The fifth and final hydrating food of the Water-Rich Series is definitely worthy of being the finale. There's a reason Disney's Moana asked us to "Consider the Coconut"- it gives us so many different food products, from water to fibers to oil. Coconut water can add just an extra level of flavor and fun to your summer adventures.
Hydration: 90% water
high in potassium and other electrolytes
low in carbohydrates
low in fat and protein
In Season: available year-round
A Brief History
The coconut palm has been aptly referred to as "The Tree of Life", and many historians believe that these tropical nuts were traded along prehistoric routes and colonies. Marco Polo was said to have come across coconuts in his Indonesian travels during the 13th century, although some scholars cite an Egyptian traveler's 5th century record describing an "Indian nut" as the oldest known reference. During the 15th century, the Portuguese merchants used the word coco, referring to a skull or head, to describe the nut that to them resembled a monkey's face.
It takes about 11-12 months for a coconut to mature, but they are worth the wait. Coconut water comes from immature coconuts. Records in the Library of Congress even state that during World War II and the Vietnam War, naturally sterile coconut water was used in place of IV fluid when the fluids were in short supply. Today, it is marketed as an all-natural sports drink alternative due to naturally hydrating properties, minerals, and electrolyte levels. However, a hydrating ideally includes drinking enough regular water throughout the day, and a balanced diet is likely the best option for optimal performance.
Pick a good one
Coconut water is a thin, filmy, clear, sweet liquid harvested from the inside of young, green (immature) coconuts. You can find it on your grocery store shelves or in the refrigerator section. You can also purchase whole coconuts and make it on your own! Buying organic, fair trade coconuts ensures that the production process has considered environmental concerns and is treating coconut farmers fairly.
fresh, un-cracked coconuts can be stored on the counter (DIY coconut water)
add it to an exotic dish
add it in a curry
in vegan recipes
paired with bananas, chocolate, ginger, cinnamon, papaya, or mango in a smoothie or juice
on its own
as an alternate to fruit juice (but be sure to check the label and make sure sugar has not been added)
Coconut water is an interesting way to add a little variety to your diet, and its hydrating properties are not just hype! Add a little interest to your next summer meal by making coconut water an addition- either as a beverage or as an ingredient in the entree. Coconuts are are a crowd pleaser!
FoodPrint. Real Food Encyclopedia | Coconuts. Grace Communications Foundation. 2020. Accessed at https://foodprint.org/real-food/coconuts/.
Everyday Mysteries. Is a coconut a fruit, nut or seed? Library of Congress. Accessed 2020. Accessed at https://www.loc.gov/everyday-mysteries/item/is-a-coconut-a-fruit-nut-or-seed/.
Gordan B. How Much Water Do You Need. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Accessed at https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/healthy-eating/how-much-water-do-you-need
Hart J, Reynolds K (MSU Extension). Coconut water and coconut oil. Michigan State University. 2013. Accessed at https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/coconut_water_and_coconut_oil
Conway J. Coconut water- Statistics & Facts. Statista. 2018. Accessed at https://www.statista.com/topics/3500/coconut-water/#:~:text=Coconut%20water%20is%20the%20clear,share%20of%20its%20main%20contents.
Wolfram T. Coconut Water- Is It What Its Cracked Up to Be. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2017. Accessed at https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/healthy-eating/coconut-water-is-it-what-its-cracked-up-to-be.