First, let’s differentiate between coconut water and coconut milk, as the two are often confused. Coconut milk is made by grinding up coconut meat and pressing out the liquid. Just like coconut meat from which it is ground, coconut milk is very high in fat and calories. One cup of coconut milk contains about 550 calories, most of them from fat!
Coconut water is the liquid found inside the coconut when you crack it open. It contains no fat and very few calories. One cup of coconut water contains about 50 calories, most of them from natural sugars.
Coconut water contains some other nutrients and is especially high in minerals such as potassium and magnesium. In fact, coconut water has more potassium than a banana. This high potatssium content is one of the primary reason coconut water is touted as being healthy.
Consider this. By eating the recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables (9 servings daily), you will get twice your daily potassium requirements, along with some vitamins, minerals, and fiber not found in coconut water. But the reality for many of us is that we don’t always get our “daily 9,” so supplementing with coconut water is an easy way to try and get what we need outside of our daily diet.
Coconut water is a wonderful product to keep on hand in case someone in your family gets dehydrated. Essentially, coconut water is like “Mother Nature’s Gatorade.” It contains water, simple sugars, and electrolytes (minerals) that are the basis for sports drinks. But since most sports drinks are full of refined sugars, artificial flavoring, and food coloring, coconut water is obviously the more natural choice.
The bottom line is that coconut water is a wonderful, natural source of potassium and other nutrients that can promote good health. It is a great way to get supplemental potassium and to rehydrate when needed. Just remember to watch the calories, as it does contain some sugar.