Coconut water is known as the “fluid of life” and as science confirms the incredible health virtues that traditional tropical cultures have known all along, it has become a popular drink outside of the tropics as well.

How did coconut water get the attention of scientists? It saved lives during WWII! Coconut water has a similar composition to human plasma and was given to injured soldiers in IV’s when the intravenous solutions ran out.  Because of it’s sterility and composition, coconut water can safely be injected directly into the bloodstream without fear of damaging blood cells or inciting an allergic reaction. Since you probably don’t need it in an IV, here are 8 reasons to drink coconut water:

It is Nutritious and Delicious! – Coconut water has a sweet taste and leaves you feeling hydrated.  It is low in calories and sugar, naturally fat and cholesterol free and has more potassium than four bananas. It contains important amino acids, enzymes and minerals like calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, and zinc. Its water is also a very good source of B-complex vitamins, which are the important vitamins that help our body replenish itself.

Hydrating, Natural Sport Drink…. and  Hangover Cure! – Coconut water has electrolytes and natural, easily digestible sugars that make it an ideal sport drink. A study recently published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise shows that coconut water replenishes body fluids as well as a sports drink and better than water. It has fewer calories, less sodium and more potassium than most sport drinks. Drink it after (or during!) a night of partying, as it quickly restores the electrolytes lost from alcohol consumption.

Anti-Aging & Great for Skin – Coconut water is a natural source of cytokinins, which are a plant hormone that have an anti-aging affect on human cells and tissues. They also strengthen and hydrate connective tissues and reduce the risk of age related diseases. You can even dab some coconut water directly on your skin to hydrate it, balance its pH levels, and reduce acne, cellulite, stretch marks, wrinkles, age spots and even treat eczema!

Regulates Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar and Cholesterol – Coconut water can lower elevated blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, and improve blood circulation. It can help increase HDL (good) cholesterol and it lowers blood sugar. A study published in the 2008 Journal of Food Chemistry and Toxicology found that coconut water was as effective in lowering cholesterol as popular cholesterol-lowering drugs in rats fed a fat-cholesterol enriched diet. In regards to blood pressure, a 2005 study showed that 71% of participants who consumed coconut water for two weeks had a 24 point drop in systolic pressure and a 15 point drop in diastolic pressure.

Aids Digestion & Improves Metabolism – The bioactive enzymes in coconut water improve digestion. Coconut water has been shown to soothe intestinal pain and spasms, as well as aid in the absorption of food. Finally, it helps promote healthy thyroid function, which may aid in weight loss.

Protects us from Infection – Coconut water has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. It is helpful in eradicating intestinal worms and candida and it boosts the immune system when fighting infection. Next time you have a cold, stay hydrated with coconut water.

It is Alkalizing – Coconut water is alkalizing when so many other foods Americans consume contribute to an acidic environment in our bodies. Coffee, sugar, and processed foods are all acidic, and when our internal environment is acidic, diseases thrive. On the other hand, when our pH is balanced, our bodies are better able to resist disease.

Urinary and Kidney Health – Coconut water is a natural diuretic and has been used in the tropics to prevent and treat bladder infections and kidney stones. Research from the Philippines found drinking coconut water up to three times a week may reduce stone size and the need for surgery.

Choosing your Coconut Water – Coconut water is available in most grocery stores. Drinking it raw — straight from the coconut — is best, so you are very lucky if it grows in your climate. If not, look for “Thai young coconuts” at Whole Foods or an Asian market, which you can cut open and drink from. Un pasteurized coconuts have important enzymes that help detoxify and repair the body. Otherwise, you can buy pasteurized coconut water in cartons — just make sure to check the ingredients and buy the natural, unflavored varieties, preferably not from concentrate.

Written By, AHWD Wellness Expert – Marysia Miernowska