Coconut is quite popular in tropical regions of the world. Each part of the coconut tree is valuable in at least one way. Such is its utility.
Coconut water is rich in sugar and electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. It also provides instant hydration. For this very reason, it is known as the ‘natural beverage’ for sportsmen and athletes.
Although beneficial to healthy individuals and sportspersons alike, it is still debatable whether coconut water is safe for people with diabetes.
In this article, let us discuss whether a person with diabetes can drink coconut water and the benefits of coconut water for diabetes.
Can Diabetics Drink Coconut Water?
The glycemic load of unsweetened coconut water is 3, and the coconut glycemic index is 54. These numbers make coconut water a food item with a low glycemic load and a medium glycemic index.
The question – ‘can diabetics drink coconut water‘ – remains. The clear answer to this is ‘yes’; people with diabetes can drink coconut water, but they should limit their daily intake of coconut water to 1-2 cups. They must also make sure that they consume only unsweetened coconut water and not sugar-sweetened coconut water.
Benefits of Coconut Water for Diabetes
Coconut water can prove to be a beneficial beverage for people having diabetes. A balanced intake of unsweetened coconut water can help regulate blood sugar levels. It can also help reduce the side effects of diabetes.
- Maintaining the balance of Electrolytes:
Besides being a refreshing beverage, coconut water is also a rich source of electrolytes, amino acids, multi nutrients, vitamins, and other minerals. Coconut water helps in maintaining the balance of electrolytes which aids in maintaining the healthy functioning of the renal system.
- Assistance in Weight Loss:
Coconut water boosts digestion and metabolism. It also helps to control untimely hunger pangs. Therefore, assisting in weight loss.
- Improves Blood Circulation:
Magnesium, Potassium, and Sodium are present in vast quantities in coconut water. All these minerals are said to reduce plaque build-up in the body and improve blood circulation in the body.
- Rich Source of Antioxidants:
Antioxidants are necessary for the body to reduce oxidative stress. The adverse effect of oxidation in a diabetic person is the early aging of body organs, muscles, and tissues. Due to the antioxidants present in coconut water, the effects of oxidation get curbed to a great extent.
- Promotes Cardiovascular Health:
People with diabetes are at a greater risk of cardiovascular diseases because high blood sugar levels can cause damage to blood vessels carrying blood to and from the heart. Coconut water improves the production of nitric oxide in the body. This nitric oxide helps in improving blood circulation.
Some FAQs about Coconut Water for Diabetics
Some of the most frequently asked questions about coconut water for diabetics are as follows:
Does coconut water spike blood sugar?
Like most food items, coconut water can cause a spike in blood sugar levels. However, the key to maintaining blood sugar levels is a regulated intake of coconut water.
When taken in regulated quantity, coconut water can have a lot of benefits for people having diabetes.
Can diabetic patients drink tender coconut water?
Yes, diabetes patients can drink one glass of coconut water daily. Coconut water contains fructose; this fructose can cause a spike in blood sugar levels.
Hence, doctors advise people with diabetes to drink only one glass of tender coconut water every day on an empty stomach.
Coconut sugar differs from regular sugar in the context of carbohydrate content. Regular sugar has a high carbohydrate content as compared to coconut sugar.
Food items with high content of carbohydrates break down into sugar on digestion, causing a spike in blood sugar levels. The higher the carbohydrate content, the greater the chance of blood sugar level spike.
To limit the intake of processed carbs, people with gestational diabetes can include coconut sugar in their diets, replacing regular sugar.
Can I drink coconut water in Type 2 diabetes?
Yes, a person with Type 2 diabetes can drink coconut water. Two things they need to keep in mind are that the coconut water should be unsweetened, and they can drink only one and a maximum of two cups of unsweetened coconut water daily.
Coconut water has plenty of benefits, in general.
A person with diabetes can drink one to two cups of unsweetened coconut water a day. Drinking coconut water in regulated quantities can aid in controlling blood sugar levels.
Coconut glycemic index is 54, and its glycemic load is 3. Both are on the lower side, which means intake of coconut water does not cause a mammoth change in blood sugar levels.
The benefits of coconut water for diabetes are numerous. They are maintaining the balance of electrolytes, assisting in weight loss, and improving blood circulation, to name a few.