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Feature: Tender coconut water - Sipping health!
Monday, 02 April, 2012, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Sree Kumar Poduval
The demand for tender coconut water is spiralling rapidly as people are realising the health benefits it truly offers. This refreshing drink is filled with many healthy natural nutrients which can enhance the body's metabolism and immunity. Used more as a health supplement, the Amy & Brian coconut juice is rich in essential minerals and elements like potassium.

The drink is highly recommended by fitness and nutrition experts as a re-hydrating agent. The re-hydration property helps a person in regaining the energy and thereby coping with the calorie depletion during workouts.

The key feature of the drink is that it is the natural coconut juice obtained from the tender coconut seeds of the coconut tree. This natural drink is widely marketed across the world owing to the huge demand it receives as an energy boosting drink. The Amy & Brian coconut juice is available in ounce cans pack. Many dietitians advice to use the drink for its potassium properties rather than digesting bananas as the former has more potassium content than the latter. It also has good mineral content compared to other fruit and vegetable juices.

This low calorie juice contains a huge amount of healthy vitamins and nutrients because it does not have the presence of unhealthy artificial sweetening agents which degrade the minerals and nutrients slowly. Interestingly enough, this coconut juice gets easily absorbed into the body as it is similar to the plasma with the concentration of salt in it. The natural isotonic beverage is available in usually three forms as the one with pulp, without pulp and with lime content.

Popular in tropics

Coconut water has long been a popular drink in the tropics, especially in India, South-East Asia, Pacific Islands such as Hawaii and the Caribbean, where it is available fresh, canned, or bottled. It's a natural isotonic beverage with the same level of electrolytic balance as we have in our blood. The water of tender coconut, technically the liquid endosperm, is the most nutritious wholesome beverage that nature has provided for the people of the tropics to fight the sultry heat. It has caloric value of 17.4 per 100 gm. On a percentage basis coconut water is 94.5 % water. The rest would contain: Protein 0.15 to 0.55 %, fat 0.1%, ash 0.46%, carbohydrates 4.4%.

It keeps the body cool and fights intestinal worms. It is an excellent tonic for the old and sick and in the treatment of kidney and urethral stones. The major chemical constituents of coconut water are sugars and minerals and minor ones are fat and nitrogenous substances. It contains glucose and fructose and many important minerals such as phosphorous, calcium, potassium, iron, sodium and vitamin B and C. Tender coconut water is not merely a thirst quenching drink but a mineral drink that cures most of human diseases and helps one regain lost health.

Part of tradition

Its numerous medicinal properties have been described elaborately in our Ayurvedic literature and no other natural drink has such diverse applications as water of tender coconut. "It is unctuous, sweet, increasing semen, promoting digestion and clearing the urinary path," says Ayurveda on tender coconut water. The use of tender coconut water as intravenous fluid for human patients has also been reported from many countries. Tender coconut water has been given intravenously to cholera epidemic victims in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Bangladesh and India.

Tender coconut water has been generally offered to patients with diarrhoea in many tropic regions to replace fluid loss from the gastrointestinal tract and reduce the need for intravenous therapy. Tender coconut water has been used successfully in the cases of malnutrition and infant gastric disorders. Tender coconut water is known as the richest source of electrolytes, and hence is greatly recommended for people who are suffering from any illness. It also contains high amounts of chlorides, potassium, and magnesium and moderate amounts of sugar, sodium and protein. Potassium from drinking coconut water can help to regulate blood pressure and heart function. It is also an excellent source of dietary fibre, manganese, calcium, riboflavin and vitamin C. Application on the body prevents prickly heat and summer boils and subsides the rashes caused by small pox, chicken pox, measles, etc. It is also effective in the treatment of kidney and urethral stones.

Sugars in the forms of glucose and fructose form an important constituent of the tender coconut water. The concentration of sugars in the nut water steadily increases

from about 1.5 per cent to about 5 - 5.5 per cent in the early months of maturation and then slowly falls reaching about 2 per cent at the stage of the full maturity of the nut. In the early stages of maturity sugars are in the form of glucose and fructose (reducing sugars) and sucrose (non-reducing sugar) appears only in later stages which increases with the maturity while the reducing sugars fall. In the fully mature nut approximately 90 per cent of the total sugars is sucrose. Tender coconut water contains most of the minerals such as potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphorous, iron, copper, sulphur and chlorides. Tender coconut water being rich in potassium and other minerals plays a major role to increase the urinary output.

Coconut water contains small amounts of protein. The percentage of arginine, alanine, cystine and serene in the protein of tender coconut water is higher than those in cow's milk. Tender coconut water contains both ascorbic acid and vitamins of B group. The concentration of ascorbic acid ranges from 2.2 to 3.7 mg per ml, which gradually diminishes as the kernel surrounding the water begins to harden.

Coconut water contains high levels of lauric acid which is what is used by the body to make monolaurin - a disease fighting fatty acid derivative. Lauric acid has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties which protect the body against various infections and boosts the immune system. category in the US, but now companies need to take it to the next level

Indian market scenario

Tender coconut water has today become the heartthrob for millions of Indians. This wholesome, nutritious drink has suddenly turned leader in the keenly competitive soft drink market too. Even before the ongoing `cola' storm and the shocking revelations of Centre for Science and Environment that upset the soft drink market, tender coconut water was the most preferred drink of the city folks. Nearly 10 years back there were only few outlets to sell this Nature's own drink in Kochi. And they primarily looked towards the sick as potential customers, for it was often prescribed as a nutritional drink. The efforts of the Coconut Development Board, which set up around 20 `Elaneer Pandals' in Kochi city to promote this drink paid dividends. Now there are around 100 outlets, spread all over the city, selling this very popular drink. Tender coconut water is available in every nook and corner of the city. It is sold not just at the exclusive outlets, by footpath vendors, but almost every fruit stall, cool drink parlour, restaurant and even in star hotels.

In tune with the changing times, `the product' has also undergone many changes. It is now available in tetra packs and cans, but is still able to retain its medicinal and nutritional values. Artificially packed tender coconut water is fast gaining popularity in all the metros. There are five firms who market this on a large scale. Competition leads to innovation and this is true in the case of this soft drink also.

Today the tender coconut water has turned the ci
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