Ms. C is a young member of The S File™ team. She sometimes suffers from stomach discomfort so I always find it interesting to hear which remedies help her. Below, she shares her experience and research on coconut water.
-- Ms. S
Whenever my body is feeling run down, whether I'm fighting a cold or feeling dehydrated, I have discovered coconut water cures my pain. About a year ago, a friend of mine introduced coconut water to me when I was complaining of bad stomach pains. Prone to stomach issues, I thought I had figured out all the tricks to soothe an upset stomach (hot water with lemon and mint is a favorite). Yet, when the pain persisted I took my friend's advice and tried some coconut water. The drink quickly worked its magic and has now become a staple in my diet! Having never given much thought on how this drink restores my body, I decided it was time to dig deeper!
What is Coconut Water?
Coconut water is the clear liquid inside the center of young coconuts that is naturally fat-free and low in sugar. Young coconuts have a light green outer husk and are easy to pierce which makes them easy to harvest for coconut water. Coconuts from different parts of the world have different tastes due to the soil on which the coconuts were raised. Coconut water has been a popular drink in India, Southern Asia, the South American Tropics, the Pacific Islands, and the Caribbean, where it is available fresh from the fruit!
Five Essential Electrolytes
Different than coconut milk (which is the ground and squeezed flesh of older coconuts), coconut water is celebrated by raw foodists for its nutrients. Coconut water contains more potassium than a banana, has no fat, no cholesterol and is low in sugar. Packed with five essential electrolytes, sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium and phosphorus, coconut water is a VERY healthy alternative to any bottled sports drink. It makes a fantastic pre- or post- workout drink while it is also beneficial anytime as it helps boost immunity and blood circulation. According to the American Society for Nutrition, coconut water is prescribed for dehydration in some parts of the world.
While coconut water may not have as much sodium as bottled sports drinks (sodium is the main electrolyte lost during intense physical activity), Gatorade and other brands also contain harmful ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, artificial food colorings and added sugars. Coconut water is a much healthier alternative. Just couple it with some salted nuts or pretzels!
Where to Find Them?
While fresh coconut water straight from a straw in a young coconut is ideal, it can be a bit intimidating and hard to find. (Whole Foods has them sometimes, as do cold-pressed juice bars.) If you are able to find young coconuts, check out this step-by-step guide on How to Open a Coconut. If you find them in a store, you can likely have them open the coconut for you.
There are many packaged brands of coconut water that can be found in Whole Foods, Trader Joes and even Target and some chain drugstores across the nation. Although some flavors may contain added ingredients, there are several which list coconut water as their only ingredient.
Vita Coco, started by two childhood friends in 2004, sources their coconuts from Brazil and is the current lead brand of coconut water. In early 2010 many high-profile individuals invested in Vita Coco such as Madonna, Matthew McConaughey and Demi Moore. Zico is another popular brand available in BPA-free bottles, and One Natural Experience (O.N.E.) caught the eye of PepsiCo which has invested in the company. While these three brands have dominated mainstream coconut water, just yesterday I saw two new brands producing bottled coconut water.
As I mentioned at the start of the post, I turn to this drink whenever I have a stomach ache or any digestive problems. Especially after a long night, coconut water has this incredible ability to soothe my stomach and alleviate any pains. Recently, I've been experimenting with drinking coconut water before going to the gym and it has increased my energy and led to better workouts. I highly suggest sampling coconut water if you haven't already. It does wonders for my health and tastes amazing!
Have you tried coconut water before? Let us know what you think!