Coconut water benefits your brain thanks to its B-6 content.

Coconut water benefits your brain thanks to its B-6 content.

If you haven't yet tried coconut water -- the fluid extracted from the center of young, green coconuts -- you're missing out. Coconut water makes for a refreshing beverage after a tough workout, and its delicate flavor complements other healthful ingredients in recipes. Adding coconut water to your diet boosts your intake of essential nutrients, including potassium, magnesium and manganese. It also provides a small amount of vitamin B-6, a vitamin important for good health.

Physiological Importance of Vitamin B-6

Vitamin B-6 plays a key role in brain function because it helps you make serotonin and norepinephrine -- two chemicals that regulate brain function. Norepinephrine acts as a natural stimulant and aids in memory formation, while serotonin plays a role in mood regulation and mental health. Vitamin B-6 also regulates the function of steroid hormones -- a hormone family that includes testosterone and estrogen -- and helps you produce red blood cells.

Coconut Water and B-6

Coconut water serves as only a modest source of vitamin B-6, and each 1-cup serving provides 0.08 milligram of the nutrient. This makes up slightly more than 6 percent of the recommended daily intake for men and women between the ages of 19 and 50, according to B-6 intake guidelines determined by the Institute of Medicine. A cup of coconut water provides almost 5 percent of the recommended daily intake for men age 51 or older, and a little more than 5 percent of the daily intake for women in the same age group. Each serving of coconut water also provides almost 5 percent of the recommended daily intake for women who are pregnant or lactating.

Comparison to Other Foods

Coconut water's vitamin B-6 content pales in comparison to that of many other beverages. For example, popular varieties of energy drinks contain your entire recommended daily intake of vitamin B-6 in a single serving. Prune, pineapple and carrot juices also contain more vitamin B-6 than coconut water. In addition, a serving of sunflower seeds, walnuts, avocados, apricots, bananas and spinach all contribute more to your daily vitamin B-6 requirement than a serving of coconut water.

Meal Tips and Ideas

Pair coconut water with ingredients richer in vitamin B-6 to boost your daily intake. Try using it as a base for fruit and vegetable smoothies -- a mixture of coconut water, banana, spinach and sunflower seed butter makes for a green smoothie rich in vitamin B-6, while coconut water, avocado, hazelnut butter and cacao blend together for a creamier smoothie option. Alternatively, pair your coconut water with an ounce of mixed nuts for a vitamin B-6-rich snack that's also easily consumed on the go.

Coconut water benefits your brain thanks to its B-6 content.

Coconut water benefits your brain thanks to its B-6 content.

If you haven't yet tried coconut water -- the fluid extracted from the center of young, green coconuts -- you're missing out. Coconut water makes for a refreshing beverage after a tough workout, and its delicate flavor complements other healthful ingredients in recipes. Adding coconut water to your diet boosts your intake of essential nutrients, including potassium, magnesium and manganese. It also provides a small amount of vitamin B-6, a vitamin important for good health.

Physiological Importance of Vitamin B-6

Vitamin B-6 plays a key role in brain function because it helps you make serotonin and norepinephrine -- two chemicals that regulate brain function. Norepinephrine acts as a natural stimulant and aids in memory formation, while serotonin plays a role in mood regulation and mental health. Vitamin B-6 also regulates the function of steroid hormones -- a hormone family that includes testosterone and estrogen -- and helps you produce red blood cells.

Coconut Water and B-6

Coconut water serves as only a modest source of vitamin B-6, and each 1-cup serving provides 0.08 milligram of the nutrient. This makes up slightly more than 6 percent of the recommended daily intake for men and women between the ages of 19 and 50, according to B-6 intake guidelines determined by the Institute of Medicine. A cup of coconut water provides almost 5 percent of the recommended daily intake for men age 51 or older, and a little more than 5 percent of the daily intake for women in the same age group. Each serving of coconut water also provides almost 5 percent of the recommended daily intake for women who are pregnant or lactating.

Comparison to Other Foods

Coconut water's vitamin B-6 content pales in comparison to that of many other beverages. For example, popular varieties of energy drinks contain your entire recommended daily intake of vitamin B-6 in a single serving. Prune, pineapple and carrot juices also contain more vitamin B-6 than coconut water. In addition, a serving of sunflower seeds, walnuts, avocados, apricots, bananas and spinach all contribute more to your daily vitamin B-6 requirement than a serving of coconut water.

Meal Tips and Ideas

Pair coconut water with ingredients richer in vitamin B-6 to boost your daily intake. Try using it as a base for fruit and vegetable smoothies -- a mixture of coconut water, banana, spinach and sunflower seed butter makes for a green smoothie rich in vitamin B-6, while coconut water, avocado, hazelnut butter and cacao blend together for a creamier smoothie option. Alternatively, pair your coconut water with an ounce of mixed nuts for a vitamin B-6-rich snack that's also easily consumed on the go.