Coconut Water 101

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With spreads in the New York Times Sunday Styles section and celebrity aficionados like Madonna, Russell Simmons, Gisele Bündchen, and Teri Hatcher sipping away, coconut water is definitely the beverage of the moment.

Coconut water is also big business these days, as sales of Vita Coco have grown to $20 million a year, Coca-Cola has made a $15 million investment in Zico, and Pepsi has invested in O.N.E. — together, these three brands are leaders in the U.S. market. And if you want to find out which one tastes best, you'll have to check out our MBG Taste Test: Coconut Water.

What is coconut water?

Coconut water is derived straight from coconuts — roughly one coconut yields an 11-ounce serving of coconut water (the same serving size of most of these brands). Don't confuse coconut water with coconut milk, though, as coconut milk comes from the meat of the fruit.

What are the health benefits?

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Coconut water is naturally packed with electrolytes, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and amino acids. It is loaded with potassium—it actually contains 15 times more potassium than a sports drink or twice as much as a banana. So if you sweat a lot after a workout, you might be better off going for coconut water to prevent muscle cramps. (It's also a great hangover fixer.)

It's roughly 60 calories per serving, and there's no saturated fat or added sugar, so coconut water is figure-friendly.

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