Last Updated on January 27, 2022 by Dr Sharon Baisil MD
The answer is yes, but it depends on the type of Diabetes. If you have Type 1 Diabetes (juvenile-onset), it’s best not to drink coconut water due to its excess potassium content. Coconut water does contain a significant amount of potassium, resulting in hyperkalemia in people with Type 1 Diabetes. For those with Type 2 Diabetes (adult-onset), coconut water is a healthy beverage choice that can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve overall health.
This post will examine the impact of drinking coconut water on diabetes based on recent research findings.
What Is Coconut Water?
Coconut water is a clear liquid whose color lies somewhere between cow’s milk and mineral water. It draws nutrients from the coconut palm and has been used as a drink or raw hydration since time immemorial.
In today’s world, you can find packaged coconut water in most grocery stores and health food stores for a reasonable price. Coconut water contains a very high amount of potassium, which makes it great for maintaining electrolytes and fluid levels in the body. This is one of the reasons that most athletes consume coconut water after they’ve worked out.
8 Health Benefits of Coconut water in type 2 Diabetes
Benefit #1: Helps Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
One of the main benefits of drinking coconut water is that it helps regulate blood sugar levels. A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that drinking coconut water helped reduce blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity in people with Type 2 Diabetes.
Benefit #2: Reduces Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Elevated blood sugar levels are one of the biggest risk factors for cardiovascular disease. This means that people who suffer from Type 2 Diabetes or fasting hyperglycemia (spike in blood glucose levels even without taking medication) have a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes. Luckily, drinking coconut water has been shown to reduce this risk by lowering LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels while increasing HDL cholesterol.
Benefit #3: Helps Prevent Bone Loss
High blood sugar levels can cause several complications that include kidney damage, gangrene, nerve damage, and difficulty digesting certain types of foods. This results in a higher risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, affecting bones. One study published in the journal Osteoporosis International found that drinking coconut water helped improve bone mineral density and reduce the risk of fractures in postmenopausal women with Type 2 Diabetes.
Benefit #4: Reduces Risk of Obesity
Obesity is a major problem in the United States, and it’s especially prevalent in people with Type 2 Diabetes. Fortunately, dietary changes and drinking coconut water can help reduce this risk. For example, a study published in the journal Nutrients found that consuming coconut water reduced abdominal fat buildup and helped prevent obesity among rats fed a high-fat diet.
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Benefit #5: Improves Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a condition that is characterized by a cluster of risk factors, including high blood sugar levels, high blood pressure, and abnormal cholesterol levels. Drinking coconut water has been shown to improve some of the symptoms of metabolic syndrome. A study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that drinking coconut water helped reduce blood pressure and waist circumference and improved lipid profiles in people with metabolic syndrome.
Benefit #6: Provides Essential Nutrients
Diabetes places a major strain on the body’s metabolism, causing it to burn through certain nutrients more quickly than usual. Luckily, coconut water contains many essential nutrients that can help prevent any deficiencies in people with Type 2 Diabetes. These include calcium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin C. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found increased calcium absorption after drinking coconut water compared with milk.
Benefit #7: Coconut water is rich in Antioxidants
Another benefit of drinking coconut water is its high antioxidant content. A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that coconuts contain significant amounts of antioxidants called phenolic compounds, which can help prevent oxidative damage to cells within the body. This helps reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.
Benefit #8: Delicious and refreshing
Last but not least, one of the best things about drinking coconut water is that it’s delicious and refreshing. It’s a great way to hydrate after a workout or quench your thirst on a hot day.
As you can see, there are many benefits to drinking coconut water. If you have Type 2 Diabetes, it’s a great idea to add this healthy drink to your diet. Not only will it help regulate blood sugar levels, but it may also reduce your risk of developing other chronic diseases. So give coconut water a try and see how you feel!
How much coconut water can a diabetic drink?
According to numerous distinct studies, it has been found that individuals with Diabetes can have a medium glass of around 220 ml of coconut water per day.
It is a safe amount that does not affect the body’s blood glucose levels. Instead, it is a great portion to enrich the body with the good nutrients that coconut water offers.
Also, keep in mind that the coconut water we are talking about is the natural coconut water obtained directly from the fruit. The natural juice is a lot healthier and not altered or refined.
Packaged and store-bought coconut water has more sugar and other artificial flavors added to it that increase the overall percent of carbohydrates and calories to the drink.
Moreover, the coconut water available in stores as packaged drinks often contains preservatives, which increase the added harmful chemicals in the drink. This makes it even riskier for the body.
You can resort to drinking coconut water first thing in the morning or after your daily exercise session to reload you with hydration as well as energy.
It is best effective when consumed on an empty stomach first thing every morning. The plenty of electrolytes available in coconut water can strengthen the body and serve as energy refreshment.
Is coconut high in sugar?
Coconut in its fresh form is a perfect fruit. Moreover, as we already discussed, its water obtained directly from the fruit is also low in sugar and can be consumed even in Diabetes.
But on the other hand, dried, powdered, or even sweetened varieties of coconuts are available in the markets, high in sugar and unhealthy for diabetics.
But when including the coconut in the diabetic meal routines, it is better to keep away from the meat of the coconut, and it may cause high levels of sugar in some diabetic patients.
A regular one-cup amount of shredded coconut (100 g) has around 80 grams of carbohydrates. This number keeps varying depending on the form of the coconut and its ripeness.
What is the Glycemic Index of Coconut Water?
The glycemic index of coconut water is 42, which brings it in the low GI food category and makes it safe for diabetics. Coconut water has a Glycemic Load of 3.
From the table below, you will get better assurance about its glycemic value.
Sl. No. Glycemic Index categories Glycemic Index ranges
1. Low Glycemic Index (safe for diabetics) 0 to 55
2. Medium Glycemic Index (safe when taken in moderate quantities) 55 to 69
3. High Glycemic Index (unsafe for diabetics) From 70 and above
Is it safe to drink coconut water every day?
It is usually safe to include coconut water in your daily diabetic schedule. But at the same time, it is significant to keep an eye on how it affects your body.
Makes sure you measure and check your blood glucose responses to coconut water and then only carry on with whether to include this drink in your meals daily or not.
You can also consult your doctors for better advice and an expert solution that matches your diet and health needs.
On top of that, if you, at any time, experience any discomforts or allergic reactions to drinking coconut water, it is best to stop immediately.
On the other hand, everyday consumption of coconut water is great for the body as it enriches and energizes. Coconut water also adds proper moisture to the body.
Coconut water is a great choice to use as a replacement for otherwise sugary drinks and beverages. Ensure that you include fresh and natural coconut water to gain the best results.
What are the disadvantages of drinking too much coconut water?
Along with all the health advantages, coconut water can have slight adverse effects such as:
- Consuming more than two glasses of coconut water can increase potassium levels in your blood, which may cause irregular heartbeat.
- People with kidney problems cannot have too much of this drink.
- Those who have recently undergone surgery are also advised against it, as it can hamper their already fragile blood pressure levels.
- After drinking coconut water, people who are sensitive to coconut pollen may develop skin allergies and responses.
Frequently Asked Questions about drinking Coconut Water by people with Diabetes
Is coconut water good for weight loss?
Answer: Coconut water can help control your weight by reducing your daily calorie intake, and it has a very low-calorie content of 48 per cup.
Can I drink coconut water if I have high blood pressure?
Answer: You should consult your doctor before drinking coconut water if you suffer from high blood pressure. Coconut water contains potassium which can alter blood pressure levels in some people.
Can I drink coconut water if I am pregnant?
Answer: It is safe to drink coconut water during pregnancy. However, pregnant women with heart diseases are asked to consult their doctors.
Is coconut water a good source of electrolytes?
Answer: Yes, coconut water is an excellent source of electrolytes and natural sugar, and it helps restore the body’s fluid balance and prevent dehydration.
Can I eat fresh coconut, or should I go for packaged drinking coconut water?
Answer: You can either consume fresh coconuts or packaged coconut water. However, it is important to read the label carefully to check for added sugars or sweeteners in packaged coconut water. Fresh coconuts are a better choice as they are less processed and contain more nutrients.