalance our body with more than just water. Coconut water not only contains several electrolytes, but it also has some carbohydrates that help our bodies transition back into homeostasis. Drinking coconut water can help our muscle recover and retain more nutrition post-workout than just water alone—with a fraction of the sugar you might find in sports drinks or calorie-heavy protein powders.
Gives Your Skin Some Glow
It’s incredible how much dehydration can affect our skin. Our skin is our body’s biggest organ—and when we aren’t hydrated, it can lead to tightness in the tissue, itchiness, cracking, and flaking. Yikes! Luckily, coconut water can help keep our skin looking rejuvenated and elastic by keeping our tissues happy and hydrated. When it comes to which coconut water is best for youthful skin, go for a brand fortified with vitamin C. Vitamin C naturally stimulates collagen production, which helps the elasticity of our skin and keeps it looking youthful and firm from the inside out. When our skin is getting enough hydration, that healthy glow really shines through.
Benefits of Coconut Water During Pregnancy
Is it Safe to Sip on Coconut Water in Pregnancy?
Yes! Coconut water is a safe choice for women to keep up on their hydration throughout pregnancy. Each of those vitamins and minerals is safe to enjoy throughout each trimester and even during your trip to the hospital. What’s better still? Sipping on coconut water when pregnant has a ton of benefits to help throughout your journey, nurturing you and your little one.
Morning Sickness – Feeling that nausea while your body adapts to carry new life? Coconut water can replace lost nutrients when you’re feeling queasy early on. Keep some cold and handy if you’ve been making frequent trips to the bathroom.
Relief from Pregnancy Constipation – Maybe you haven’t been able to go to the bathroom as much as you’d like, and it’s causing some discomfort. Good news! The magnesium and fiber present in coconut water can really help get your digestion back into a natural rhythm. Ayurvedic medicine considers coconut water to have laxative properties. This strengthens your digestive system to prevent future bouts of pregnancy constipation and help get your gut moving again.
Miss your Cocktail? Try a Coconut Water Mocktail! – Coconut water makes for a healthier option when trying to recreate some of your favorite beverages. So, if you miss your mojitos or lemon drops, give this healthy option a try during pregnancy. Coconut water is also relatively low carb, making it a great alternative to keep your health in order. Another benefit? If you already have kiddos, it may be a fun activity to make fancy and nutritious drinks together!
Can Relieve Heartburn – When your hormones start shifting and our bodies adapt to provide a nurturing space for our child to grow, there’s a chance you may be dealing with some heartburn and indigestion as a result. If you’re having issues with heartburn during your pregnancy, coconut water can provide some much-needed relief to rebalance and improve your PH levels, proving to be a successful option as a natural acid reducer.
Low Sugar and Low Carb Content – Reducing your sugar intake can help curb cravings improve your energy levels overall. While it may seem appealing in a moment to reach for an extra vanilla latte in the morning, all the caffeine and sugar content in those drinks can really add up and lead to a big energy crash later in the day. Coconut water makes for an awesome low sugar, high nutrition alternative to keep your energy up throughout your pregnancy.
Ways to Add Coconut Water to Your Diet
Maybe I’ve convinced you coconut water is a good addition to your diet, whether you’re pregnant or just looking for some added micro-nutrition to your current lifestyle. I’ve got some creative ways to integrate this option into your diet.
Sip It Straight – For me, I’ve got a go-to brand that I love when someone asks me which coconut water is best. I really love Vita Coco because I can sip it straight after a workout session. Find yourself a brand you love and it’s easy to grab and go.
Include in Smoothies — Every smoothie needs a liquid base. So why not go tropical and get some coconut water in the mix? Coupled with the right fruits, flax, and veggies, smoothies can make a great and quick breakfast or mid-day snack for everyone in your family.
Freezer-Friendly: Popsicles & Coconut Water Ice Cubes — When it’s sweltering out and you need ways to beat the heat, make a fruit and coconut popsicle. Not only will it refresh you and your family, but it’s also a fun project with kids. If you’re in a rush, coconut water ice cubes are as easy as they come. Just add a few cubes to your water with a slice of lemon and mint leaves, and you’ll have a refreshing alternative to plain water for hydration.
Add to Salad Dressings — This is a fun one. Not only is making dressings at home way less difficult than you might think, but it’s also an awesome way to sneak more nutrition into your diet. You can use coconut water as a base, from citrus dressings to raspberry vinaigrettes. It’s worth exploring to see what ratios are right for you, and a way to tap into that crunchy mama creativity.
Desserts Galore — Sometimes we need a little something sweet in our lives. Coconut water can be an awesome addition to all sorts of desserts, from puddings to cupcakes. Consider making something sweet for you and your family with a little nutrition sprinkled in.
Coconut water is a worthy addition to your diet. Whether it’s post-workout you’re after, or some indigestion relief from your body adjusting to pregnancy, or just a nice alternative for a refreshing treat, it gets this crunchy mama’s seal of approval, plus the thumbs up from my kiddos. I hope you check out some of the recipes I’ve got around Real Food RN—let me know what works and what discoveries you make with coconut water!