Coconut Water: Fountain of Youth?

You may have noticed a somewhat recent emergence of coconut water displays such as Vita Coco at the front aisles in your neighborhood grocers.  Coconuts have been an all-time staple fruit in regions such as Southeast Asia and the Caribbean, but suddenly we are seeing an influx of health benefits associated with this otherwise common warm climate fruit.  Is it simply the next nutrition fad? Or is there irrefutable evidence that we should be mainlining the stuff?

Akin to the steadily fading Acai trend, the advantages of coconut water have fast become inflated and perhaps overstated in the westernized world.  But I’ll hand it to those palm trees, the fruits of their labor are absolutely delicious.  I experienced my first genuine hit of this thirst-quenching beverage while traveling through Thailand in April, and subsequently consumed it nearly every day of my trip as a tasty defense against dehydration.  As someone who is most familiar with throwing back fruit juice in dire times of diabetic low blood glucose, it was a welcomed treat to consume something other than water; both free of artificial sweeteners and loaded sugars.  Particularly while grappling with balancing insulin and blood sugars in 40 degree humidity.  It also didn’t hurt that you could buy a fresh coconut from a street vendor for as little as 30 Baht (roughly a dollar).  The power of advertising was evident as I couldn’t help but think I was doing my body good with antioxidants, electrolytes, and added potassium.  It has also been recommended as one of the world’s natural hangover cures, which is debatable.

So yes, I wouldn’t turn away an endless supply of this fountain-of-youth serum, however I predict the North American $3 juice box container-sized amount will still only appeal to a niche market.  But if you are ever meandering through street vendors in Koh Tao, Thailand, be sure to stop and grab yourself a coconut water.  It even surpasses home-made lemonade.

Nutritional buzz: 45 Calories per 250 ml serving | 515 mg Potassium | 15 g Carbohydrates; 11 g naturally occuring sugar | Vitamin C enriched.

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