Thursday, May 1, 2014

What is Coconut Water? (How coconut water is made, its flavor, uses, and nutritional profile.)

What is Coconut Water?
(How coconut water is made, its flavor, uses, and nutritional profile.)

Coconut water is the clear fluid found in the center of a young (green) coconut. This light, refreshing liquid is low in fat and calories and high in minerals. It's popularity among health enthusiasts has skyrocketed in the past ten years due to its purported, yet undocumented, health benefits.
Coconut water is often confused with the high fat coconut product, coconut milk, which is made by blending and pressing mature coconut flesh to extract its fat, flavor, and juices. The flavor, texture, and nutritional content of these two products are vastly different.

How is Coconut Water Made?
Coconut water can be found in the center of young, immature coconuts. Fresh coconut water is served by simply cutting off the top of a coconut with a machete and inserting a straw. No further processing is required. Because coconut water is contained in the center of the coconut with no access for outside contamination, it is considered sterile unless the outside of the coconut is damaged or otherwise compromised.

How is Coconut Water Used?
Coconut water is used primarily as a beverage. It has a subtle coconut flavor and just a hint of natural sweetness. Coconut water is often served fresh from the coconut as a street food in tropical regions, or can be packed and sold in bottles, cans, or hermetically sealed boxes. Coconut water can also be used as a mixer in cocktails, smoothies, and other mixed drinks.
Bottled coconut water is often sold with pieces of coconut jelly mixed into the water. Coconut jelly is the soft, immature coconut flesh, which is chopped into small pieces that float within the coconut water. Bottled coconut water is often flavored with other fruits and further sweetened to create a variety of refreshing, sweet beverages.

Nutritional Content of Coconut Water
Coconut water is prized for its low fat and low calorie content, while providing many essential minerals, especially sodium and potassium. Because coconut water contains a small amount of carbohydrates and an elevated level of electrolytes, it is often touted as a natural sports drink. One cup of coconut water contains roughly 46 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, 9 grams of carbohydrates, 250 mg of sodium, and 600 mg of potassium. Many health claims have been made about coconut water, but most have not yet been scientifically documented.



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