Should Coconut Water Top Your List of Healthy Beverages?
We've all seen movies and television shows where a castaway is eagerly breaking open a coconut in order to consume the water inside. But now that more and more celebrities are including coconut water in their list of must-have favourites, should more of us be paying attention and switching over from coffee, sports drinks or caffeinated sodas? And what about the hype that coconut water can cure everything from painful kidney stones to a party hangover?
What is coconut water?
Unlike the high-fat coconut oil or milk produced by this fruit of the coconut palm, coconut water is the clear liquid found inside young coconuts that is naturally fat and cholesterol free in addition to being low in calories and high in potassium. Even if you ignore the many marketing claims that coconut water is a wonder elixir, it seems sensible to check out the real nutritional benefits of this beverage, given it's long history as a popular choice in Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, India and Pacific Rim countries.
How does it compare to sports drinks and soft drinks?
Compared with commercially prepared sports drinks, natural coconut water offers easy to digest sugar and electrolytes, all packaged in an appealing taste that is mildly nutty and sweet. Compared to sports beverages, coconut water normally has fewer calories (less than 200 per litre), less sodium and a lot more potassium. Compared to soft drinks, coconut water contains much less sugar and good quality products will not contain artificial sweeteners.
When should I drink Coconut Water?
Pure coconut water provides refreshing hydration at any time of day. If you consume a fruit juice in the morning, you could consider substituting it for coconut water. As it offers many of the same nutritional benefits offered by bottled sports beverages, such as electrolytes, straight after a workout is a great time to drink it.
There are so many coconut water products on the market, which one should I buy?
When looking to try coconut water, the best choice is straight from a young coconut. However, there are many quality commercial coconut water products available. Look for one that doesn't contain added sugars, flavourings or artificial ingredients.