|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2012)|
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||63 kJ (15 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 the nuclear phase of development. As growth continues, the endosperm matures into its cellular phase and deposits 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. Processed coconut water for retail can 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 having low levels of fat, carbohydrates, and calories, and significant electrolyte content. However, the contents of primary electrolytes per 100 ml serving, sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium, are negligible (table of nutritional values) unless fortified in manufacturing. Further, marketing claims attributing health benefits to coconut water are not based on science and are disallowed by regulatory agencies, such as the United States Food and Drug Administration.
Unless the coconut has been damaged, it is likely sterile. Coconut water has been used rarely as an intravenous rehydration fluid when medical saline was unavailable. Although this is not recommended by 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 tropical countries where it is available fresh, canned, or bottled.
In a 100 g (ml) serving providing 15 calories, coconut water contains no essential nutrients in significant content, each falling below 10% of the Daily Value (table). Specifically concerning its content of electrolyte minerals in a 100 ml serving, coconut water is a poor source of potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium (table).
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 incorrectly, that coconut water is identical to human plasma for electrolyte content and can be infused directly into human blood. The story has its origin from World War II where British and Japanese patients were given coconut water intravenously in an emergency because saline solution was in short supply. This rehydration technique has been used since only for short-term emergency situations in remote locations where plasma is not available.
Coconut water may be used in folk medicine practices such as the treatment of diarrhea, and the senicide of elderly people, known in India as thalaikoothal. In the latter custom, the elderly person is made to drink an excessive amount of coconut water, eventually resulting in death, the exact causes of which have not been scientifically determined. Supported by anecdote, one presumed factor arising from excessive consumption of coconut water is hyperkalemia, inducing acute kidney failure, loss of consciousness and death.
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Media related to Coconut water at Wikimedia Commons