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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