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Going Nuts For Coconut Water

Miralce juice is packed with potassium


If you've ever tried to pull a Baloo the bear and crack open a coconut shell with a swift thump to the noggin, you've been sorely disappointed. The coconut's hard hairy exterior takes a good machete whack or saw blade to break into. And after doing all that work, you'd assume the milky nectar nestled inside would be sweet, coconut bliss. Wrong. Unless you enjoy the taste of a virgin pina colada wrung out from a wet sock.

Yet somehow, despite the questionable taste, a devoted following in the United States has started clamoring for coconut water over the last five years.

Marketed as a fat-free, low-calorie, hydrating beverage, coconut water has been held up as an alternative to sports drinks like Gatorade. Coconut water is naturally jam-packed with electrolytes like potassium--670 milligrams per serving, which is more than a banana--and claims exist that it can cure hangovers and has anti-aging properties.

Made from tender, young, green coconuts, which are harvested at six to eight months old, coconut water has long been a popular beverage elsewhere in the world. According to an article in Beverage World, coconut water sales in Brazil exceed sales of orange juice, raking in $300 million annually. Now the drink is also generating millions in the United States market with three main brands dominating the shelves: O.N.E. (distributed by PepsiCo), Zico (owned by Coca-Cola) and Vita Coco.

Boise Co-op offers a variety of coconut water brands including Vita Coco, Amy and Brian's, and Grace, some of which feature flavors like acai pomegranate and mango peach.