Every time I have visited India I have drunk coconut water* fresh from the coconut both as a refreshing beverage and (under duress) for medicinal purposes. It is perceived to be a miracle cure in India and there have been times when I've been really quite sick and my aunties have nodded sagely as they force-fed me the drink. This was usually followed by me rushing to the bathroom to throw it all up again.
You can probably sense that historically I have been cynical about its health benefits but recently I can't seem to open a trashy magazine without seeing a photo of a celebrity with a carton of coconut water in their hands. Here on vacation in sunny California (I’m not gloating – honest), the supermarkets in Palm Desert are piled high with cartons of the stuff and all the cool kids at the Coachella music festival were partying while clutching their nuts (so to speak).
This period of Western enlightenment seems to have occurred following Madonna's investment in Vita Coco - pasteurised coconut water that is being marketed as a healthy substitute for sports drinks because it is high in electrolytes (specifically potassium and magnesium) and contains water for rehydration. It is, however, low in carbohydrates, sodium and protein; all of which are required following intensive training.
So it appears that my aunties may have not been entirely mad and that coconut water may be a low-calorie alternative for rehydration after short-duration, moderate intensity training sessions or a severe case of Delhi belly. In the mean time in case you are struggling to source pre-packaged coconut water I have detailed a recipe for the “home-made” version below.
* It should not be confused with coconut milk which is coconut flesh pureed with water. The milk is high in saturated fat and thus calories - worth remembering as you tuck into your creamy Thai curry. Coconut water is the translucent liquid at the centre of unripe, green coconuts. As the coconut ripens the liquid is replaced by coconut flesh and air.
- 1 green coconut
- Obtain green coconut
- Using a large machete hack away at the top
- Insert straw and sip