I Tried It: Coconut Water


By: , SparkPeople Blogger

I'm not a big fan of most beverages. I use soymilk on cereal, drink tea occasionally, and have a rare glass of OJ. Most of the time, I'm satisfied with water. Soda, juice and sports drinks are usually too sweet for me. If I want something fancy, I ask for club soda or a slice of lemon for my flat water.

Then I discovered what has become my new favorite beverage: coconut water. Two weeks ago, I was battling a wicked sinus infection. Though I was guzzling water and hot green tea, I just felt a bit dehydrated. I wanted something new and different, a treat that would also help me get in more fluids.

High on a shelf in the beverage aisle, I spotted coconut water. The package boasted some interesting nutrition facts:
  • Fat free
  • A natural source of electrolytes
  • Twice the potassium as a banana
  • Only 60 calories for about 12 ounces

    I bought one, took it home, and drank it that night. Now I'm hooked! I drink them two or three times a week, usually after a hot yoga class or particularly grueling Spinning classes.

    What is it?
    Coconut water is the liquid inside a young, green coconut. As the coconut ages, the water is replaced by air and coconut meat, which is where the fat is contained. But coconut water is fat free, and the meat of a young coconut is soft, like a jelly. You can easily cut the top from young coconuts, freeing the water and allowing you to scoop the meat with a spoon. (NOTE: Coconut milk is not the same thing as coconut water. Coconut milk comes from older coconuts whose meat has already formed.)

    This beverage is popular in Asia, the Caribbean, and South and Central America.

    Coconut water contains the five electrolytes (potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorous), more potassium than a banana, and no fat.

    How does it taste?
    I've had several different kinds of coconut water. Those infused with fruit juice are tasty but a bit too sweet for me. I prefer straight coconut water.

    Both major brands on the market, ZICO and Vita Coco, are good. They taste very sweet and mild, and the coconut flavor is not as pronounced as you'd expect. Even if you didn't like coconut, you might like this. (These cost between $1.50 and $2 for 11.1 ounces at my local supermarkets.)

    I think I'll take these along on long bike rides in the summer.

    I've also had coconut water fresh from a Thai young coconut, which I got for about $2. It yielded about 12 ounces of water, and the taste was much stronger and deeper. In addition to a mild coconut flavor in the background, there was a pronounced almond taste and a hint of saltiness as a nice contrast. It was delightful to sip after a workout!

    They're a little pricey compared with plain old tap water, but these are worth it for me!

    Nutrition Facts:

    Fun fact:
    In some developing nations, coconut water is used as an intravenous fluid when medical saline isn't available.

    Find coconut water near you by clicking here and here.

    Have you tried this? Will you?

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    • ASMITH8888
      Yes, these are great. Love the coconut lime ones!! - 3/25/2009   1:10:20 PM
    • 171
      I got hooked on this after a trip to Costa Rica, where they sell it on the beach. I have a hard time finding it here without the jelly chunks added, but I screen those out if I have to. - 3/25/2009   1:09:27 PM
      I love coconut! I'll have to see if I can find some coconut water at my local store. Water is good, but it gets boring after awhile. So hopefully this will add some variety and still be a great way to get some water in for the day. Thanks!! :) - 3/25/2009   12:03:10 PM
    • 169
      This sounds really good and a nice departure from common beverages. I think that this would be a good drink for my grandmother, who always needs more hydration and potassium and loves coconut! Thanks for the tip. - 3/25/2009   11:10:13 AM
    • 168
      I wouldn't have thought to try this until I read this blog. I will definately try it! - 3/25/2009   10:56:24 AM
    • 167
      Sounds good, I love coconut! - 3/25/2009   10:33:08 AM
      Way too many carbs! That's almost my whole days allotment! No thanks. - 3/25/2009   9:19:04 AM
    • 165
      This sounds nummy! I'll give it a try if I see it. - 3/25/2009   9:04:54 AM
    • 164
      I love coconut anyway...sounds interesting. Will check it out next time I'm in the store.
      :o) - 3/25/2009   6:06:13 AM
    • 163
      Way back when I was in The Philippines, I occasionally drank fresh coconut water. I bought it from a vandore who cut open the young coconut and I would have the water and meat tranferred to my container and brought it home. - 3/25/2009   2:59:01 AM
    • 162
      15 grams of sugar?? No way! - 3/25/2009   1:03:43 AM
    • 161
      I tried some when I was in the Bahamas, and I loved the taste, but the one I tried had pieces of shredded coconut in it and I think I would like it better without. - 3/25/2009   12:25:13 AM
    • 160
      I was essentially raised on Coconut Water, my parents are both from the Caribbean! I love it. Fresh young coconut is always the best! I'm so glad you cleared up the difference between coconut water and coconut milk! So many people use them interchangeably...I hate that! I haven't had any in a while...hmm..I'll add that to my grocery list! Yum! - 3/24/2009   10:53:02 PM
    • BIGGMACK77
      It just so happened this was on sale in my supermarket today so I picked a couple up. It was very good, I had it after my workout. Thanks for the tip! - 3/24/2009   9:49:52 PM
    • 158
      Thank you for the suggestion. I will definitely try it. I have a feeling it will be a big hit with my daughter and my boyfriend as well. - 3/24/2009   9:37:18 PM
    • 157
      Never heard of this before! I don't usually like coconut, but I would try this once. - 3/24/2009   9:03:19 PM
    • 156
      Thank you.
      I looked at coconut water in the grocery store a couple of weeks ago but was afraid that it might be awful - thanks to this, I'm going to give it a try for a treat. - 3/24/2009   8:19:37 PM
    • 155
      I'd love to try it, but neither brand is available in my area. - 3/24/2009   7:51:07 PM
    • 154
      I cannot stand the taste of coconut, so this probably isn't for me. But I will pass this info on to my friends who would like it. Thank you for this post. - 3/24/2009   7:15:07 PM
    • 153
    • MISTY128
      its awesome, i was looking for something new ...thx - 3/24/2009   5:53:51 PM
    • 151
      I definitely would like to try this! :D I have a view of beverages much like this blogger. Water for me please -- other things too sweet... yadda yadda. This is interesting to me! - 3/24/2009   5:04:32 PM
    • 150
      Glad to see that the USA is discovering this "juice" that tropical countries have enjoyed for ages! And if you like the boxed, store-bought stuff you'll love the real thing even better! By the same token, if you do NOT like the store-bought kind, don't decide that you just don't like coconut water. It's really not near as good as the real thing. - 3/24/2009   4:38:24 PM
    • 149
      This is definitely on my to try list :) thank you. - 3/24/2009   4:26:15 PM
      I love coconut water too, it definitely helps me when I've been seriously sweating. I love to drink it ice cold. It's better than gatorade.

      Just be sure that you're getting the unsweetened coconut water when you buy it. - 3/24/2009   4:25:48 PM
    • 147
      Jibbie, Saw your comments about the fresh coconut water you used to discard. The coconut Stepfanie is talking about is the Green or tender coconut with almost 3 cups of fresh mild not too sweet water with barely any meat or some slimy thin meat that you can eat with a spoon. Not the kind that is sold at 60 cents with 1/2 to 1 cup of very sweet water in it since the meat is already formed. Just wanted to clarify.
      - 3/24/2009   3:55:39 PM
    • 146
      I love coconut, and this sounds great, will sure be looking for this when I go to the store next time. I just bought some coconut flour, my niece makes pancakes from it and they are really tasty. - 3/24/2009   3:53:28 PM
    • 145
      I saw coconut water in my local grocery store and, having always loved all things coconut, was intrigued but assumed it was a gimmicky thing--a way of making a traditional, unhealthy beverage seem like a natural version of VitaminWater (which to me is an unhealthy, gimmicky thing). I'll be sure to buy some next time I walk by! Maybe this will give me a good excuse to finally get to the gym, since this is a great post-workout reward. - 3/24/2009   2:58:34 PM
    • 144
      Grew up on the stuff. Love it. In the Island(Jamaica) you can get the real stuff...directly from the tree. Now I buy it from the can/bag...taste good, but not like the REAL stuff. Ya Mon:) - 3/24/2009   2:50:11 PM
    • 143
      I love, love, love Fresh coconut water having grown up with it in India. We had a professional come home to pluck coconuts from the palm trees in our 90 cents wide yard with countless coconut trees. Every time he came, Dad had him pluck a few tender green coconuts for us to drink daily. In India, coconut tree is named the tree of heavenly nectar just for the qualities you mentioned. I have not seen vita coco water but, my DH buys Goya ( Nutrition data: 80 calories in 8.8ozs, total fat .5 grams due to added cut up pulp- not the fat free thin, slimy kind; sodium 90 mgs due to preservatives, carb is 20grams and sugars 15grams due to added sugar ) 17.6oz can for him to consume daily. We must start looking for the natural water without any additives in our neighborhood! He pays $1.19 per can. I hardly drink it since it does not taste the same as the fresh one! I have seen the fresh coconuts at Thai stores and restaurants but, do not like the taste - same goes for Chinese coconuts which I do understand ( from watching one of the documentaries) they feed human excreta as fertilizer. This is a total turn off for me to drink.....the Chinese imports. Love the ones that are imported from the caribbean and central or southern americas - tastes just like Indian coconut.

      Just so people do know, tender coconut water also has diuretic qualities. So, be careful if you are taking Lasix or other diuretics - do not drink with it! Other ingredients in coconut water are iron, calcium - what an amazing drink!! - 3/24/2009   2:49:46 PM
    • 142
      I think I pay about 60 cents for a coconut at the grocery store, and I've always poured out the "milk." How interesting to pay $1.50 to $2.00 for something I've discarded all these years. I always thought eating the "meat" of the coconut had the vitamins, etc. - 3/24/2009   2:46:21 PM
    • 141
      This sounds interesting & I'll have to try some! Thanks! - 3/24/2009   2:43:59 PM
      My mother is diabetic and I bought it first for her to replace her electrolytes when she had problems with diarrhea. Now she drinks it instead of Gaterade when she need it, and has not had any problems with it bothering her blood sugar. - 3/24/2009   2:34:09 PM
    • 139
      I'm not a big fan of coconut, but I will buy this for my husband and kids to try. Then, I might take a sip. But I would not want to buy it and then not like it. Thanks for the great info! - 3/24/2009   2:18:13 PM
    • 138
      Based on the comments I've seen, I think there is the need for some clarification.
      The coconut is a fruit and the older it gets, the thicker the jelly inside. The younger the fruit, the more bland the taste of the water, which is clear...sometimes slightly cloudy. The coconut milk which most are familiar with is extracted from the thick jelly of an old dry coconut and white in colour. Old coconuts have very little water but it is sweeter. The coconut milk is used in a variety of foods [such as coconut shrimp, rice and peas, some curries, etc.] and pastries [gizzadas, coconut cake, totos, etc.]. The thick jelly is sometimes grated and dried and toasted for pastries [coconut flakes]. Coconut oil is an extract of coconut jelly and is derived when the milk is boiled.
      By the way, when a little lime juice is mixed with coconut water, it is said to be very good for those with high blood pressure.
      I hope I have covered the wonderful uses and derivaties of the coconut. - 3/24/2009   2:16:57 PM
    • 137
      This actually seems interesting. I have always been in love with coconuts since I was a kid, but I never thought about drinking the water. I will look out for it and give it a try! Thanks! - 3/24/2009   2:11:40 PM
    • 136
      I'll have to keep an eye out for this, as I'm ALWAYS low with my intake of potassium and magnesium.

      The sugar does not scare me off since it is Fructose and not Sucrose.

      Fruit sugar is better for you than table sugar
      is that by eating table sugar (Sucrose) our bodies go out of sync with
      our sugar levels as the sugar is processed in the body extremely fast
      and in doing this the body informs the pancreas to pump out insulin.
      Someone with a weak pancreas will have a hard time doing this.

      Fructose (Fruit sugar) is broken down more slowly which allows the
      body more time to react to the sweetener that has been consumed. This
      puts less stress on the body and also the pancreas which is good news
      for diabetics as they too can have sweet tasting things but without
      the worry of a sudden sugar spike.

      A couple other thing that might interest you.
      Drinking coconut water has many benefits. Coconut Water is naturally

      * Low in Carbs
      * 99% Fat Free
      * Low in sugars

      Coconut water contains organic compounds possessing healthy growth promoting properties that have been known to help

      1. Keep the body cool and at the proper temperature.
      2. Orally re-hydrate your body, it is an all natural isotonic beverage.
      3. Carry nutrients and oxygen to cells.
      4. Naturally replenish your body's fluids after exercising.
      5. Raise your metabolism.
      6. Promote weight loss.
      7. Boost your immune system.
      8. Detoxify and fight viruses.
      9. Cleanse your digestive tract.
      10. Control diabetes.
      11. Aid your body in fighting viruses that cause the flu, herpes, and AIDS.
      12. Balance your PH and reduce risk of cancer.
      13. Treat kidney and urethral stones.
      14. Boost poor circulation.

      I also read that it helps regulate blood pressure, heart function and enhances the hydration process

      Stepfanie, thank you for witting this blog. I had fun finding more information about coconut water on the internet.

      I'm sold on it, now to introduce it to my 2 children that run in cross country races.
      - 3/24/2009   2:07:49 PM
    • 135
      At Fresh and Easy, they have a coconut water - I don't think its the same as this, more compared to products like MetroMint, its mostly just coconut flavored. It was good, but had a certain oily mouthfeel that I didn't like. I might give this stuff a try! - 3/24/2009   1:57:03 PM
    • MEMR28
      This sounds yummy! I will definitely try it. Thanks for the inspiration! :) - 3/24/2009   1:52:52 PM
    • 133
      I've noticed these for sale at our local grocery store. I never checked the nutritional facts. I'll have to give it a try! Have you ever tried aloe vera juice? That is sold at our store, too, but I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to try it without hearing anything about it. - 3/24/2009   1:21:54 PM
    • 132
      I LOVE coconut! I'll have to buy it when I'm at the store next! Thanks! - 3/24/2009   1:19:50 PM
    • MILLIEME335
      I Take coconut water to the gym with me everday. I water it down a bit with plain water. I use because of the electrolytes. I buy the "grace" brand. - 3/24/2009   1:01:36 PM
    • 130
      I'm going to be looking for that now. Looks good and doesn't contain the bad part of cocoanut that I'd like to avoid. It has 15 carbs per serving...an easy way to control my carb counts. I'm counting them ( 15 carbs as ONE unit) ...a good snack or a booster for when I'm short a few in a meal. (Type 2 Diabetic) I noticed it has a good load of potassium and that also helps as I fall short sometimes. - 3/24/2009   12:40:25 PM
    • 129
      Sounds great --- can't wait to go to grocery store and see if they carry it. Thanks for the information. Always looking for something good and different to try. - 3/24/2009   12:35:29 PM
    • 128
      No, I haven't tried it yet. I think I will purchase the one that you have on display, VitaCoco. It does look yummy! - 3/24/2009   12:29:15 PM
    • 127
      No I have not tried it, but I love coconut so I will try it, in my original country people cook with coconut alot! - 3/24/2009   12:06:26 PM
    • 126
      Sounds wonderful - especially on a hot summer day. I will give it a try! - 3/24/2009   11:59:14 AM
    • 125
      I live in Thailand and I drink this all the time!! They serve it cold and still in the coconut. I just love it and I had no idea it was so good for me! This is fantastic! - 3/24/2009   11:37:19 AM
    • LUCYRK78
      i've been drinking O.N.E. Coconut Water for the past two years after trying Vita Coco for the first time at an event...I haven't found any of the others to be as clean tasting...and they donate a lot of money to charity, so i like that angle, too....my hair has never been thicker (do they mention that as a benefit?) and my skin cleared up almost immediately once i started drinking this regularly. - 3/24/2009   11:12:12 AM
    • 123
      Coming from Asia, I have always loved coconut water and have had fresh ones directly from coconut trees as my summer relief. Great article and the fun tip is absolutely true. If you don't like glucose, go drink coconut water instead. - 3/24/2009   11:00:50 AM

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