It describes the coconut, gives its many uses by Jamaicans and its nutritional benefits.
What is Coconut Water?
Coconut water is a clear cool refreshing liquid that is found in the coconut. It is found in most tropical countries. The coconut has a hard outer part called a husk with an inner fibrous section and an innermost middle shell which gets harder as the coconut matures. Inside this shell you may find a clear gel and some liquid, which is the water. Here in Jamaica the gel is called the ‘jelly’; if the coconut is young this ‘jelly’ will be soft. However, this ‘jelly’ will be harder and a ‘fleshy white ‘meat’ if the coconut is mature. The taste of coconut water varies according to the age of the coconut; the younger coconut taste ‘fresh’ while the older coconut may taste sweeter. The younger coconut contains fructose and glucose, but as the coconut matures these sugars change to sucrose.
Here in Jamaica coconuts are often call ‘jelly’ and the vendor who is usually male is called ‘jelly man’. Several companies also bottle it for sale. Many Jamaicans prefer the taste of this refreshing liquid to plain water.
Uses of Coconut Water
Jamaicans drink coconut water to prevent and cure many illnesses. It is used to
- relieve thirst and tiredness and also as a quick source of energy.
- rehydrate the body.
- stop diarrhea and to improve digestion.
- promote weight loss.
- prevent heart conditions. The Jamaican phrase for this is, ‘coconut water washes off the heart’.
- cleanse/detoxify the liver.
- increasing the amount of urine produced by the kidneys.
- lower the blood pressure. The young coconut is used along with lime juice to lower the blood pressure.
- improve the taste of vegetable juices. When blending vegetables it is used instead of tap water. When tap water is used it creates the need for a sweetener.
Some of the Nutrients in Coconut Water
Coconut water is high in vitamins and minerals. It contains vitamin B and C and the minerals/natural salts sodium, potassium and magnesium. It also has small amounts of selenium, zinc and copper. The minerals actually exist as electrolytes (minerals/salts in water). These electrolytes make coconut water one of the highest natural source of electrolytes; it has the same level of electrolytes as the blood. So when used as a rehydrate it supplies the body with the necessary minerals and so helps the body to retain water and to boosts its energy. It is this property that made it useful as an emergency substitute for intravenous fluids during the Second World War.
Electrolytes are also very important to the proper functioning of the nerves, heart and other muscles. The nerve fibers and cells are surrounded by electrolytes which allow the transmission of messages from the nerves to various parts of the body. Its high potassium level makes it useful in lowering the blood pressure, preventing a stroke and so helps to keep the heart healthy. It is like a cleanser cleaning the organs and removing poisons from the body. It is also believed that its cleansing ability helps to improve cholesterol and keeps the blood vessels free of plaque.
It has fewer sugars than most other fruits and so is low in calories and is safe for diabetics and persons concern with weight loss. Vitamin B helps in the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and proteins and so increases the body’s metabolic rate enabling healthy weight loss. The amino acids help with the enzyme-digestion action of the stomach restoring balance especially after a bout of digestive problems. Its natural mineral content can act as a taste enhancer when combined with vegetable based juices.
Coconut water is really super water; drinking coconut water regularly is good for your health.
Published in: Gardening