Coconut water is the name given to the liquid contained within a a coconut. The best time to harvest a coconut for water is during its gren "jelly" stage - at about nine months old. Once the coconut has fallen from the tree the water should be extracted within 24 hours.
As well as being a tasty beverage, there are numerous health benefits associated with drinking coconut water. A standard cup contains approximately 400mg of potassium (about seven times the amount found in cranberry juice) and around 250mg of sodium. It is also a low calorie drink, a sandard cup contains 50 calories, no fat and no cholesterol. The nutrients contained in coconut water are know to aid in the prevention of a number of major diseases, including hypersensitivity and goiter.
Coconut water also has the same electroyte balance as human blood. In fact, coconut water was used by doctors in the Vietnam war as a plasma substitute when IV solutions were not available and sometimes even injected direcly in to a patients veins.
Don't worry if you can't get fresh coconuts in your country as you may be able to get hold of bottled coconut water. In the past coconut water has been very difficult to bottle as it begins the fermentation process as soon as it is exposed to the air. This has meant that, in order for coconut water to be bottled it was necessary to treat the fresh water using ultra high termperatures to prevent fermentation and bacterial growth; a process which significantly impaired the tast and nutritional qualities of the drink. However, a cold preservation treatment has now been developed in Jamaica by the University of the West Indies along with the Coconut Industies Board and Scientifc Research Council which allows refrigirated coconut water to stay fresh for up to three weeks.© 2008 Jamaica Travel and Culture .com