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What’s With The Coconut Water Fad?
Coconut water seems to be everywhere now-a-days. You know it must be a profitable market when mainstream food manufacturers have jumped on the band wagon. Many of them reformulating their products and slapping on a new label to advertise that they too have coconut water! I got to give it to them, it’s a great marketing ploy. Albeit, riding on the heals of health, while taking advantage of the latest research and the uneducated consumer. It’s usually always about the money.
So, what’s with all the hype about coconut water? Is it just the latest health fad to come and go, like the low-fat craze? Or, is it a timeless health elixir like one of my favorites, kombucha?
What Is Coconut Water?
Coconut water is harvested from young green coconuts, when they have reached 5-7 months of age. The sweet clear liquid inside of the undamaged interior cavity is sterile and rich in enzymes, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, electrolytes, cytokine and phyto-hormones.
In tropical areas such as the Philippines, coconut water is known as Buko and has long been a popular drink. Coconuts are grown all over the world in over 90 different countries. Their growing region ranges anywhere from as far north as Hawaii and as far south as Madagascar. There are over 80 different varieties of the coconut palm including dwarf species. Although, the common coconut of today is monotypic with one species, nucifera.
Health Benefits Of Coconut Water
Rich in nutrients
Some of the trace minerals found in coconut water are magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, potassium and iron. Coconut water also contains B vitamins 3, 5, 6 and 9, as well as vitamins C, E, and K.
Cytokinins are plant hormones or phyto-hormones found in coconut water that have an anti-aging effect. Cytokinins work by regulating the plants growth, development and aging. Research reported in The Journal of Anti-Aging Medicine that when human cells were exposed to cytokinins that aging slowed down dramatically.
When you sweat your body excretes a nutrient rich soup including electrolytes and minerals. Coconut water is naturally abundant in electrolytes, potassium, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium. This make coconut water far superior to sports drinks that often contain artificial flavors, colors preservatives and other questionable ingrediants.
Aids In Weight Loss
The hydrating effects of coconut water also helps you to lose weight. When you are de-hydrated your body temperature falls. Because coconut water keeps your body hydrated it raises your body temperature, thus aiding in weight loss. Coconut water also helps you shed water weight by acting as a diuretic.
Most of the coconut drinks on store shelves are not going to have many of the health benefits as described above. This is because most of them have been pasteurized. Pasteurization happens when a liquid is heated to high temperatures to kill bacteria. This process extends shelf life, but unfortunately it destroys many of its nutrients and denatures enzymes.
Some coconut waters also may contain ‘natural flavors’, your guess is as good as mine. Just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s necessarily something you want to consume. Why are they hiding behind this term? This is the question I would like to have answered. I am going to take an educated guess and say it’s probably because if you knew what it was then you wouldn’t buy their product. Just saying!
You also want to make sure that the coconut water you choose is taken from organically grown coconuts. Most of the water being harvested today, comes from a dwarf hybrid that yield a high liquid content, but are heavily fertilized and sprayed with pesticides.
The best way to reap the benefits from coconut water is to drink it fresh right out of the young green coconut itself. Although, if you are like me and don’t live in a tropical area the next best thing would be purchasing certified organic raw coconut water.
To find the best coconut water you want to make sure it came from an organically grown, young and green coconut, that hasn’t had its nutrients destroyed by pasteurization. Or, has been enhanced with sweeteners, carbonation and ‘natural flavors’. Always make sure it came from a refrigerated area and is in the raw.
Health fads come and go, but truly healthy foods are not fads.
What’s Your Take On The Coconut Water Fad? Let Me Know In The Comments Below
photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net “Coconut Water Drink” by tiverylucky