18 August, 2011

I'm Nuts Oh Nuts For CocoNut Water

Coconut whacking in actionThe first time I had the water from inside of a fresh, green coconut I was in Costa Rica. I was living there as a student doing a university study-abroad program. Like so many other inexperienced, "Gringo" people from the Northern Latitudes, I assumed that "coconut" equaled those shredded, white, sugary yet almost leather-like pieces of goodness that topped a cake or pudding. To be honest, I encountered "coconut" most often in the form of scented body lotion that reminded me of a cream pie. Then when I lived in Brazil, worked on a boat, and exposed to salt water and sun everyday, I drank the water on a regular basis after learning that coconut WATER is like (semi) healing liquid, containing tons of electrolytes (those minerals you might find added to your Gatorade bottle or in those little flavored packets of Emergen-C) that hydrate your body. It tastes good too! 

Fresh coco waterCoconut water also apparently acts like a saline solution when mixed with human blood plasma, which has lead many coconut water companies that bottle the stuff to publish "research" saying that the liquid is the only known substance that can be taken administered intravenously. While these claims do have some truth to them, don't go thinking that coconut is the Fountain of Youth in a hard, green shell found in a palm tree in Paradise. Like anything else that has undeniable health benefits, nothing is a miracle cure. Read this article from GOOD to get more background info on this. True, some coconut taken after a long night of salty tortilla chips and salsa, and sugary alcoholic Margaritas WILL help to hydrate you and stabilize your blood levels, but liquid gold it is not. On the other hand, I do feel pretty rich and pampered when I am on a tropical beach, laying on the sand under a palm tree sipping from a fresh coconut! I may not get that same experience while drinking coconut water out of a plastic bottle, at a table in my house in the middle of my normal day in a busy, cosmopolitan city, but a gal can pretend...right?

Scooping out the flesh of the coconut
Another important use for fresh coconut is to scoop out the soft flesh (it has the consistency of thick pudding or soft cheese at this stage before it is dried) when you are finished drinking the water.

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