Anointed as nature’s gift, coconut water is found inside young, green coconuts. It is a clear, sweet liquid with a nutty twist and is usually harvested when the coconut is nine months old.
To be clear, coconut water is completely different to coconut cream and coconut milk. If you were to buy a fresh coconut, you could literally crack it open, pop in a straw and drink away. Fresh, pure coconut water is a nutritional goldmine. Huge in Brazil and the US for several years, and now in many European countries, the clear sweet drink has recently made its debut in general supermarkets in Australia.
To start off with, the recent popularity of coconut water has now been fully understood. As a drink, it is full of natural electrolytes. It’s essentially a low-fat health drink, cholesterol free, 99 percent fat free, low in carbohydrates and contains only naturally occurring sugars. What’s not to love?
Coconut water also contains zinc, selenium, iodine, sulphur, manganese, boron, molybdenum, ascorbic acid and B-group vitamins. Not all of these are at sustainable levels, but they are a welcome addition for most of us. But if you’re dehydrated, coconut water really comes into its own, it is a natural isotonic drink that provides many of the same benefits as formulated sports drinks – only naturally.
There’s also the famous history of the humble coconut, when during the Second World War in the Pacific, coconut water was siphoned directly from the nut to provide emergency transfusions for wounded soldiers – and it worked! When medical saline isn’t available it coconut water can replace water and salt. It’s like it was made for us!
Coconut water also regulates blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol and can improve blood circulation, lower elevated blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. It is also good for digestive and urinary health, plus a range of digestive and urinary ailments. Importantly, coconut water is considered safe for children as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women and there are no known side effects.
However there are some things to watch out for. To start with, the fresher the coconut water, the better. While it has many, many benefits, it is not kilojoules free, so don’t think you can drink limitless amounts of it – and don’t stop drinking the purest water you can – because nothing can replace that!