Coconut water is the juice in the interior or endosperm of young coconut. Its water is one of the nature’s most refreshing drinks, consumed worldwide for its nutritious and health benefiting properties.
The water is actually obtained by opening a tender, green, healthy, and undamaged coconut. Inside, it’s clear liquid is sweet, and sterile and composed of unique chemicals such as sugars, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, enzymes, amino acids, cytokine, and phyto-hormones. In general, young and slightly immature coconuts harvested when they are about 5-7 months of age for the drink.
Health benefits of coconut water
- Coconut water is a very refreshing drink to beat tropical summer thirst. The juice is packed with simple sugar, electrolytes, and minerals to replenish hydration levels within the body.
- Research studies suggest that cytokinins (e.g., kinetin and trans-zeatin) in coconut water showed significant anti-ageing, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-thrombotic effects.
- Coconut water has been generally offered to patients with diarrhea in many tropic regions to replace the fluid loss from the gastrointestinal tract and reduce the need for intravenous therapy. The osmolarity of tender coconut water is slightly greater than that of WHO recommended ORS (Oral Rehydration Therapy) osmolarity. Presence of other biological constituents like amino acids, enzymes, minerals, and fatty acids may account for this higher osmolarity. However, unlike WHO-ORS, its water is very low in sodium and chlorides, but rich in sugars and amino acids. This well-balanced fluid composition with much-needed calories would be an ideal drink than any other brand of soft drink beverages in dehydration conditions.
- Coconut water is composed of many naturally occurring bioactive enzymes such as acid phosphatase, catalase, dehydrogenase, diastase, peroxidase, RNA-polymerases etc. In effect, these enzymes help in the digestion and metabolism.
- Its water is also a very good source of B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pyridoxine, and folates. These vitamins are essential in the sense that the human body requires them from external sources to replenish.
- Coconut water contains a very good amount of electrolyte potassium. 100 ml of water has 250 mg of potassium and 105 mg of sodium. Together, these electrolytes help replenish electrolyte deficiency in the body due to diarrhea (loose stools).
- Despite very light consistency, its water has much better composition of minerals like calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, and zinc than some of the fruits like oranges. (Compare the mineral composition of oranges.
- Further, fresh coconut water has a small amount of vitamin-C (Ascorbic acid); It provides about 2.4 mg or 4% of RDA. Vitamin C is a water-soluble ant-oxidant.
Fresh tender coconuts are readily available in the markets in tropical countries year around. However, they require importation into the semitropical and cold regions. Nowadays, ready to use prepared tender coconuts are made available in USA and Canada imported from Thailand and Malaysia.
In the stores, coconut water sold in packets, and bottles. However, their overall nutritional profile may not be up to the mark in terms of vitamins and enzyme levels, since some kind of additives and preservative added in order to enhance shelf life.
At home, store raw tender coconuts at room temperature for about 5-10 days. Once opened, its water turns sour in taste and off-flavored due to intense enzymatic activity. Instead, store it inside the refrigerator if not used immediately.
To prepare, using a long sickle, chisel out the outer shell either at the top or bottom end and cut open the inner hard layer to expose coconut water. Some sort of experience and caution are required to avoid injury. Its water is then sipped using a straw. Otherwise, the whole nut is tilted upside down to transfer its water into wide mouthed bottle or bowl.
- Enjoy the coconut drink without any additions.
- Iced coconut water can be a refreshing drink.
- Fresh water can be made special drink adding slices.
- Its gel-like meat (kernel) inside the young tender coconuts is very sweet and delicious.
Coconut water is a universally appealing drink. There are no known reactions of any sort notified so far using it. It is not only cherished in healthy but is considered safe in pregnancy, infants as well as in diseased conditions as well
The discussion in this page is solely dedicated to water or solution of young coconuts and not about coconut milk, meat, coconut oil or any products of coconut tree.