Fresh Coconut Water-Mango-Peach Smoothie
Dreaming of a refreshing smoothie as you’re jogging the 5-mile trail? I know of one such smootihe that not only hydrates but it tastes like refreshing tropical splash. This easy to prepare smoothie (the only major necessity is a blender) takes very little time to whip up and it satisfies totally. The ingredients are basic—just a couple of fruits and the super-hydrating coconut water. Why coconut water? Because it offers more taste than water and has a number of redeeming features--its fat-free, cholesterol free and rich in nutrients and electrolytes.
I used to drink fresh coconut water like there was a coconut water faucet in my backyard. Coconut trees grew in my backyard—lanky and graceful loaded with bunches of coconuts. All I have to do is take a sturdy bamboo pole and whack it off the branch or wait for the winds to take them down. On hot humid days, after a game of roundus, the cool juice directly from the young coconut tasted like dew from heaven.
Little did I know that one day, coconut water would become the star of the beverage world, especially among athletes and health nuts. Vita Coco, Zico, O.N.E—the grocery shelves sag under their weight. Health claims sprouted with their rising popularity (or is it the other way round?) from improving circulation to boosting immunity to fighting cancer, heart disease and stroke. Some people have also reported that it helps with hangovers. Is coconut water all that’s hyped up to be?
Here are some facts about coconut water:
- Coconut water comes from young coconut (between 6 to 9 months) and one young coconut contains about 750 ml of water.
- It is the only natural isotonic beverage with the same level of electrolyte balance as that found in the blood, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. Because of its electrolyte balance, it is believed that coconut water was directly given to wounded patients in the Pacific war as emergency plasma transfusions.
- Coconut water contains high levels of potassium, almost twice the amount found in bananas. According to American Dietetic Association, coconut water may help to improve potassium intake, especially for those who do not eat enough fruits and vegetables.
- Because coconut water is naturally high in electrolytes such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium and phosphate and small amounts of many essential amino acids, the beverage and sports industries were quick to promote it as the other natural sports drink. However, the director of Sports Nutrition in UC Davies. Liz Applegate, pointed out that while it is a good alternative sports drink for people involved in moderate exercise, coconut water is not ideal for those involved in hardcore training. The amount of carbohydrates and sodium found in natural coconut water not high enough to facilitate quick recovery following strenuous exercises.
- Coconut water also has low level of proteins (about 2 grams) compared to the typical sports drinks. Again, that makes it less ideal as the body generally needs at least 15 to 17 grams of protein to recover quickly from heavy physical exertion.
- As for all the health benefits that have been tagged to it, the verdict is still out. There has yet to be conclusive evidence to support the many health claims.
- What about hangovers? Because of its hydrating properties, coconut water may alleviate dehydration cause by drinking and in so doing, lessen the effects of hangover.
All points taken into consideration, coconut water may not be the best alternative for hardcore athletes but it’s a viable alternative for people doing moderate amount of exercise or wants something that hydrates well, the one quality that most nutritionists agree on. And that I can concur based on my experience of guzzling down coconut water on hot sweaty days.
With that, let’s get on with fixing our super-hydrating coconut drink.
What is the difference between coconut water/juice and coconut milk?
Often, coconut water is mistaken for coconut milk. Coconut water or juice is the liquid found in young coconuts. It also has a layer of soft, gelatinious meat which can be eaten as a snack. In Asia and places where coconuts are part of the natural landscape, young coconuts are often served as a drink with a spoon for scooping out the meat for your enjoyment.
As coconut matures, there is less water and more meat--firmer and more flavorful meat, which is often grated to extract the milk. Usually water is added to grated mature coconut meat and squeezed to produce coconut milk. This thick, creamy and fragrant milk is often used in making curries, added to soup and stews. Many asian desserts also feature coconut milk. In Singapore and some parts of Asia, coconut milk is also one of the main ingredients of a favorite drink called Chendol (coconut milk sweetened with coconut sugar poured over an assortment of beans, corn, jello and other good stuff).
A young coconut has only 3g of fat whereas 1 cup of shredded mature coconut has 224 fat calories.
Fresh Coconut Water-Mango-Peach Smoothie
For this recipe, I use fresh coconut juice from young coconut. No preservatives. No chemical. No fat, no cholesterol. Nature's gift before there was Gatorade. Using coconut juice in lieu of water, milk or yogurt (liquids often used in smoothie-making) gives it a hint of coconut flavor and it also provides nutrients and electrolytes. The other advantage to using a fresh coconut? You can scoop out the meat and eat it as a snack. It’s very tasty (well, at least to me) and in this recipe, I use them as well. The meat not only adds more flavor, it adds a creamy texture to the drink.
You can easily buy fresh young coconuts from any Asian grocery stores. Lately, I've also seen them in mainstrain grocery and health stores. They are not too expensive. For less than two dollars, you can get a fresh young coconut with much of the husk shaved off already so you can easily make a hole to drain the juice out.
- 1 glass fresh coconut water
- 1/4 cup coconut meat
- 1 medium mango, diced
- 2 peaches, sliced
- 1 cup ice cubes
- Make an opening in the young coconut, big enough for the spoon to go through.
- Drain coconut water into a glass. If there is any pieces of husk, strain it first.
- Scoop out the flesh in the coconut with a strong metal spoon. The younger the coconut, the more tender the flesh.
- Remove skin of mango and dice flesh into cubes.
- Cut up peach into slices.
- Put coconut flesh, mango, peach, ice cubes and coconut water into blender.
- Blend until smooth. Serve cold.
Natural and thirst-quenching goodness in a glass.
If you like it, please put stars on it. Thanks.
|Serving size: 1 glass per serving|
|Calories from Fat||9|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 1 g||2%|
|Saturated fat 0 g|
|Unsaturated fat 0 g|
|Carbohydrates 36 g||12%|
|Sugar 33 g|
|Fiber 6 g||24%|
|Protein 3 g||6%|
|Cholesterol 0 mg|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
Fix it the way you like it
Don't like the fruit choices? Swop them for your favorite fruits--fresh or frozen--it's entirely up to you. If you're in a hurry--skip the task of extracting the juice from the fresh coconut--go with a commercial brand instead. Dessicated coconut can be used in place of fresh coconut meat. You may also use coconut milk (higher in fat calories) or coconut powder.
© 2012 anglnwu