Fall In Love with the CoCo

Photos by Edgar Azvdo (@edgarazvdo)

 

In most tropical countries with long coastlines where coconut palms grow in abundance, coconut water has always been used as a refreshing drink and a health enhancer.  In fact many coastal communities along the West African coastline used coconut water as a cure for dry eyes, open wounds and dry skin.  African peoples around the world in tropical  areas and people from the Pacific Islands respect the coconut and use all of its parts for food and medicine.

It is only recently that this humble natural beverage has started receiving the attention it clearly deserves in North America and other western state establishments. If you are not familiar with this drink, coconut water is the nearly colorless liquid contained within a coconut. Although it used to be referred to as the milk of coconut, or coconut milk, earlier, it is not to be confused with the white milky liquid extracted from coconut meat.

In its natural form, coconut water is a light, mildly sweet drink with a very slight nutty taste and astringent feel. It cannot compete with sodas or sports drinks in sweetness, but this pure drink is surprisingly satisfying for some. Coconut water from fresh, tender coconuts is the best, but it is now available bottled, with or without added sugar and flavors in various chains. The best, of course, is the 100% natural, with no added sugar or other preservatives or coloring. Which you can still find in places like Dakar, Senegal , Accra, Ghana,  Abidjan, Ivory Coast and St. Lucia

 

Coconut Water Is A Clean Natural Drink

Coconuts are not nuts; they are the fruit of a tall palm Cocos nucifera with large, spreading fronds. The actual edible part is the seed kernel inside the fibrous fruit. What is unique about this seed is the large quantity of edible liquid contained within the kernel. What’s more: it is hermetically sealed in several protective layers that keep moisture, mold and bacteria from contaminating this nature’s bounty. The people of Hawaii call it “neolani” for good reason. It literally translates to “dew from the heavens.” Brilliant.

 

Photo by: Tish Wonders (@tishwonders)

The tops of fresh tender coconuts are usually cut open with a sharp machete to access the goodness inside, which includes both the water and the jelly-like meat.  But did you know that there’s another way to get the coconut water? When a machete is not available, native islanders remove the outer husk by hitting the coconut on a rock to loosen it off the inner shell.This hard shell of the coconut has three eyes, and the largest among them is softer than the others. You can actually poke a hole in this eye with a stick and then upturn the shell over your mouth or insert a straw to suck up the water. It looks like nature designed this soft eye specifically for accommodating a drinking straw. Actually, it is to help the baby plant come out easily when a mature coconut sprouts.

Photo by: Tish Wonders (@tishwonders)

 

When you drink coconut water directly from a freshly cut coconut, It is as clean and pure a drink as you can get. It does not contain any artificial preservatives, nor does it need any additives to make it palatable. It is a far cry from the sodas and juices your palate is familiar with, but most people who get to taste fresh coconut water fall in love with it. Although mild in taste, it satisfies thirst and refreshes the body. When you cannot get fresh coconuts, the next best thing could be bottled coconut water, but always remember to check the label. Get the brand that gives pure, organic coconut water without additives. Proceed with caution.

It Rehydrates You Very Quickly

 

Photo by: Tish Wonders (@tishwonders)

Coconut water has the ability to rehydrate you very quickly because it is readily absorbed into the body. In fact, coconut water is recognized as more hydrating than pure water. Coconut water is identical to human blood plasma and was used for transfusions during World War ll. In places with hot and humid climates where coconut trees naturally grow, people get dehydrated very often due to heavy sweating. Locals and tourists alike find that coconut water is more hydrating than plain water or fruit juices ( which are loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients). In addition, the mineral salts naturally occurring in coconut water speed up the absorption of water through the gut wall.

People who have lost a lot of blood are given coconut water, so are those who are dehydrated because of frequent vomiting and diarrhea. Coconut water is usually well-tolerated by people who suffer from nausea and aversion to food due to metallic taste in the mouth. It is often given to women who cannot keep down any food during the first trimester of pregnancy. It is also common for those who undertake severe fasting for extended periods to break it with a drink of coconut water.

Coconut Water Resolves Dyspepsia (Upset Stomach)

An upset stomach is often thought to result from indigestion, but it can be caused by any number of things, including mild gastrointestinal infections and food allergies. Whatever the reason for the upset stomach, the lining of the stomach is inflamed, and this can cause common symptoms such as nausea, bloating, uneasy feeling and loss of appetite. Coconut water works in a variety of ways to soothe the stomach lining.

An inflamed stomach lining cannot absorb even water and sugars from food. It is often accompanied by loss of essential minerals such as sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Coconut water contains tannins, which are known to reduce inflammation.

‘Brat,’ (which stands for banana, rice, applesauce and toast) has been a traditional remedy for upset stomach. Coconut water can take its place as it contains more potassium than bananas. It also provides other minerals, vitamins, and some natural sugar in an absorbable form.

Other important plant food to supplement your diet
Photo by: Tish Wonders (@tishwonders)

 

Coconut water  along with other plant food can even handle mild infections. It contains lauric acid which is abundant in human breast milk. The body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, a compound with proven antimicrobial properties. If a stomach problem is the result of bacterial or protozoan infections or stomach flu, frequent drinks of coconut water can help. The tannins in the water also have antibacterial properties. Ideally you would want to drink a nice tall glass of this every morning when you wake up.