Life-Giving Coconut Water

coconut palmSome foods, just like some people, get richer and finer the longer you know them. 

Their gifts seem endless, and just when the list of them seem to be exhausted, there comes a fine parade of new and wonderful, earlier unnoticed treasures.

So it is with coconuts.  Two years ago I discovered the benefits of Oil Pulling, which, at the time, was a very healing support for my chronic, annoying post-nasal-drip cough. I still practice it almost every day, and regularly recommend it to friends, family, and clients, all of whom have success tales to report.

Then, last Spring, I wrote a piece about all the good news with Coconut Oil itself, which revealed an explosion of health benefits from this relatively humble, unnoticed food. I have probably quadrupled my own use of coconut oil in recent years, so gracious it is with gifts of the earth!

Just a few short weeks ago, my husband and I were vacationing in Mexico with some friends of over 55 years (speaking of richer and finer relationships over time!).  I was very happy to be able to introduce them to Coconut Water, the fresh, clear liquid in the fruit’s center.  Fresh from a local tree, the young, green coconut was opened, we were given straws, and drink away we did! Our friends were very impressed! The vendor then scraped out the delicious coconut meat, bagged  it, and gave it to us to enjoy later in the day.

Coconut Water It is related to, but different from the thicker, cloudier milk which is sometimes extracted from more mature coconuts.

As one of the most naturally nutrient-dense drinks in the world, coconut water is exceptionally beneficial for health. It is a natural beverage with no artificial additives or sweeteners. 

It is cholesterol free, 99% fat free, and low in carbohydrates and naturally occurring sugars. It boasts zinc, selenium, iodine, sulfur, manganese, boron, molybdenum, ascorbic acid and B-group vitamins.

Coconut Water’s particular blend of minerals and vitamins provides many benefits to the human body which have made it so very popular in recent years, including

  • Immune Support. Coconut water helps natural healing processes in your body, wherever they may be occurring. It is not only antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral, but also antioxidant, low in sugars, and hepatoprotective.
  • Lower Bad Cholesterol. Drinking coconut water every day lowers bad cholesterol and raises levels of HDL cholesterol. It can also help diminish fat stored in the liver, heart, kidney, and aorta,
  • Compatible with Human Blood. Since it is chemically very similar to human plasma, coconut water can be used in extreme emergencies to quickly rehydrate the human body if administered intravenously. I have heard of this use for coconut water during World War II in the Pacific, and it is not uncommon for the drink to be used in poorer, third-world countries to save human lives.
  • Lower Blood Pressure. A disproportionate level of electrolytes can result in high blood pressure. Since coconut water has an adequate supply of each, it can be used as a balancing mechanism. Some people drink coconut water early each day, specifically for the purpose of balancing electrolytes and keeping blood pressure numbers in a safe range.

The absolute best coconut water comes straight from an organic coconut tree.

The second best product will be found as whole young coconuts, organically or conventionally grown, which can be found most easily in Asian markets. They are also sometimes available, as they are where I live in Missouri, in some supermarkets.

Young Thai coconuts are easily found in Asian markets
Young Thai coconuts are easily found in Asian markets

Take the trouble to find them, enjoy them often, and rest assured that your body considers them a true gift! Enjoy.

If you must opt for packaged coconut water, choose raw and organic or organic using high “pressure processing (HPP).  Like anything else, when it comes to food, — know your source, and watch the labeling carefully! The differences between fresh coconut water and packaged coconut water are similar to the differences we’ve seen between freshly made almond milk and the grocery shelf varieties. Things that can make coconut water a less good product include

  • Adopting the water from mature coconuts, which is not as nutrient-dense as the water from young fruit. As the nut ages the nutrients seep into the meat of the coconut, losing nutrients in the process. The taste is then also altered.
  • Using reconstituted concentrate instead of fresh coconut water. After the coconut water is heated and then reduced to a syrup, regular water is added to it for packaging. When coconut or any fruit is heated to this extent, it loses nutrients and beneficial enzymes.  Importing coconut water syrup, however, is less expensive for the manufacturer.  (‘Sound familiar?)
  • Pasteurizing coconut water with heat. Coconut water is delicate, so naturally perishable.  It should be kept cold. Some manufacturers use extremely high heat to kill bacteria and extend shelf live, which, as we know, destroys its vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, as well as flavor. If it is made from concentrate (above), the coconut water will have gone through the heating process twice.
  • Adding preservatives to flavor and sweeten coconut water. Coconut water has a natural, very satisfying and refreshing sweetness. Some manufacturers, however, add “natural flavors” or sweeteners. This may be because they are using mature fluid (above).

The moral of the story is, of course, avoid manufactured coconut water.

Go for the fresh coconut, right off the tree,  for the freshest, cleanest, most nourishing replenishing drink. Otherwise, buy fresh Young Thai Coconuts at health food stores, Asian markets, and some supermarkets.  If you must buy something packaged, be sure to compare labels to get the least processed and additive-laden variety.  You are worth it!

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