|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2012)|
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||79 kJ (19 kcal)|
|Dietary fibre||1.1 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.||
|Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Coconut water is the clear liquid inside young green coconuts (fruits of the coconut palm). In early development, it serves as a suspension for the endosperm of the coconut during their nuclear phase of development. As growth continues, the endosperm mature into their cellular phase and deposit into the rind of the coconut meat. Coconuts for drinking are served fresh, chilled or packaged in many places. They are often sold by street vendors who cut them open with machetes or similar implements in front of customers. Coconut water can also be found in ordinary cans, tetra paks, or plastic bottles (sometimes with coconut pulp or coconut jelly included).
In recent years, coconut water has been marketed as a natural energy or sports drink due to its high potassium and mineral content. Marketers have also promoted coconut water for having low levels of fat, carbohydrates, and calories. However, marketing claims attributing tremendous health benefits to coconut water are largely unfounded.
Unless the coconut has been damaged, it is likely sterile. There is a single documented case where coconut water has been used as an intravenous hydration fluid when medical saline was unavailable. Although this is not generally recommended by most physicians today, it was a common practice during the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979.
Coconut water has long been a popular drink in the tropics, especially in India, Brazilian Coast, Southeast Asia, Pacific Islands, Africa, and the Caribbean, where it is available fresh, canned, or bottled. In the Philippines, it is known as 'buko'.
Coconut water has a high potassium content and contains antioxidants. It also contains cytokinins which promote plant cell division and growth. Other biologically active ingredients in coconut water include L-arginine, ascorbic acid and magnesium.
Fresh coconuts are typically harvested from the tree while they are green. A hole may be bored into the coconut to provide access to the liquid and meat. In young coconuts, the liquid and air may be under some pressure and may spray slightly when the inner husk is first penetrated. Coconuts which have fallen to the ground are susceptible to rot and damage from insects or animals.
It is said, albeit quite incorrectly, that coconut water is identical to human plasma and can be injected directly into the human bloodstream. The story has its origin from World War II where British and Japanese patients were given coconut water intravenously because saline solution was in short supply. Doctors today say that they would not be inclined to set up a coconut water IV for dehydrated patients. It could cause elevated calcium and potassium, which could be dangerous. The Documentation Center of Cambodia has cited the practice of allowing untrained nurses to administer coconut water infusions in its list of medical practices for which the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity.
In India, coconut water is traditionally used in the senicide of elderly family members known as Thalaikoothal. In this custom, the elderly person is given an extensive oil-bath early in the morning and subsequently made to drink glasses of tender coconut water in excess, which results in renal failure, high fever, fits, and death within a day or two. Kidney failure is the principal outcome of untreated coconut water-induced hyperkalaemia.
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Media related to Coconut water at Wikimedia Commons