Coconut water is an energizing, sweet, and clear isotonic drink which helps your body in replenishing the lost fluids. Also known as Nariyal Pani and Elaneer in India, it is known for its versatility and innumerable nutritional benefits. This begs the question if it is safe during pregnancy? MomJunction tells you if it is.
Is It Safe To Consume Coconut Water During Pregnancy?
Yes, it is safe to drink coconut water, but in moderation, as it contains natural vitamins and minerals. Having coconut water in the first trimester helps curb dehydration resulting due to morning sickness (1). It is also good for heartburn and constipation, the common symptoms of pregnancy.
[ Read: 7 Health Drinks For Pregnant Women ]
You can drink coconut water anytime, but the best time is early in the morning. It is healthier then as the electrolytes and nutrients can be easily absorbed when your stomach is empty.
The nutritional benefits present in one cup of coconut water include:
- Calories – 46
- Sodium – 252mg
- Potassium – 600mg
- Carbohydrates – 8.9grams
- Dietary fiber – 2.6grams
- Sugars – 6.26grams
- Calcium – 6%
12 Health Benefits Of Coconut Water During Pregnancy:
You can avail of its benefits only when you consume the water fresh as it begins fermenting when left open and exposed to air.
1. Natural Diuretic:
During pregnancy, the uric acid levels should be normal in your body system. Coconut water is a diuretic and increases the urge to urinate because of the presence of potassium, magnesium, and mineral. They help in flushing away the toxins and clearing the urinary tract. It, therefore, improves kidney functioning and prevents kidney stones and infections. It also prevents urinary tract infections, therefore lowering the chances of preterm labor.
[ Read: Lemon Water During Pregnancy ]
2. Offers Essential Electrolytes:
The need for electrolytes increases during pregnancy because conditions like morning sickness, nausea, and diarrhea dehydrate the body. Coconut water supplies all the five essential electrolytes: minerals, sodium, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus, which soothe the body and provide energy (2). These electrolytes transmit electrical charges in your body and help in muscle functioning. They also help maintain your body pH levels and control blood pressure levels. It is known to possess cooling properties, which ward off conditions like bilious fever and vomiting.
3. Alleviates Heartburn And Constipation:
Hormonal changes during pregnancy lead to several issues such as heartburn, constipation, and indigestion. The rich dietary fiber content in coconut water strengthens the digestive system, enhances digestion, regulates pH levels, and prevents constipation. Ayurveda considers tender coconut water to be an excellent laxative. It improves metabolism and detoxifies your body. Coconut water is a natural acid neutralizer, and therefore prevents heartburn.
[ Read: Heartburn During Pregnancy ]
4. Treats Infections:
Coconut water has rich vitamins, essential minerals, and antioxidants, which boost your immune levels, providing resistance from infections. It contains lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid responsible for the production of a powerful antivirus monolaurin, Michelle-Lee Young writes in the book ‘Two Trees and Twelve Fruits That Will Change Your Life Forever’. Lauric is a disease-fighting acid that kills harmful bacteria and infections like flu, HIV, and retains the good bacteria (3).
[ Read: Watermelon During Pregnancy ]
5. Improves Heart Health:
Low electrolytes level spikes the blood pressure. Drinking coconut water improves the levels of potassium, magnesium, and lauric acid, which help in regulating blood pressure. It improves good cholesterol and combats bad cholesterol. The vitamins, essential proteins, and electrolytes in coconut water control sugar levels, blood pressure levels, and improve circulation. A glass of coconut water every day is particularly useful in the final trimester when there is brewing tension of labor that can increase your blood pressure.
6. Maintains A Healthy Weight:
Coconut water is fat-free and low in calories. As pregnancy adds extra weight to your body, coconut water prevents fat accumulation by eliminating bad cholesterol. It is an excellent replacement for sugar drinks and helps both the mother and growing fetus in being healthy and fit.
7. Natural Drink:
Coconut water is a tasty natural drink. It has no artificial flavors or harmful components. It is safe for you and your growing fetus since neither of its components affects your health.
8. Energizes After Workout:
Coconut water is a natural isotonic drink, which helps you gain energy when you are suffering from dehydration, fatigue and exhaustion. It is a great revitalizer. If you exercise regularly to keep yourself fit and strengthen your pelvic muscles, you can opt for coconut water as an energy drink (4). Hydration also improves the elasticity of skin, therefore limiting the stretch marks that develop during pregnancy.
[ Read: Dehydration During Pregnancy ]
9. Low Sugar Content:
Excessive intake of sugar can lead to an increase in overall blood sugar levels. Coconut water has lesser sugar than other energy and sports drinks. It will not add to any pregnancy weight, and a diet low in simple sugars will lower the risk of getting gestational diabetes.
10. Accelerates Growth Of The Fetus:
Coconut water offers all nutrients to the mother, essential for maintaining and improving her health. It, therefore, enhances the health, growth, and proper nourishment of the unborn baby.
11. Improves Amniotic Fluid Levels:
Drinking coconut water improves the health and overall environment of your growing fetus. Coconut water taken especially in the third-trimester boosts the amniotic fluid levels and enhances blood volume and circulation (5).
[ Read: How Much Water To Drink During Pregnancy ]
Are There Any Side Effects Of Coconut Water During Pregnancy?
There is no such evidence that proves coconut water has adverse effects on pregnancy. Like any other fruit or vegetable juice, it also seems to be safe. But there are two things you may keep in mind:
- Coconut milk contains sodium, which may not be the right choice for pregnant women suffering from pre-eclampsia.
- Ripe coconut water may cause constipation.
How Much Coconut Water Can A Pregnant Woman Have?
- Moderation is always the key when it comes to taking healthy diet. You can drink up to one glass of coconut water a day.
- Consume the water soon after opening, as a fresh one will contain rich nutrients. Use a clean straw or pour into a glass and drink.
- It is always good to prefer natural coconut water than canned or bottled ones.
- Do not consume coconut water if you react to it or dislike its taste.
How To Select The Right Coconut?
To enjoy the various benefits of coconut water, you should know to select them properly. These tips may help you to buy fresh and tender coconut.
A fresh coconut will be light and sweet and will not contain coconut meat, the white, fleshy, tender substance. A ripe or stale one will taste sour.
Selection: Pick medium sized, clean, and green colored nuts as they contain large amounts of water. Do not choose coconuts that have hard brown shells and gray patches as they indicate mature nuts.
Water: Shake the coconut vigorously near to your ear to check if it has water. Select the ones which produce good sloshing sound. A fresh coconut will contain nearly a cup of water.
If you want to store coconuts at home, keep them in a cool area.
[ Read: Grapefruit During Pregnancy ]
Myths About Coconut Water During Pregnancy:
You may also come across some myths and it is very important for you to get those facts clear. Here they are:
Myth 1 – Coconut Water Has Magical Properties
Coconut water contains many nutrients, which is the reason it is suggested for pregnant women.
Fact: Pregnant women need all essential nutrients and minerals in proper amounts. It is an age-old myth that coconut water will help meet all those nutritional requirements. But, there is no single food that has all the nutrients. Only a combination can provide you the required nutrients in right dosages. Drinking coconut water alone will not offer all the nutrients. Therefore, it should be supplemented with other food items, fruits, and vegetables.
Myth 2 – Coconut Water Improves Baby Hair
Your baby will be born with thick hair on the scalp when you drink coconut water during pregnancy.
Fact: There is no such relation between consuming coconut water and hair growth on baby’s scalp. It is a benefit blown out of proportion.
Myth 3 – Coconut Water Makes Your Baby’s Skin Fair And Healthy
Drinking coconut water while you are pregnant will give a clear and fair complexion to your baby.
Fact: Mere consumption of coconut water will not make your baby’s skin fair and clear. Your baby’s skin and health will depend on many factors including hereditary, nutrition, parents’ health, and more.
Eating Coconut During Pregnancy:
Consumption of coconut meat is also considered beneficial during pregnancy.
Benefits Of Coconut Meat During Pregnancy:
1. Generation Of Breast Milk:
Regular consumption of coconut meat during pregnancy enhances the supply of breast milk after delivery. Your baby will receive nutritious and rich breast milk. Also, the coconut oil helps in the generation of breast milk.
[ Read: Coconut Oil During Pregnancy ]
It is also good during the lactation phase as it contains lauric and capric acids. These acids have antiviral, antibacterial and parasiticidal effects, which protect the infant from illnesses.
2. Improves Blood Circulation:
The blood volume doubles during pregnancy, causing swollen feet and legs. Poor circulation of blood aggravates the condition. Consuming coconut improves your blood circulation and prevents swelling and pain in the legs.
3. Aids Digestion:
Consuming coconut meat and water prevents constipation as tender coconut meat acts as an excellent laxative (6). It is one of the best benefits of consuming coconut in any form during pregnancy.
4. Better Sleep:
Having coconut in combination with poppy seeds and ghee will improve your sleep cycle.
5. Boosts Metabolism:
When the coconut is mixed with spices, it is helpful in boosting metabolic activities in pregnant women.
Coconut Milk During Pregnancy:
Coconut milk is a thick and milky liquid obtained by crushing grated coconut flesh. It is also an essential ingredient in many foods, especially in Southeast Asian dishes. Coconut can be consumed in any form due to its amazing health benefits. Coconut milk helps boost body fuel. It is completely safe to drink unless you are allergic to it.
Benefits Of Coconut Milk During Pregnancy:
1. Improves Immunity:
Coconut milk contains lauric acid, which is antibacterial and antiviral fat, helpful for pregnant women. This type of fat helps improve the immune system, according to the book ‘Coconut Oil and Immune System’ by Sherri Neal. The long chain fatty acids straighten the blood vessels and reduce any blockages in the heart, therefore improving the heart condition as well.
2. Other Benefits Include:
- Contains good amounts of iron, which can treat anemia.
- Improves digestive issues
- Offers relaxation to muscles and nervous system
- Controls blood sugar and blood pressure levels
- Relieves joint pains and scratching pains
- Makes your body fit and helps lose weight
How To Prepare Fresh Coconut Milk?
It is advisable to make coconut milk at home rather than opt for a packaged one.
- Grate one whole coconut and add one and half cups of hot water.
- Leave the mixture to cool at room temperature.
- Once the mixture is cooled, strain it to obtain the milk.
Coconut milk taken directly from fresh coconuts will contain about 450 calories and 50gm fat. One cup of coconut milk (approximately 240gm) has the following nutritional values:
- Calories – 550
- Fats – 50.2gm (all types of fats)
- Cholesterol – 0
- Sodium – 40gm
- Carbohydrates – 14gm (in 250gm milk)
- Proteins – 6gm
- Vitamin C – 11%
- Iron – 22%
- Calcium – 4%
Is Canned Coconut Milk Good During Pregnancy?
Canned coconut milk is safe to have during pregnancy, but you need to make sure that the can is not corroded, rusted, expired, or stored at unsafe temperatures.
Coconut milk contains considerable amounts of saturated fats, i.e., 3gm in one tablespoon. Taking in too much of saturated fat will increase both good and bad cholesterol levels in the body. In the case of canned milk, you should be aware of your consumption level as it should not exceed your daily requirement.
Besides the above, other reasons why you cannot choose canned coconut milk are:
1. Bisphenol – A (BPA):
It is a chemical usually used in the lining of cans used for packaged foods. This BPA may gradually leach into acidic, fatty, or salty foods like coconut milk, vegetables, tomatoes, and soups. A study states that there is a relation between high BPA levels in mothers and neurobehavioral problems in infants (7).
2. Guar Gum:
Guar gum is an additive present in canned coconut milk. It is a galactomannan, a polysaccharide and is mainly a ground endosperm of guar beans. There have been complaints like severe abdominal cramping, indigestion, flatulence, and diarrhea as beans are difficult to digest. In a clinical experiment, patients who had gut issues showed improvement when they stopped using canned coconut milk in their diet.
3. Fructose Malabsorption:
It is a digestive ailment characterized by an impairment of fructose (a simple sugar found in fruits, vegetables, and honey) transport across the small intestine. The increased fructose levels in the gut cause bacterial overgrowth. It, therefore, reduces absorption of water into the intestine. Pregnant women with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are highly affected with fructose malabsorption.
According to nutritiondata.com, coconut milk contains sugar, including fructose. Therefore, it should be avoided by those affected by IBD and IBS disorders.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Is buko juice safe for pregnant women?
A. Buko juice or coconut juice is a mixture of coconut water, tender coconut meat, and milk. It is a very refreshing and healthy drink, popular in the Philippines. All you need to do is extract the coconut water, scrape the meat and put them both in a pitcher. Add milk, sugar and lots of ice cubes. Allow the mixture to melt and then serve. Since the drink is a combination of coconut water, meat, and milk, it can be safely consumed by pregnant women.
Hope you have all the information on coconut water during pregnancy. If you have anything more to share, write to us in the below comment section.
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