Is coconut water safe for diabetics, when to drink it to avoid sugar spike
Coconut water is not just refreshing, it is also loaded with nutrients. It’s no wonder then that it is touted as an energy drink by fitness enthusiasts and health-conscious people. And while people living in tropical countries drink it regularly, today supermarkets around the globe also stock bottled coconut water.
“Coconut water is excellent to replenish our electrolytes such as sodium and potassium, which keep our blood pressure in check and do not let the pressure drop,” says nutritionist and fitness consultant Anjali Peswani.
Integrative nutritionist Payal Kothari says that it is satiating and perfect for fitness lovers. “The natural electrolytes present in coconut water support the Ph balance and aid in metabolic functioning of the body, making it a good replacement for an energy drink. The magnesium content increases energy and has a calming effect on the nerves. Potassium also regulates functioning of kidneys, adds muscle strength, and decreases risk of stroke. Its chemical composition is as good as blood plasma, and it has been used as intravenous fluid,” says Kothari.
Despite its many benefits, diabetics remain sceptic that it may cause a spike in sugar levels. Peswani says that diabetics who workout on a regular basis can consume up to 1 coconut water a day (without malai). “This will not lead to any spike in glucose levels. People with highly uncontrolled blood sugar levels are advised against as it can cause fluctuation in the blood sugar levels immediately,” she says.
Diabetics can stick to one coconut a day, and the best time to have it is on an empty stomach and during the first half of the day/post-workout. What happens if you have too much of it, though? “Having too much coconut water has been shown to cause bloating or gas in some people. It can also lead to excess urination and cold, as it has a cooling effect on the system,” says Peswani.
Kothari says that green coconuts are a better option as they have less sugar. “Coconut water’s sugar content is mainly glucose, which is metabolic and is fine to consume once in a while. Limiting consumption up to 200 ml could help maintain sugar levels. And keep in mind, coconut water is better than any fruit juice, aerated beverage or ice-cream for diabetics,” says Kothari. She adds that it is ideally had along with nuts or seeds to prevent a sugar spike. “And having it from a natural source is better than having bottled juice which may contain added sugars,” she says.
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