Is coconut water good for you? The nutrition expert answers – Italian cuisine reinvented by Gordon Ramsay

La Cucina Italiana


Fresh, fragrant, sweet, refreshing and light: thecoconut water it would seem to be the ideal drink for the summer. Is it also good how you talk about it on social media? We asked the nutritional biologist Concetta Montagnese, researcher at the CNR Institute of Food Sciences. «Coconut water is that clear liquid contained in coconuts, fruits of the Cocos nucifera plant, in an early stage of maturation (no later than seven months), when it has not yet been absorbed by the pulp and when the nut is still green. The fruit – an oval drupe or a fleshy fruit, containing a single seed – must not be damaged: if it has these characteristics, it can contain between 200 and 1000 ml of liquid.”

What are the benefits of coconut water

The expert explains to us that coconut water is made up of 95% from water. «There are approximately 100 ml 2.5 grams of sugar: a modest amount. Coconut water is low in protein and fatwhich are almost absent, but it has a high content of potassium, sodium and magnesium and B vitamins and vitamin C. It contains no cholesterol, fiber, lactose or gluten. It is also suitable for celiacs and those intolerant to lactose.” Naturally, the benefits described are typical of the natural drink, that is, extracted directly from the walnut and bottled, without added sugars and artificial substances.

Coconut water is very thirst-quenching and, thanks to its rich potassium content, it is also a good rehydrator. In fact, it is used a lot by athletes: the low sugar content and the high quantity of potassium make it an ideal supplement after prolonged physical exercise. «There is a study conducted on a group of cyclists who used this drink during sports performances, explains Montagnese. «Even compared to other sports supplements, coconut water – to which sodium and carbohydrates had been added – gave very positive results.

Regarding health effects, studies have been conducted on rats which seem to demonstrate a beneficial effect on reduction of cardiovascular riskon the reduction of bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels and anti-inflammatory effects, “but targeted studies are needed to confirm these properties in humans too”.

Preliminary results of a study have shown that coconut water had anti-inflammatory effects in patients with ulcerative colitis (but always as an adjunct to therapy): «One hypothesis is that it has an important activity on the intestinal microbiotapromoting the growth of good bacteria”, says the nutritional biologist, who suggests trying adding it to smoothies or shakes, or to prepare porridge.

Does coconut water make you lose weight?

Many of the virtues attributed to it, however – from the ability to make people lose weight to that of increasing the sense of satiety – have not been scientifically proven.

What are the contraindications of coconut water?

Are there any contraindications? «Due to the nutrients it contains, intake should be avoided in cases of kidney failureand the Italian Kidney Foundation suggests its cautious use even in healthy subjects because it increases urinary potassium”, says Montagnese, “The key word is always the moderation: containing so many minerals, even coconut water could alter the balance of the body.”

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