The newest trend in beverages this year is coconut water.
Have you seen it in stores? If you haven't yet, get ready to see it everywhere!
What is it? Coconut water is the nutrient-rich liquid that comes from a young green coconut. It's not the same as coconut milk, which is part of the flesh of the coconut, and is much higher in fat and calories (coconut milk is typically used in coconut-based dishes like Thai curry and desserts). Coconut water is what you would get if you stuck a straw into a young coconut and started sipping!
Why should you drink it? Coconut water is a natural source of electrolytes (potassium, chloride, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium) and it's rich in Vitamin C. It's also fat free, low in sugar and low in calories (about 60 calories for 11 oz).
Where can you find it? If you find yourself in the Pacific Islands, then just bore into the top of a coconut, slip in a straw, and start sipping! Otherwise, you'll have to drink it from a box. Popular brands include Zico, Vita Coco and O.N.E. You can find these at natural grocery stores like Healthway, Whole Foods and Harris Teeter. Be careful of the flavored versions, as they may have more sugar.
How do you drink it? Many people use coconut water as they would a recovery sports drink to replenish electrolytes. You can use it as the liquid in smoothies or shakes, as a soup base, or in place of water when making rice and other grains. You can also make refreshing summer drinks using coconut water as the base, and even use it to make flavorful ice cubes!
So, what do you think? Do you drink coconut water? How do you like it best?
Danielle Omar, MS, RD
The Food Confidence Expert