Coconut water is low-calorie, natural sports drink
Remember when coconut meant coconut cake, fruit ambrosia garnish or a poolside pina colada? Well, now there's a coconut craze going on from lip-gloss flavors to fancy drinking water.
Registered dietitian Janet Helm, who writes about "fad-free healthy eating" in her Nutrition Unplugged blog (nutritionunplugged.com), notes: "Coconut water has been anointed nature's sports drink, and cartons of the electrolyte-laden liquid are appearing in gyms, yoga studios and the hands of the Hollywood elite."
Recent studies show coconut water, not to be confused with its higher-calorie cousins coconut milk and coconut cream, does deliver low-calorie, fat-free sports-drink-like benefits after strenuous exercise.
Nuts for coconuts
Coconut water: A clear, thin liquid from inside green or young coconuts. Not calorie free.
Per cup: 20 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 250 milligrams potassium, 150 milligrams sodium. Great for hydrating if you like the taste and tad pricey price.
Coconut milk: A thick, white liquid made by extracting some fat from the grated meat of a mature coconut.
Per cup: 197 calories, 20 grams saturated fat. Only 18 milligrams calcium per cup, compared to 122 milligrams in cow's milk.
Coconut cream: This is the almost-solid cream that rises to the top of coconut milk; often sold in cans with added sugars and thickeners.
Per cup: 400 (gulp) calories, 30 grams saturated fat.
Coconut oil: Extracted from coconut meat.
Per tablespoon: 117 calories, 12 grams saturated fat.
Shredded coconut: The dried meat from coconut is typically sweetened.
Per half-cup: 250 calories, 16 grams saturated fat.
Source: USDA Nutrient Data Base