You have probably noticed coconut water in your local grocery store. This product comes neatly packaged in boxes graced with a picture of a blue sky, teal ocean, and palm trees. Front and center, you see a straw jauntily poked into a refreshing green coconut. These images evoke feelings of relaxation, beauty, and refreshment. Furthermore, you may have heard claims of coconut water’s properties of health and healing. Read on to learn more about coconut water, where it comes from, possible benefits, and recipe ideas.
10. Where Coconut Water Comes From
Coconut water is not the same thing as coconut milk. Young, green coconuts contain a clear liquid known as coconut water. Over time, as the coconut matures, this liquid will develop into the fleshy white coconut meat that is eaten and used in recipes. Tapping this liquid results in the coconut water that graces grocery store shelves. Coconut milk, on the other hand, is made by shredding, simmering, and straining the flesh of ripe, brown coconuts. The milk gleaned from coconut flesh is rich, creamy, and contains fats.
9. Coconut Water Keeps You Hydrated
If you are looking for ways to keep hydrated, coconut water can be a refreshing choice. It is important to keep your body well hydrated to maintain your body at peak performance. Every cell in your body utilizes water and it is necessary for all of the functions of your body systems. The recommended eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day can sometimes be difficult to consume. Coconut water offers a unique addition to your daily fluid consumption. Of course, coconut water is also more expensive than plain water. However, if your budget can handle it, coconut water can be a tasty option.
8. It Has Fewer Calories Than Sugary Drinks
At 46 calories per cup, unsweetened coconut water is a lower-calorie option than the sugary drinks so readily available on the market. In comparison, Nutritionix lists regular soda at about 160 calories per 12-ounce can. Fruit juice can contain from 110-150 calories per cup. Of course, you can’t beat the zero-calorie refreshment and hydration that comes from plain water. However, unsweetened coconut water can be a low-calorie alternative to the calorie-ridden beverages that are so tempting. When purchasing coconut water, be sure to check the labels and choose a product with no added sugars.
7. Some Athletes Love It
Coconut water can be a refreshing component of a sports regimen. Some athletes use it to hydrate before or during exercise or combine it with other ingredients for post-workout recovery. Tennis player John Isner famously drinks coconut water on the court during long, grueling tennis matches. Long distance runners and hockey teams have turned to coconut water for a refreshing source of the electrolytes their bodies lose during long periods of physical exercise. Sports drinks like Gatorade have long been associated with athletics and rehydration, but Gatorade contain around 13 grams of sugar, while unsweetened coconut water contains 6 grams.
6. It Is Low in Sodium and Carbohydrates
Coconut water contains the electrolytes potassium and sodium, which are necessary to keep the body functioning properly. Electrolytes keep your brain, muscles, digestive tract, heart, and nervous system running smoothly. While many athletes enjoy the benefits of coconut water, this product is lower in sodium than sports drinks such as Gatorade. Additionally, coconut water does not contain the carbohydrates needed to provide your body with the energy necessary to sustain lengthy workouts, such as those over 1 ½ to 3 hours. For grueling or extended workouts, add some carbohydrates such as dried fruit and pretzels.
5. It May Have an Acquired Taste
While many enjoy the flavor of coconut water, others find that it is an acquired taste. Some people enjoy the unadulterated, refreshing taste of coconut water. They find it conjures up visions of sipping directly from a freshly cut green coconut on a sandy beach under blue skies. Others liken the flavor of coconut water to that of old sweat socks. If you seek the benefits of the electrolytes found in coconut water but don’t enjoy the flavor, there are tips for including it in your diet. You can enjoy coconut water with a splash of fruit juice, add it to a smoothie, or freeze it into ice cubes to add to your favorite beverage.
4. The Hype About Coconut Water
As with so many other unique and exotic-sounding products, coconut water has had its share of hype and claims of health benefits and healing properties. Coconut water does contain potassium, a mineral necessary for proper heart function. However, drinking coconut water daily will probably not be magic for preventing heart disease. And, in truth, while coconut water is hydrating, it probably provides no great advantage over the benefits of plain water. Water is nature’s purest form of hydration, containing zero calories and a lower price tag.
3. Coconut Water Warnings
Most individuals can enjoy coconut water without fear of negative side effects. However, there are those who should avoid drinking large quantities of coconut water due to the risk of excess potassium levels. According to University Health News, these individuals include those suffering from kidney disease, uncontrolled diabetes, adrenal failure, and certain physical traumas. Certain medications may also interact with high levels of potassium. Additionally, the calories contained in coconut water can add up when consumed in large quantities, contributing to the health risks of obesity.
2. Coconut Water Beverage Recipes
If you enjoy the flavor of coconut water, you can use it as the foundation for tasty drink recipes. Blend coconut water with frozen strawberries, Greek yogurt, almond milk, a splash of honey, and a banana for a delicious smoothie. You can also try Coconut Water Ginger Lemonade by Lauren Kelly Nutrition. This recipe calls for coconut water, coconut nectar, lemon juice, and grated ginger for a refreshing tropical beverage. You can also enjoy coconut water in your favorite cocktails. Yummly has a recipe for 120-calorie Fresh Coconut Pina Coladas using coconut water, fresh pineapple, fresh coconut, sugar, and rum.
1. Cooking with Coconut Water
You can enjoy coconut water in many delicious recipes. Food & Wine has a recipe for Poached Shrimp with Coconut Water and Lime. This recipe utilizes shrimp, coconut water, rice vinegar, lime juice, and vegetables for a healthy and delicious entrée. You can also whip up a tasty salad dressing using coconut water. Happy Slim Healthy has a recipe for a Green Goddess Salad Dressing that calls for lemon, avocado, basil, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar in addition to coconut water.Related: They Said Coconut Oil Was Great for You but This Is What You Don’t Know