I am a coconut lover—the taste, the aroma—it’s intoxicating to me and makes me think of summer, any time of the year! Back in the days when I could eat anything and never gain an ounce, all my favorite foods seemed to have sweet and sticky coconut in them—Mounds, Almond Joys, Hostess Sno Balls, coconut cream pie, macaroons, Samoas, the list goes on—all full of sugar and fat, and not the good kind! Recently we have all started seeing many new, healthful coconut products in every section of the supermarket: coconut water, coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut oil, coconut yogurt, coconut ice cream, coconut snacks! There’s also a plethora of coconut body products, all sweetly smelling of a day on a tropical island beach. Now there are lots of great guilt-free ways to get my coconut fix!
My first foray into the exploration of this coconut craze is coconut water. We need to drink water to quench our thirst and to hydrate our bodies. So if drinking water is essential, could coconut water be just as good for us or even better? Coconut water is the clear liquid that comes from the center of the young green coconut. What we do know about it is that it is a good substitute for sports drinks because it’s naturally rich in electrolytes, low in calories and sugar, fat-free and cholesterol free. There are many claims about the miraculous benefits of drinking coconut water and, so far, there is no scientific evidence to support that it helps prevent cancer, strokes or heart disease. There are anecdotal reports of anti-aging in the skin, digestive benefits from its enzymes, treatment of stomach flu—my friend believes that drinking it is helping to alleviate her dry eyes! Since we do need to drink plenty of water daily, why not try substituting coconut water for your water bottles, especially after working out, and see how you feel about it?
There are so many brands of coconut water out there and I sampled several. For more detailed info about the products, click on the links embedded in the names….
11 oz. Container, 60 calories, 650 mg of potassium and 23 mg of magnesium
Very faint greenish, nutty flavor and is light in consistency, also comes in mango, peach and lychee flavors
14 oz. Bottle, 70 calories, 610 mg potassium, 10% RDA magnesium
Slightly sweet flavor and less nutty, heavier in consistency.
8 oz. servings, 60 calories, potassium not listed
Light and nutty, little pieces of pulp, fresh tasting
11 oz. Container, 80 calories, 630 mg potassium, 2% RDA magnesium, 90% RDA Vitamin C
Not overpowering in fruit flavors, tastes somewhat like a light nectar, several flavors
8.5 oz container, 75 calories, 299 mg. Potassium, no mention of magnesium, 172% RDA Vitamin C
Great combination of coconut flavor with pineapple, slightly pina-colada in taste
9.5 oz container, 70 calories, 600 mg potassium, 9% RDA magnesium
Mixture of aloe and coconut with aloe pulp, an acquired taste and texture, benefit of Aloe’s healing properties
6.75 oz juice box, 70 calories, 250 mg potassium, 4% RDA magnesium, 100% Vitamin C. Great combo of the coconut flavor with tropical punch, good alternative for kids who are running miles on the soccer field and replenish with sports drinks
To please my own taste buds, coconut water tastes best when it’s very cold and has a natural tropical fruit flavoring. Of course, along with this flavoring may come some additional calories and possibly less electrolytes. I’m going to drink a bottle of coconut water after my workout for a couple of weeks and see how I feel.
Incorporating coconut water into your recipes as a substitute for water in ice pops, oatmeal, soup stock, stir-fry, rice, salad dressings, jello is a good way to get its nutritional properties. Coconut water is great in recipes where the coconut flavoring is the star, like in the following smoothies.
created by Colleen Holland, Associate Editor of VegNews
1 cup coconut water
1 kale leaf
1 tablespoon shredded coconut
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
Blend in a blender, serve immediately.
created by lunchboxbunch.com
11 ounces coconut water, chilled
1/2 cup ice
3/4 cup frozen blueberries
1 tsp lemon or lime juice
1 tsp agave syrup
dash of cayenne (optional)
tip: for an extra creamy – not as frosty coconut water frosty, add in 1/2 frozen banana. For more frosty, add in more ice…for a more coconut water-infused sip, use coconut water ice cubes instead of tap water ice cubes.
Blend. Pour. Serve!
If you have tried other coconut waters that you love, I would love for you to share that information in the comments!
Leaning Into Veganism