Coconut water and coconut oil

What’s all the fuss about coconut water and oil? What to know about coconut water and oil.

Coconuts are a tropical fruit that are used for their water, milk, fruit and oil. There are many claims about the benefits of coconut products, but are they really beneficial?

Coconut water is a newer, trendy beverage on the market. It is sometimes called, “Mother Nature’s sports drink.” According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, coconut water is the thin, filmy liquid inside a young green coconut. Coconut water is often marketed as a sports drink because it contains electrolytes and minerals. "If you're consuming enough fluids and eating healthfully the rest of the day, having coconut water after a workout is not going to significantly benefit you any more than hydrating with water," says Marjorie Nolan, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. When exercising, for 30 to 60 minutes, the best beverage for rehydration is water. Athletes exercising more than 90 minutes need electrolyte replacement post-workout. Coconut water has electrolytes, potassium and sodium, but the amount of sodium found in coconut water is not adequate for rehydration. Unlike sports drinks, coconut water is low in carbohydrates which aid in the absorption of electrolytes.

According to the National Institute of Health, two-thirds of body weight is made up of water. Water is important for health because it lubricates joints, makes up saliva, protects your spinal cord and tissues, regulates your body’s temperature, and gets rid of your body’s waste. Drinking water is important for hydration and is the best source of fluid for our bodies. We also get water through food and beverages. Dehydration can be dangerous when severe, so it is important to drink enough water when exercising, in hot temperatures, or when experiencing vomiting or diarrhea. Experts recommend six to eight, eight ounce glasses of water daily. Coconut water may also be a good choice for you, but it is not necessary for optimal health or rehydration, and can be pricey. Michigan State University Extension advises you to try adding slices of fruit, mint or cucumbers if you prefer flavor in your water.

Coconut oil comes from the fruit of mature coconuts. There are claims that virgin coconut oil can improve the outcome of different disease diagnosis, skin conditions and increase metabolism. What research does show about coconut oil is that it is very high in saturated fats, which increase cholesterol. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that virgin coconut oil is high in lauric acid which raises both good and bad cholesterol. The Dietary Guidelines for Healthy Americans 2010 recommends replacing fats that are solid at room temperature with oils, and reducing the amount of overall fat in your diet to 20 to 35 percent of total calories. Since coconut oil is high in saturated fats, it should be used in moderation and should be bought as virgin coconut oil. Virgin coconut oil can be used as a replacement for lard and butter, and adds tropical flavor to vegetables, curry and fish.

For more information on coconut oil, read “What’s the hype about coconut oil?

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