Editor’s Note: Live from Bangalore, India, Bindu Grandhi (flexitarian cookbook author and regular Live Lighter guest blogger) shares with us the health benefits and earthly pleasures of consuming fresh coconuts.
One of the greatest pleasures I seek every time I visit Bangalore is drinking fresh coconut water. Not only is it nature’s health remedy to just about every problem you can think of, its amazing taste is totally refreshing and cools you down.
The coconut vendors – mostly men with 50+ green coconuts strapped to their bikes – strategically position themselves on street corners, by the parks, basically where ever there are crowds.
So here I am at Rose Garden Park waiting for the vendor to select a coconut using a special technique of tapping and swirling. He then uses a “mochhu” (a small sickle) to chop off the top of the coconut, inserts a straw and I sip away!
After drinking the water, the vendor breaks open the coconut and scoops out the inner coconut flesh. (The younger the coconut the more thinner and tender the flesh, while mature coconuts have thick flesh which can be used in cooking.) It too is so delish and I hand the empty coconut shell to the vendor who throws it into a pile.
Those empty coconuts will be recycled into making hand bags, coir floor mats, rope, scrubbing pads (like brillo), stuffing for mattresses and a whole lot more. The entire process is so eco-friendly!
Coconut water is extracted from a coconut that is too young to have formed milk. Besides being so tasty, the water has loads of nutritional benefits. It is low in calories, fat free and packed with electrolytes and natural sugars unlike processed sugars found in juices.
Best of all, it is an excellent re-hydrator. It has more potassium than most of the sports and energy drinks out there, and is lower in sodium. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, this drink contains the same five electrolytes found in human blood while Gatorade has only two.
They dubbed it “the fluid of life,” and rightly so – in medical emergencies, coconut water has been used intravenously when conventional hydration fluids were unavailable.
Advocates of coconut water maintain it can do everything from boost your immune system to reduce menstrual cramps, improve muscle performance, cleanse the endocrine system, aid in digestion, rid diarrhea and even lower the risk for cancer.
While there is no significant research to substantiate these claims, I will tell you my ancestors swear to its near magical potency. Coconut water has recently caught on as a sports drink among high profile athletes, a cure for a hangover among partiers and a healthy drink for those seeking optimal health and energy.
As you know I always believe fresh is best, so buy coconuts from your local or specialty grocery stores and crack it open for a taste of heaven.
But if you can’t find fresh, here are some brands that are popular – Zico, O.N.E., VitaCoco (a favorite of Madonna’s) and Nirvana Young Coconut Water. My friend has tried almost every brand out there and insists that Nirvana, which can be found in Whole Foods, is the best.
So here’s my takeaway, I’m going to start drinking coconut water for a post-workout energy boost or occasionally drink it in lieu of OJ for a little extra health and well-being…..Cheers!
- Coconut Water: A Natural Healthy Drink (She Radiance Magazine)
- The New Hangover Cure and Sports Drink (Suite101.com)
- Coconut Water: Nature’s Sweet, Low-Cal Hangover Relief (Time Magazine)
About the Author
Author of Spice Up Your Life, Bindu Grandhi is passionate about healthy and flavourful cooking, especially when it’s flexitarian. She shares her health knowledge with the world by providing practical, healthy and tasty recipes as The Flex Cook.