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Coconut Water: Good to Drink, Good to Cook With

 

Within the past few years, coconut water has gone from being a nearly non-existent beverage in the U.S. to a growing multi-million dollar industry that is found everywhere from vending machines, supermarket shelves and bodegas across the country.

Since coconut water, is packed with minerals (such as zinc, copper and potassium) and vitamins (especially the B family) and is believed to have natural health benefits galore, many athletes are turning to coconut water to re-fuel after a workout. While there is some debate about if it can replenish electrolytes as thoroughly as traditional sports drinks, it’s generally accepted that coconut water is a great way to rehydrate; some swear by it as a hangover cure. It’s even been touted for having anti-carcinogenic qualities, although the verdict is still out on that.

Long enjoyed in Latin America and Asia, coconut water is the slightly-sweet, clear liquid in the center of a young, green coconut. (Don’t confuse coconut water, which is fat-free and low in calories, with coconut milk: the latter is an opaque, rich and high-calorie mix of coconut meat and water, and serves as a base for drinks like Piña Coladas.)

Some people love the flavor of coconut water, especially when sipped straight from the tropical fruit. Simply buy a green coconut, whack off the top and stick in a straw. Even if you aren’t a fan of coconut water, you can easily incorporate it into your diet, using it in dishes from soups to desserts, including coconut ices. The water adds an exotic sweetness flavor to dishes and adds nutrients galore, with few calories and no fat.

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