Life In Dominica
During the two years that I spent living on the Island of Dominica, The Nature Island of the Caribbean, I learned a lot about what it means to truly live a healthy lifestyle. My husband and I found ourselves heading to this remote island in the Caribbean because it houses a medical school named Ross University.
It was on this Island that I first drank coconut water straight out of the coconut. This is an experience I will never forget. I had just arrived in Dominica only to discover that my husband, who had come ahead of me to arrange housing, had been living on nothing but Top Ramen during the three weeks it had taken me to join him.
So, there I was, on a strange island, miles away from the island’s only grocery store and I had no groceries. Luckily, my upstairs neighbor, another spouse who had also accompanied her husband to the island, came to my rescue. She told me about the local outdoors market, a place in Portsmouth where the locals came together to sell the vegetables and fruit they have grown. It sounded like a great idea to me. So, that Saturday morning the two of us got up at 5 a.m. and headed to the market, on foot.
The variety of fresh fish, fruit, vegetables and bread being sold by the locals at this market was beyond my wildest dreams. Some of the items were familiar to me and some were not. As we made our way through the crowd of people gathered, a little boy, holding a coconut, walked up to me. He raised the coconut in the air and said, “1 EC”, which is about 40 cents. Not wanting to disappoint the child, I gave him the 1 EC he wanted for his coconut. He took the money and walked towards a truck parked in the corner of the market. I followed him. The truck was filled to the brim with coconuts. The boy handed the coconut to a man standing next to the truck. The man took the coconut and split it open with his machete before handing it to me.
I must say that I found all this very strange and a little intimidating. I took the coconut from the man and noticed the clear liquid inside. I knew that coconuts had “water” inside them and that one could drink this “water” but being a typical American I had never actually seen this with my own eyes. Not wanting to disappoint the little boy, or anger this other man, I reluctantly took a sip of the water inside my coconut. From that moment on this mildly sweet and smooth liquid became my favorite drink.
Health Benefits of Coconut Water
During my time in Dominica, I made a point of drinking coconut water on a daily basis and soon noticed that I was feeling better than I had ever felt before. This was when I began to research the health benefits of coconut water and discovered the following facts:
Coconut water is naturally:
- Low in calories: 1 cup= 46 calories
- Low in carbohydrates: 1 cup= 9g of carbohydrates
- Low in fat: 99% fat free
- Low in natural sugars: 1 cup= 6g of sugar
Coconut water contains organic compounds that have been known to help:
- Naturally hydrate your body after exercise: Coconut water has a natural balance of sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium, which make it a healthy electrolyte drink. According to Mortin Satin, chief of the United Nation’s Food & Agriculture Organization, “Coconut water is the very stuff of nature, biologically pure, full of natural sugars, salts, and vitamins to ward off fatigue… and is the next wave of energy drinks BUT natural!”
- Calm and cleanse your digestive tract: Drinking coconut water is especially beneficial to the digestive tract when you are recovering from an illness. This amazing fluid can help repair any damage antibiotics may have caused to your digestive tract by relieving stomach pain and normalizing your intestinal functions.
Little Known Facts About Coconut Water
- Coconut water is more nutritious than whole milk: Unlike whole milk, coconut water is 99% fat free and has no cholesterol.
- Coconut water is healthier than orange juice: Coconut water has less calories and sugar than orange juice. But, like orange juice, coconut water can boost your immune system and help you fight common ailments such as the flu.
- Coconut water is better than processed baby milk: Coconut water is naturally sterile, possesses growth promoting properties, and contains lauric acid, which is also naturally present in human milk. It is especially beneficial to give babies suffering from diarrhea coconut water as this fluid can help calm their digestive tract, prevent dehydration and malnutrition.
- Coconut water is naturally sterile: The water inside a coconut is naturally sterile because it filters as it permeates through the husk.
- Coconut water is identical to human plasma: Amongst medical professionals coconut water is referred to as the “universal donor” because it is so similar to human plasma that it can be administered intravenously to all humans, regardless of their blood types.
- Coconut IV’s save lives in 3rd world countries: Emergency personnel have long known that since coconut water is naturally sterile, does not produce heat, does not destroy red blood cells and is readily accepted by the human body because of its resemblance to human plasma, it can be injected intravenously in emergency cases to help carry nutrients and oxygen to cells and prevent dehydration.
Today, packaged coconut water can be found at virtually every grocery store. So, if you are looking for a healthy drink to pack in your children’s lunchboxes, this form of coconut water is a great alternative to the 1% juice drinks. However, be sure to purchase 100% pure coconut water that is packaged without exposure to sunlight. This is important because once exposed to air, coconut water quickly loses most of its organoleptic and nutritional characteristics, and begins to ferment.