The Science of Coconut Water.

Source - Coconut water for health and Healing by Bruce Fife, ND.

There is an ocean within us. Water is essential to life.Although we live on dry land, we need a constant source of water every day, at least 3200 ml (13.5 cups). Even our bodies are composed most;y of water, as much as 60 percent. About 90 pounds of the weight of a 150 person comes from water. The remaining 60 pounds comprises solid matter.

Water is found inside and around every living cell in our bodies. It is the solvent in which most other compounds, such as minerals, are dissolved. It is the medium in which most all chemical and electrical reactions in the body take place. The chemical composition of the body's fluids is very precise; it must be because even a slight variation can have serious consequences. Despite influences that constantly effect fluid composition, the body is remarkably effective in responding and maintaining chemical equilibrium.

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During the 19th century, scientists were impressed by the similarity between the mineral content of human body fluids and seawater. It is no wonder we love the beach. It is no wonder I became a long distance ocean swimmer. My longest swim was 12 hours non stop in the open seas. (Ed Hartz). Influenced by Darwinism, the theory was proposed that all life began from a single-celled organism in the sea. Seawater provided the cells with the nutrients and the chemistry they needed for survival. Over the course of millions of years, multi-celled organisms internalized the ocean - to continue bathing the cells in a warm, mineral rich fluid that keeps them alive. The maintenance of the "internal sea" is so important that it is credited with our ability to live on land. Our body's fluid mineral content and temperature are believed to be the same as that of the ocean millions of years ago. The ocean body has become saltier and cooler. But scientists believe we carry the ancient ocean within us. Perhaps this is why we feel so great when we drink coconut water. We are drinking part of the ocean filtered by these wonderful plants, the coconut palm trees.

Whether this theory is accurate or not, it illustrates the fact that the fluids in our bodies contain a large variety of minerals, some in very minute amounts, all of which are necessary for optimal health. Some of these minerals may be toxic in larger quantities but necessary in the proportions they are found in the sea. Minor minerals like iodine, zinc, and molybdenum have a less dramatic, but no less essential, impact on our health and our life.

We need the major minerals in relatively large amounts to maintain consistent levels in our body. The loss of even a small percent can have dramatic effects. A drop of just 6 percent in potassium, for instance, can cause complete heart failure. Because the need for trace minerals is much less, a deficiency may be tolerated for a longer period of time. For example, a deficiency in iodine that is not enough to cause severe symptoms yet still is subnormal, can slow down thyroid function. An underactive thyroid may cause low energy, weight gain, irritability, hair loss, depression, dry skin and hair, constipation, reduced resistance to infections, and other symptoms. while these conditions are not in themselves fatal, if the problem is not corrected they can set the stage for more health serious problems later on. A deficiency can exist in any number of trace minerals necessary for optimal health.

The minerals in the sea and in the fluids of our internal sea are in the form of electrolytes. Electrolytes, also known as ions, are atoms or molecules with an electrical charge.

coconut water

Coconut Palm Facts:
Of the more than 1500 species in the Palm family of plants (Palmaceae), the Coconut palm is the best known.  A unique tree, with no really close relatives (it is the only member of the genus Cocos), it is considered to be one of the most useful trees in the world.  A recent study reported 360 contemporary uses for this tree, half of which were for food. 

Several Philippine proverbs demonstrate the usefulness of this species:

“ If you could count the stars, then you could count all the ways the coconut serves us.”

“He who plants a coconut tree, plants vessels and clothing, food and drink, a habitation for himself, and a heritage for his children.”

While the coconut can be found growing throughout the tropical regions of the world, its center of origin is not exactly known. Fossilized coconuts have been found in New Zealand and Australia, and the trees have been cultivated for over 4,000 years in India. This leads most botanists to believe that the species originated somewhere around the Indian Ocean. The exceptionally wide distribution of coconuts today is due to the influence of humans, having been carried from place to place by explorers and immigrants. Since the chief means of dispersal in nature is by the nuts floating in water to distant shores, the existence of all inland coconuts is undoubtedly the result of our actions.

Coconut is recognized by most people, and is often associated with some pristine beach on a tropical island. There are tall varieties which are long lived The un-branched trunk can reach 80-120 feet at before senility. Maturity occurs after 10-12 yrs of trunk growth, and fruit production can continue for 100 yrs. The graceful trunk is topped by a crown of fronds each up to 20 feet in length. The trunk is seldom straight, and often reaches to the light and leans due to load, and instability of the soil. There are also dwarf varieties which produce much earlier with commonly sweeter fruits. As early as three years old the tree begins to produce male and female flowers, followed shortly thereafter by fruits (nuts). The nuts reach full size at about six months from pollination, but take almost a whole year to reach full maturity with slight expansion of the sutures on the shell. A productive coconut can be expected to produce 80-200+fruits a year, under ideal conditions. The dwarf coconuts’ lifespan is approximately 40 to 60 years. Grown primarily as a small holder crop, the annual worldwide production is staggering. An estimated 17 billion nuts are harvested each year from 9 million acres of usually family farms. The Philippine Islands and Indonesia lead the world in production followed by India, Brazil,Caribean countries, Pacific nations, West Africa. 

Coconut Water
, also known as tender coconut or coconut juice, is the nutritious clear liquid that is inside the coconut fruit.It is undergoing an incredible process of aggregation of cell structures around a naked cell nuclei, prior to being deposited as kernel/coconut flesh on the inner wall of the coconut shell. So, for best results, consume it shortly after delicate harvest from the coconut tree. While the husk is still moist and before the shell completely hardens and the kernel is finished being deposited. Or, when they are still young, green, and the flesh is just forming or still rubbery

Coconut water is a popular healthy refreshing drink in most all tropical regions, where it is available fresh, canned, or bottled. In the US, it is being marketed in the sports drink category, and is often sold in bottles and tetra packs, yet it is so much more, and fresh is always best.

Coconut water is low in sugar and fat but high in electrolytes such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus, making it a better isotonic drink than any sports beverage sold on the market.

Coconut water is also considered as a “fluid of life” because it contains many key nutrients such as Lauric acid, Chloride, Iron, Zinc, Manganese and Selenium as well as important electrolytes. A healthy balance of electrolytes and minerals are essential for optimal health of our cardiovascular, muscles, nervous and immune systems.

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Caption: (Above) This illustration showcases the ecology of how the coconut gets its delicious water. The light and radiant energy of the sun absorbed into the palm fronds.
The ocean mist, rain and ocean water absorbed through the fronds and the very extensives root system. All of these amazing processes contribute to the high electrolyte content and delicious taste of the life giving water inside the coconut fruit itself.


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The Many Health Benefits of Coconut Water.

1. Reduce high blood pressure
Coconut water is high in potassium and some studies have reported that low levels of potassium has been linked to high blood pressure. Therefore, drinking coconut water regularly can help in regulating blood pressure.Similar recent studies also have found that coconut water can help raise HDL (good) cholesterol, which makes it an excellent natural treatment for maintaining good cardiovascular health.

2. Strengthen the Immune System
The lauric acid in Coconut water has antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, and antiprotozoal properties, which help strengthen the body’s immune system against a variety of viruses and illness. In fact human breast milk is the other primary source in nature of monolaurin which aids in immune development. You can call young coconut the bosom of nature preferred by many tropical women for weaning their children onto and soothing infants in the same biochemical way breast milk does.

3. Keep Body Hydrated
Since coconut water is packed with the same electrolytes that the body has, including potassium, magnesium, chloride, calcium and sodium. Altogether, they play an important role in keeping the body/brain hydrated during physical activities and balanced during psychological stress. Even the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have introduced processes to package coconut water as the next big sports drink.

4. Helps Lose Weight
Coconut water is low in calories and 99% fat-free. A serving of coconut water has just 46 calories. So regular intake of coconut water can help shed unwanted pounds by increasing the metabolic rate.

5. Aids in Digestion and Metabolism
Coconut water contains various bioactive enzymes such as acid phosphatase, catalase, dehydrogenase, diastase, peroxidase and RNA polymerases, which help to overcome the problem of digestion and metabolism. Drinking of coconut water on a regular basis has been shown effective in dealing with abdomenal discomfort.

6. Improve Blood Circulation
Coconut water is also good source of fiber, vitamin C and protein which can help in improving blood circulation and heart rate.

7. Good for Pregnant Women
Coconut water is an efficient natural remedy for pregnant women who suffer from acidity, constipation and heartburn problems. It is also helps boost the levels of amniotic fluid, which plays a vital role in the overall wellness of the baby. With such great benefits, it is no wonder that coconut water is recommended for pregnant women. It is said that consumption during pregnancy can also prevent stretch marks.

8. Treats Urinary Infections
Coconut water is a natural diuretic which helps prevent urinary tract infections (UTI) as well as disolve kidney stones. In fact, in Philippines “buko  juice” has been administered through a kidney dialysis machine and proven to dissolve stonesThey say “a coconut a day keeps urologist away”

9. Promotes Skin Health
Coconut water acts as a light moisturizer which also decreases excessive oil on the skin. This proves to be beneficial for smoothing the skin as well. It can be used directly to a bath or mix with liquid shower gel. This natural water is also best for treating acne and blackheads as well. It has long been used as a beauty spa treatment in SE Asia

10. Increase Energy Levels
The lauric acid in coconut water stimulates the production of thyroid hormones, thereby increasing your metabolic rate, which in turn increase your energy level.

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Coconut Sustainability.
The Amazing Versitility of the Coconut.

Nutmeat:  This firm, white, rich stored food that lines the inside of the seed is very nutritious (one nut has as much protein as 1/4 lb. of beefsteak) and high in calories.  In the United States over 72 million pounds are used each year in candies and confectioneries.

Coconut Oil (Copra Oil):  Extracted from the dried nutmeat of mature seeds, this white, glycerin rich, semi-solid, lard-like fat is stable in air and remains bland and edible for several years.  It is used in soaps, chocolate, candy, ice cream, in baking instead of lard, candles, dyeing cotton, ointments and hair dressings, tooth paste, paints, hydraulic fluids, lubricants, synthetic rubber, plastics, and insecticides.

Coconut Water:  This is the watery fluid contained within immature nuts.  A 5-month old nut will yield about two glassfuls.  It is clear, colorless and contains about two tablespoons of sugar along with vitamins and minerals.  It is so pure and sterile that in World War II both American and Japanese doctors found that in emergencies they could use the coconut water in place of sterile glucose for I.V. solutions.  In plant tissue culturing, coconut water was at one time routinely added to the growing medium because of its wide diversity of nutrients.

Coconut Milk: This white liquid is squeezed from the nutmeat of the coconut seed.  Rich in oils and various nutrients, it is used for sauces and prepared foods.

Growing Point:  There is only one growing point or bud on this tree  -  at its very tip.  It is called the heart and it consists of tightly packed, yellow-white immature leaves about the size of a person's forearm.  Cut from the plant, the heart is the main component of millionaire's salad.  This practice, however, is a terrible waste since the tree will die if the growing point is removed.

Flowers:  Unopened flowers or infloresences are surrounded by a sheath of modified leaves that resemble burlap. The sheath is used as a natural cloth for everything from shoes and caps to helmets for soldiers. If the flowers are bound together tightly to prevent their opening, and then cut at the tips, sap will drip from the wounds at a rate of up to one gallon per day. The sugar-rich fluid can be boiled down to a syrup that can be used much like maple syrup. If left standing, the fluid will ferment in a few days to yield an 8% alcohol drink commonly called toddy. It can be distilled to yield pure alcohol, or left to eventually become vinegar.

Fruit Husk:  The fruit husk is composed of tightly packed fibers known as coir.  If soaked in salt water, they separate and can be woven into a variety of items including rope, twine, mats, rugs, chair and cushion stuffing, and bags.  If ground up to a small particle size, it can be used in soil mixes for greenhouse plants.

Seed Shell:  The inner seed shell is a hard, fine-grained material.  The shells can be fashioned into cups, ladles, pots, eating utensils, buttons, and rings.  Used extensively as a fuel in the tropics, the shells burn essentially smoke free.  When made into a fine charcoal, it has exceptional absorption properties and has been used in gas masks, submarine air purifying systems, and in cigarette filters.

Fronds: The fronds are used whole or woven for roofs and fences in the tropics. leaflet strips are used to weave bags , hats bowls plus toys and other décor andfurnishings, while the stiff midribs make cooking skewers,. Bound together, the leaves can be fashioned into brooms and brushes.

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