The coconut is of the palm family, yielding a continuous harvest all year long. Every part of the coconut tree is of use and gives man all that is necessary to sustain life. Perhaps that is why it is called ‘Kalpavriksha’ in coastal areas, which figuratively means a source of bounty. It is truly one of nature’s wonders, as it is also filled with amazing medicinal properties. By the time the coconut is fully mature, it goes through three different stages of development. The tender coconut has 90 to 95 per cent water. The liquid in the coconut at this stage, is at its purest form and very healthy. The partially mature coconut has in addition to the water, a soft and tasty pulp. This coconut has less water than the tender ones, but is considered very good as it has more nutrients in it. It also has more carbs, minerals, proteins and vitamins than the other two. When the coconut becomes fully mature it becomes hard to digest and sometimes leads to acidity and higher levels of cholesterol depending on the amount of intake.
The Tender coconut water (TCW) is considered the purest liquid after water and is full of electrolytes, calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium. More and more doctors now recommend TCW to their patients. It is considered by experts as a ‘natural isotonic beverage with the same level of electrolytic balance as we have in our blood.’ It is said to be more beneficial than milk or orange juice, as it does not possess the fat present in milk or the calories in orange juice. Being a natural drink, it has no preservatives and hence very good for babies.
Health benefits of Tender coconut
- Clinical evidence suggests that high intake of potassium lowers blood pressure which is an important risk factor for coronary heart disease. TCW has a high content of potassium and there is some evidence to show that TCW may reduce hypertension. Animal studies show that consuming TCW improves good cholesterol, reduces bad cholesterol and reduces triglycerides.
- TCW taken on an empty stomach, has the health benefit of cooling the system and relieving acidity. It flushes out hyperacidic toxins.
- Doctors recommend TCW to patients with stones in their kidney, because of the high amount of potassium present in the water. Potassium assists in alkalizing urine, which might help prevent digestive wastes in the blood from solidifying and attaching to the kidney walls, offering possible protection against future stone formation.
- It improves digestion and kills intestinal worms. It also relieves the intestines of harmful toxins.
- TCW is considered to be the richest natural dietary source of cytokinnis. Research suggests the possibility that this may produce an anti-aging effect on the body reducing risk of developing degenerative and age related diseases.
- Since it is isotonic in nature, it is used for rehydrating the body. It helps to boost blood circulation and maintains the PH of body fluids.
- It is said to be a very good substitute for saline glucose. It is used to reduce vomiting in patients suffering from typhoid and malaria.
- It is a natural energy drink and should be part of any healthy diet. It is used by sportsmen as a sports drink while exercising. It is loaded with all the natural fluids required for the body.
- Lauric acid is prevalent in coconut and it is an anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-infection acid. Babies make monolaurin from the lauric acid in their mother’s breast milk, so coconut water is recommended for nursing mothers.
Home remedies with coconut
- Coconut milk, mixed with a tablespoon of poppy seeds, milk and a tbsp of pure honey, taken every night before going to bed, is an effective remedy for dry cough due to throat irritation.
- The oil extracted from ripe coconut is an effective dressing for burns and scalds. It is a household remedy for itching and other skin diseases.
- A tbsp of freshly ground coconut should be taken at breakfast, followed by a dose of castor oil after 3 hours to get rid of intestinal worms. This process is repeated till the cure is complete. (from Foods that heal by H. K. Bakhru)
- Tender coconut water should be drunk 2-3 times a day in case of a burning sensation or pain while passing urine.
- A herbal drink made with a tsp of finely ground cumin seeds, two tbsps of milk, two tbsps of coconut water, and a tsp of sandalwood paste, mixed together with water to make a cup of drink, taken twice a day for a week to ten days has stress relieving and sedative properties. (From ‘Home Doctor’ by Dr. P. S. Phadke)
- TCW is very useful home remedy for treating cholera. 8-12 ounces of this water mixed with a tsp full of fresh lime juice should be orally administered to the patient.
- The tender kernel of coconut is very beneficial home remedy for digestive disorders.
- A paste of crushed middle aged coconut applied on the hands and feet helps to free it from a burning sensation.
- A soothing facial pack can be made by mixing coconut oil with oatmeal powder and a little bit of lavender flower powder .
Another draw to coconut water is its low calorie content. It has a caloric value of 17.4 per 100g.
Coconut water is also naturally low in sugar compared to most non-diet beverages on the market (4.4%).
Coconut water can easily be included into your diet plan as it is virtually fat free. (0.01%).
Coconut is not only delicious and versatile, but also an excellent home remdy that heals the digestive system and promotes better metabolism. When it is combined with spices like cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, cumin and lemon it makes a very refreshing and healthy drink. It is the world’s safest natural soft drink and a great thirst quencher. The water of a single coconut contains enough Vitamin C to meet daily requirements of the body.
TCW’s high potassium concentration poses a potential hazard in patients with hyperkalaemia and those with poor kidney function. Consult your health practitioner for any medical problems before using TCW.