Coconuts grow in abundance in tropical countries, and coconut water has been consumed for centuries as they are known to have medicinal properties. Coconut water is often recommended to both the sick and the able; the drink has a natural, soothing effect. It is beneficial for pregnant women as well – it helps regulate the digestive tract, relieves morning sickness, constipation, and more. Health-conscious individuals also prefer coconut water as it does not contain cholesterol.
Pregnancy warrants a switch to a healthy diet, which also means leaving behind artificially packed drinks that have high sugar content. Coconut water can be a great alternative drink that is both nutritious and flavourful.
Is It Safe to Have Coconut Water During Pregnancy?
Exhaustion during pregnancy is a common problem, and it drains out the woman’s energy levels over time. In order to overcome the feeling of tiredness and exhaustion, it is recommended that you have a glass of coconut water every day as it is full of essential minerals that can be beneficial to pregnant women.
The best time to drink coconut water during pregnancy is in the morning as the nutrients and electrolytes it contains are easily absorbed on an empty stomach. It is rich in potassium, sodium, dietary fibre, moderate sugar, vitamins and protein. It has been found to assist in countering dehydration due to morning sickness during the initial period of pregnancy. Due to its high fibre content, a glass of coconut water in the mornings can help ease constipation. During the latter half of the pregnancy, it can also be of assistance in tackling blood pressure as it is rich in potassium. However, since the drink is high in calories, women who have a tendency to add weight should be cautious. As it is also considered to be a diuretic, pregnant women might need to make more frequent visits to the restroom. Women who are on medication for blood pressure should be careful while consuming coconut water as the potassium levels in the drink can decrease blood pressure.
Nutritional Value of Coconut Water
Since time immemorial, positive correlations have been drawn between coconut water and health. It is not only a balanced nutritive drink but is also very refreshing. Working women who have little time to pay attention to their needs during pregnancy can compensate by drinking a glass of fresh coconut water every day, as the nutritional value of coconut eliminates tiredness and lethargy.
|Nutritional Value of Coconut Water (per ounce)|
It is a great natural drink that is rich in vitamins, electrolytes, and minerals. Thirst can be effectively alleviated by some soothing coconut water. Researchers have established that coconut water is an effective re-hydration aid. This, however, does not imply that other healthy foods should be restricted. A balance between nutrients and nourishment should always be kept in mind.
Health Benefits of Coconut Water for Pregnant Women
Coconut water is a cholesterol-free drink and can be had anytime. The health benefits of coconut water for pregnant women are immense.
- It increases the expectant mother’s immunity levels and protects her and the baby as it is rich in vital vitamins and antioxidants.
- It helps relieve constipation due to its high fibre content.
- As it is a natural diuretic, it balances the uric acid levels in the body, flushes out toxins and clears out the urinary tract.
- The presence of magnesium, potassium and other minerals helps in the increased output of urine which is vital during pregnancy. This reduces the risk of kidney stone formation.
- It also provides the necessary electrolytes to prevent dehydration that is caused due to diarrhoea and vomiting, the two symptoms of morning sickness.
- The presence of potassium and phosphorous enhances energy levels.
- It is low in cholesterol. It also helps in eradicating the bad cholesterol from the body by preventing the accumulation of fat in the body. Hence, it is an ideal replacement for sugary drinks.
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause heartburn, which can be regulated with coconut water.
- The lauric acid content in coconut water helps in the production of anti-virus that kills harmful bacteria.
- The low sugar content in coconut water lowers the risk of gestational diabetes.
- Coconut water hydrates the body, which increases the elasticity of the skin and thus reduces stretch marks that are caused during pregnancy.
To enjoy the benefits of this drink, it should be consumed immediately after it is cut. A doctor’s advice is always encouraged before adding coconut water to the diet.
Are There Any Side-Effects of Drinking Coconut Water During Pregnancy?
Generally, coconut water does not harm the majority of pregnant women. However, it should be taken in moderate doses as coconut water also contains sodium, which should be avoided if a pregnant woman is suffering from high blood pressure and is on medication for it.
Coconut water lowers blood pressure, so it is recommended that you discuss with your doctor before consuming it if you have blood pressure issues. As it also may interfere with blood pressure during and after surgery, it is best to avoid the consumption of coconut water at least two weeks before delivery.
Precautions to Take While Drinking Coconut Water
Women are encouraged to consume tender coconut water when the pregnancy approaches the third trimester as the body requires essential nutrients during this period. Coconuts are best consumed immediately after they are cut as they are ripe with nutrients then. However, it should be borne in mind that a ripe coconut can be harmful as it leads to constipation and can also increase a person’s body fat.
It is best to restrict the intake of coconut water to one glass a day in order to prevent an overdose of sodium or potassium. As coconut water has a diuretic effect on the body, it may cause uneasiness in pregnant women as the urge to relieve themselves will increase. Some doctors may recommend that you stop drinking coconut water two weeks before surgery. This is because it may interfere with blood pressure control before and after surgery.
Myths About Consuming Coconut Water During Pregnancy
Despite the fact that health-conscious people have endorsed the advantages of coconut water, there are a few myths about consuming coconut water during pregnancy that you should know.
- Coconut water is loaded with nutrients which fulfil the complete dietary requirements of a pregnant woman: This myth does not hold good, as a pregnant woman needs to be nourished well with fruits, vegetables and other food groups for a healthy delivery.
- The baby will grow thicker hair if a pregnant woman consumes coconut water every day: This statement has no scientific backing.
- Coconut water causes acidity in pregnant women: It has been proven that a pregnant woman’s growing belly is the main cause for acidity, which also potentially interferes with the digestion of food. The best remedy for this is to exercise to help digestion. It has to be borne in mind that every activity during pregnancy should be moderate, and drinking coconut water is one such activity.
- Coconut water makes the baby fairer: This myth is baseless as the baby’s colour is only based on genetics and is not altered in any way by the consumption of any external substance.
- Coconut water is the best source of hydration for pregnant women: Although coconut water combats dehydration, it is always recommended that you supplement it with at least eight glasses of water on an everyday basis.
How Much Coconut Water Should You Drink While Pregnant?
The quantity of coconut water to be consumed during pregnancy is debatable. The ideal consumption quantity should be limited to one glass per day. This quantity is ideal for a pregnant woman and can provide essential daily nutrients. It is best to avoid coconut water if you dislike the taste to prevent vomiting or any uneasy feeling.
Why Does the Taste of Coconut Water Differ?
The taste of coconut water often differs in each fruit; the taste may also differ from region to region. Organically grown ones also tend to taste different compared to ones grown using fertilisers.
There are different varieties of coconut that are widely known – the tall variety, the dwarf variety, and the hybrid variety. The taste of coconut water in the tall variety is sweeter than the other varieties. The hybrid varieties may not have the same sweet taste. The taste of the dwarf variety is also sweet, but it lacks the properties of the tall variety. The taste may also differ if the coconut water has not been consumed immediately, as it gets fermented due to exposure to the sun.
How Do I Choose the Right Coconut?
In order to enjoy coconut water, it is best to choose the green variety – it contains water that is sweet and laden with quality nutrients that are essential for the pregnant woman’s health and well-being. In order to get your money’s worth, shake the coconut before buying it to understand how much water it contains. While choosing the coconut, make sure it is green, has no brown rims, and is not damaged.
If the coconut is cut, stored and then offered, it is likely that it has more pulp and less water. The pulp may not be suitable for pregnant women due to the high content of potassium and sodium. It has been observed that coconuts from a tree that has aged between 5 and 7 months are tasty and full of nutrients.
The quality of coconuts also depends on the distance of the trees from the seashore and the salinity of the soil. Weather conditions also determine the quantity of coconut water. It is best to consume the whole coconut immediately after breaking it, else it will ferment and have a sour taste along with a pungent smell.
With its subtle flavour, soothing effect and abundance of nutrients, coconut water is a great choice of drink for a pregnant woman. Like any other food or drink however, it should be consumed in moderation so you can avail the benefits without the fear of any serious side-effects on you or your baby.
Resources and References: Parents