You are here

How and Why to Eat Young Coconuts

December 14, 2013

Main Image

You’ve probably seen them at your local health food store: coconuts encased in their outer shell and whittled into a little point at the top. This is a young coconut and if you haven’t yet tried one, you should! The young coconut is differentiated from an older coconut by its green exterior and softer shell. It hasn’t yet developed the hard brown encasing that you may be used to seeing.

Young coconuts are one of the healthiest foods that you can eat – not to mention it’s absolutely delicious. Here is why you should start adding them to your shopping cart each week.

Why is young coconut water so unique?

The coconut holds one of the purest forms of natural water in the world. The water is filtered through the fibers of the coconut tree into the coconuts themselves where it is stored. The tree takes almost 9 months to fill an entire liter of water. The water itself is virtually untouched by any outside elements and is one of the purest forms of electrolytes that you can find.

It’s also been reported that in some cases pure coconut water is literally life-saving! In one small study, coconut water successfully replaced saline solution in an IV drip. While most doctors agree that it’s not an optimal IV solution, coconut water is an incredibly hydrating source of electrolytes and can be a great source of oral rehydration therapy after bouts of vomiting or diarrhea. While it may not save your life if your blood count is low, it could also get rid of that pesky headache you might get after a couple glasses of wine!

How is it different that the coconut water in a carton?

While packaged coconut water is undeniably good for you, the truth is all in the label. A typical ingredient label on a carton of coconut water will have a couple of ingredients. For example, the one in my fridge right now says: “Coconut water, less than 1% fruit juice and vitamin C.” Not terrible by any means. It’s almost purely coconut water. However, the water that you find in your young coconut after you crack it open is pure coconut water, never processed and with no added ingredients.

Why is the coconut meat beneficial?

Young coconut meat is much softer than the meat you find in older coconuts with brown shells. The young meat can be scooped right out of the shell and eaten fresh. It’s touted in many tropical regions where it is grown for its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.  It’s used in these areas to treat anything from skin infections to asthma!

The meat is also very high in healthy saturated fats. The fatty acids found in young coconut meat can help improve the immune system and have some anti-inflammatory properties.

Where can I buy young coconuts and how long do they last?

Young coconuts can be purchased at any health food store or natural grocery store like Whole Foods. They can be kept in your refrigerator for at least 2 or 3 weeks if they are unopened. Once you crack it, try to drink the water and eat the meat as soon as possible.

How do you open a young coconut?

On to the million dollar question! Young coconuts can be tricky to open, but I promise they are worth the effort. I like to use this tutorial to crack the top off of the shell, but you could also try this method. It’s all about finding what works best for you!

Do you already drink young coconut water? If you do, any you have a different way to open them? We would love to hear it! Just share in the comment section below!