Benefits Of Coconut Water, What To Look For + 3 Recipes To Try
What helps you drink enough water? For some people, it's a particular water bottle that keeps their H2O ice cold, others absolutely need a straw to consider drinking enough liquids, and some have to add a hint of flavor to increase motivation.
But what drinks, beyond plain old water, provide hydration benefits? According to a holistic health coach, coconut water may just be the most underrated hydrator out there—and you don't have to drink it alone to reap the benefits. To come, health perks of this beverage and a few recipes to keep on hand.
Benefits of coconut water
Holistic health coach Muneeza Ahmed describes coconut water as a "hydration superstar," for far more reasons than quenching your thirst. Here, some benefits to note:
- It's packed with electrolytes: One reason coconut water acts as a super hydrator is due to the electrolyte content. "Electrolytes play a vital role in supporting our liver function, and a healthy liver means vibrant, glowing skin," Ahmed says. It's particularly rich in potassium, with one cup of coconut water containing 600 milligrams of potassium1, compared to the notorious potassium-rich food banana, with one racking up 422 milligrams2.
- It's fairly affordable: Although some coconut water brands increase the price for additional ingredients, pure coconut water can be fairly affordable when compared to other hydrating beverages.
- It may encourage healthy skin aging: Coconut water is also rich in antioxidants. According to a 2015 preclinical study, coconut water helped fight off free radicals that cause accelerated skin aging in rats. More research is needed to confirm the finding in humans; nevertheless, consuming antioxidants is largely beneficial for your overall health.
- It's versatile: Some people enjoy coconut water on its own but not everyone. Luckily, it can be used as a base in countless recipes to minimize the flavor while still reaping the benefits.
What kind of coconut water should I buy?
Like any item out there, you should be mindful when shopping for your coconut water at the market.
According to Ahmed, the pink color you see in many coconut water beverages may symbolize sugar oxidation. When coconut water is exposed to air, warm temperatures, or other ingredients, or it's been on the shelf for a while, it may turn pink.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but if you're searching for the freshest and purest coconut water available, you may consider looking for a clear or lighter pink option compared to super-pigmented drinks.
Ahmed also recommends avoiding added flavors or preservatives like ascorbic acid (although many beverage companies need to use natural preservatives to maintain freshness).
Alas, to find the freshest and purest coconut water out there, look for "100% pure coconut water" on the label as the only ingredient, Ahmed says. One A+ coconut water she always goes for: Ibera Foods Coconut Water.
If you're up for a DIY project, then crack open a coconut and extract the water yourself. Be sure to use the pulp in other cooking endeavors to minimize food waste if you can.
Three must-try coconut water recipes
Below, three recipes to try out, from Ahmed:
Homemade Ginger Ale
- 1 lb fresh ginger root
- 1½ liters coconut water
- 1 cup sparkling water
- 1 lemon or lime
- 2 to 4 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
- Bring coconut water to high heat in a small stovetop pot.
- Peel and finely grate fresh ginger. Add to hot coconut water. Let boil for 5 minutes, then bring to a simmer for 20 minutes.
- Strain into a Mason jar using a fine-mesh strainer.
- Add sweetener to Mason jar while still hot; mix.
- Let cool, then store in the fridge.
- Once ginger liquid is chilled, shake jar then pour 4 oz into a glass.
- Squeeze ½ a lemon or lime into glass and add sparkling water.
Spicy Mock-scow Mule
- ½ oz jalapeño
- ½ oz coconut sugar syrup
- 4 oz homemade ginger ale (see recipe above)
- lime wedge for garnish
- Add a teaspoon of chopped jalapeño and a teaspoon of coconut sugar to a saucepan.
- Add enough water to cover. Let simmer over gentle heat for 10 minutes.
- Leave to cool. Strain and pour into heatproof jar.
- Fill a glass mug or similarly sized glass with ice. Pour in the syrup and lime juice. Fill the glass with ginger ale and gently swirl it with a spoon once to mix.
- Garnish with a lime wedge and a ginger slice.
DIY Coconut Water Face Mask
- 1 tbsp coconut water
- 6 slices cucumber
- 2 tbsp aloe vera gel (scooped from the leaf)
- ½ tsp spirulina
- Blend the aloe, spirulina and coconut water together until you get a thickish paste.
- Put all over your face. Cover eyes and cheeks with cucumber slices.
- Wait 20 minutes, rinse and pat dry.
Is coconut water acne-safe?
Coconut water is incredibly hydrating and has high electrolyte and antioxidant content, making it an ultra-healthy beverage. Look for 100% pure coconut water, or crack open your own coconut to extract the fresh liquid. Use this as a hydrating drink alone, mix it with other ingredients, or use it in a face mask. If the flavor of coconut just isn't your thing, opt for electrolyte powder supplements—here are some of our favorites.
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty & Health Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including skin care, women’s health, mental health, sustainability, social media trends, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends and innovations, women’s health research, brain health news, and plenty more.