No, coconut water isn’t bad for cholesterol and may actually improve your health condition.
Many of my clients are either trying to control cholesterol levels via diet, which means they are eager to avoid any food or drink that may compromise their goals. Thus, I am often asked if coconut water is bad for cholesterol – after all, coconut is high in saturated fats. Find my answer here!
In this post I give you a breakdown of coconut water nutrition as well as its impact on cholesterol levels. Let’s begin!
The first thing that you need to know is that coconut water doesn’t have any cholesterol at all. This means that it will not cause a natural rise in your cholesterol levels.
The fat content in coconut water is also negligible. There is only about 4 to 115mg of fat per 100g of coconut. However, mature coconut water may have a slightly higher content. Even then, it isn’t enough to make much of an impact on your cholesterol levels and health.
Of course, as you may be aware, cholesterol content isn’t the only thing that affects your cholesterol levels. On this note, let’s take a look at whether coconut water is actually good, bad, or neutral when it comes to cholesterol levels…
Well, there is one study that shows that coconut water may actually help to lower cholesterol levels. In the experiment, rats who were fed high cholesterol diets were also given coconut water.
This led to a decrease in the overall cholesterol levels, with a particular focus on LDL cholesterol or “bad” cholesterol. Conversely, there was a rise in HDL cholesterol or “good” cholesterol levels during the study.
What’s more, it was discovered that the inclusion of coconut water in their diet made it easier for the rats to get rid of cholesterol. The cholesterol was more readily converted to bile acid and this acid was easily removed from the body.
Furthermore, there was evidence to show that there was far less fatty accumulation in the aorta and the liver of the rats.
Another research trial showed that tender coconut water may actually have protective effects against myocardial infarctions. The total cholesterol levels were lower in both the aorta as well as the heart. There were also fewer triglycerides and phospholipids.
The results proved that there was also less tissue damage, even when myocardial infarctions were induced.
Of course, all these experiments were animal trials. Due to this, it is difficult to know whether the same results could be replicated in humans. It is also uncertain whether humans will receive the same level of protection as rats.
Nevertheless, it is definitely positive news. It shows that not only is coconut water not bad for cholesterol, it may actually help to reduce cholesterol levels.
Now, coconut water may not have any fat or cholesterol, but it does contain carbs and sugar. A diet that is high in both these things can actually cause your cholesterol levels to rise.
So, what does this mean for you, particularly if your cholesterol levels are on the higher end?
Well, the first thing that you will need to do is to make sure that you only ever drink unsweetened coconut water. This will ensure that you consume far less sugar and carbs. However, you should be aware that isn’t always obvious which coconut water has been sweetened.
On average, a cup of coconut water (around 245g) contains about 9.6g of sugar. This is considered as a natural sugar and isn’t considered bad for your health. What you need to focus on is added sugars. These should be mentioned on labels.
Thus, you should always check the label of the brand that you are buying. This will ensure that added sugars aren’t accidentally sneaking into your diet. At the same time, it is a good idea to compare the nutrition labels of brands.
At the very least, check the ingredient list on the packaging. The only one there should be coconut water. Steer clear of any brand that includes anything else.
If you are serious about managing your cholesterol levels, it is a good idea to keep your sugar intake as low as possible. Therefore, you should look for the coconut water with the lowest content.
As long as you have a healthy, balanced diet and don’t indulge in too much added sugar, drinking coconut water every day should be fine. Nevertheless, it is best to consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet. They will be the best judge of what you should and shouldn’t add to your diet.
Even if you are given the all-clear, remember to enjoy coconut water in moderation. When consumed in excess, it can actually act as a laxative. Not to mention, it is quite high in potassium and you don’t want your potassium levels to be too high.
Also, not everyone reacts to coconut water in the same way. For instance, some people do feel quite full after drinking coconut water, which may not be a pleasant experience. It is important to monitor your intake according to your response to the drink.
To get the best of both worlds, try to stick to 6 to 8 ounces of coconut water a day – no more. After all, coconut water does contain calories and these can add up if you aren’t careful. Not to mention, it isn’t as hydrating as water. Due to this, it is important to balance out your coconut water consumption with plenty of water.
As you can see, coconut water may actually be good for cholesterol instead of bad for it. In any case, it will certainly not have a negative impact on your cholesterol levels.
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