I love coconut water! When I’m out of the country in the tropical paradises, it’s one of my very favorite drinks to have straight out of the perfectly made vessel the way Mother Nature intended. Now, it’s not hard to find that option right here in the states at local farmers markets or even the regular grocery stores. It’s refreshing, slightly sweet, and keeps you hydrated in hot climates including hot gyms and is an excellent source that replenishes electrolytes instead of man made Powerade drinks full of sodium and extra chemicals you can’t pronounce. Truthfully, it’s one of the healthiest things you can drink for so many additional health benefits, but choosing the right one can be confusing due to mass media marketing and false advertisement of ingredients. Hopefully, I can shed some light on the best way to choose the healthiest brands for consumption when the raw option of a coconut is not available or you just don’t have time to crack one open.
Coconut water fat content is extremely low, so generous quantities can be consumed without fear of immediately packing on the pounds. It also suppresses the appetite and makes you feel full because of its rich nature. Coconut water contains a unique combination of B vitamins, vitamin C, micronutrients, and phytohormones that are exceptionally beneficial to your health. A scientific review of coconut water, published in the journal, Mococules highlights some of the ways that coconut water replenishes your body.
- Helps to prevent heart attacks
- Lowers high blood pressure
- Can have anti-aging effects
- Fights free radicals to help prevent cancer
- Contains trans-zeatin which can be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
Taking water from mature coconuts: This is a biggie. Young coconuts on the tree are usually green with an abundance of water in the center that is full of nutrients. Anyone that drinks coconut water straight from a coconut is drinking out of one of these young coconuts. As they begin to age, the nutrients in the water begin to seep into the meat of the coconut, and the water becomes less nutritious. It’s essentially watered-down. This also happens when young coconuts are picked and allowed to lie on the ground in the sun, for an extended period of time. While older “mature” coconuts might be used to make coconut oil, coconut milk and other coconut products, the coconut water from older coconuts is often discarded because it’s lacking nutrients and doesn’t taste the same. As the popularity in coconut water spiked recently, companies realized that they could buy up the water from mature coconuts and could get it cheaper than young coconut water. This is why it’s important to drink young coconut water and not get scammed into drinking the watered-down and less nutritious version.
Coconut waters to avoid at all costs:
Naked Juice Coconut Water – Although it’s not from concentrate, Naked told me that they use “mature” coconut water that is flash pasteurized with heat. The plain variety doesn’t have any additives, but all of the flavored ones have added so-called natural flavor. This is also a Pepsico brand – a company that spent over $4 Million dollars to fight GMO labels – so they aren’t getting any of my business.
O.N.E. Coconut Water – This is another Pepsico brand that is flash pasteurized with heat. The flavored waters“with a Splash of Fruit Juice” contain natural flavors and “sugar” as an ingredient. As it doesn’t say “cane sugar” on the label, this could very well be from GMO sugar beets.
Coconut waters recommended:
Munkijo (organic) – This water isn’t from concentrate, contains no additives or added sugars and their young coconuts are sustainably grown and harvested. But I’m sorry to report they also use ultra high heat pasteurization to process their waters, so it’s far from the best on the market.
Coco Hydro by Big Tree Farms (organic) – I really like Big Tree. Their unique version of coconut water is powdered and comes in packets that travel easily. So, there is no pasteurization involved, you just add water to reconstitute it. However, the process they use to evaporate the water uses heat, so it is not considered raw and some of the nutrients may be destroyed in the process.
Taste Nirvana (organic) – No concentrates or additives in this brand, and their young coconuts are sustainably grown, harvested and organic (though not labeled as such). I really like how it’s packaged in glass bottles. They are the only company that told me they use a “steam sterilization” process which is a combination of steam and pressure.
Amy & Brian (organic) – Other than the fact that they flash pasteurize the water, all other aspects are good – no additives, no added sugars, no concentrates. They also told me that their young coconuts are not treated with any chemicals or pesticides. I have to admit though, I’m not a fan of the cans they are in, even if they are BPA-free.