For example, better than sports drinks, coconut water provides athletes a natural potassium and magnesium-rich drink that rehydrates the body while reducing inflammation and balancing blood sugar.
A scientific review published in the Molecules journal also showed benefits ranging from lowering high blood pressure, preventing heart attacks, and healing cancer. It also contains a plant hormone called “trans-zeatin” that may be helpful in treating dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
In fact, the anti-aging benefits of coconut water are numerous, and food manufacturers have taken advantage of its popularity. However, not all are created equal – since many brands have been ruined by harmful chemicals or processing.
Are you drinking this type of (toxic) coconut water?
For packaged coconut water to retain its nutrients, it should come directly from fresh coconuts. However, some manufacturers have adopted several methods of packaging that ruin its purity:
1. Adopting water from mature coconuts: Nutrient dense water comes from young green coconut. As the one-seeded drupe ages, the nutrients seep into the meat of the coconut. Therefore, the water loses its nutrition value.
Not only are the nutrients severely watered down, the taste is different from that of young coconuts. Mature coconuts are better for making coconut milk, oil, and other products. They are also cheaper for the manufacturer to buy.
2. Using reconstituted concentrate instead of fresh coconut water: Heated and reduced to a syrup, regular water is later added to this coconut water syrup for packaging. When coconut water (or any fruit) is heated to this extent, it loses its nutrients and its beneficial enzymes are denatured. Importing coconut water syrup is also cheaper for the manufacturer.
3. Pasteurizing coconut water with heat: Due to its delicacy, coconut water is naturally perishable. It should be kept cold. However, several manufacturers use extremely high heat to kill bacteria and extend shelf life.
This process destroys its vitamins, minerals, and enzymes – as well as flavor. While there are other ways to kill bacteria and still keep nutrients intact, manufacturers disregard more healthful methods. If coconut water is also from concentrate, it will have gone through the heating process twice!
4. Adding preservatives to flavor and sweeten coconut water: Young coconut water is sweet and refreshing. However, some manufacturers add “natural flavors” or sweeteners. The only reason they would need to do this is if they are using mature coconut water that has an acidic taste.
5. Dipping coconuts in chemicals for transport: Many non-organic coconuts are preserved for transporting to the United States by dipping them in known carcinogens – formaldehyde or sodium metabisulphite. These chemicals may seep into and poison the coconut meat and water.
Have these brands of coconut water earned your trust?
The following is a list of brands that may have touted their drinks to be “100% Coconut Water” or “All Natural Coconut Water.” But, let the buyer beware!
- C2O – This brand uses high heat pasteurization up to 120 degrees Celsius with the product in their cans. They use both steel and aluminum cans.
- Coco Libre (Organic) – While this brand is labeled organic, it uses coconut water from concentrate. Their processing practice uses flash pasteurization with heat. Natural flavors are also added.
- Cona Zona – This brand’s nutrition label reveals its coconut water is made from concentrate.
- GOYA – This brand spent mega dollars on fighting GMO labeling in California. They use heat pasteurization with added preservatives, including sugar.
- Naked Juice Coconut Water – This Pepsico brand uses water from mature coconuts and then flash pasteurizes using heat. They have faced a class action lawsuit for using synthetic substances and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in their product while labeling deceptively.
- O.N.E. Coconut Water – This is another Pepsico brand that uses flash pasteurization with heat. Their coconut waters contain natural flavors and sugar. The sugar ingredient isn’t classified as to the type, but it may very well be a GMO type as used in their other brand Naked Juice.
- Purity Organic – While this brand is labeled organic, it doesn’t use the best practices. It uses concentrate and flash pasteurization with heat in processing their coconut water.
- Vita Coco – Touted as being “100% pure,” this brand pasteurizes its coconut water with heat and contains added sweeteners. They also have a Café version which contains carrageenan – which is an emulsifier that may wreak havoc on gut health.
- Zico – This is a Coca-Cola company who is a big GMO supporter. Their coconut waters are made from concentrate, pasteurized with ultra-high heat, and added with natural flavors.
O.K. – now what?
The absolute best coconut water comes straight from an organic coconut tree. It should be young and green. If you must opt for packaged water, choose raw and organic or organic using high “pressure” processing (HPP). Like anything else (when it comes to food) – know your source.
Editor’s note: If you want some of the best produced coconut water – that I’ve discovered – check out Exotic Superfoods (they’re expensive, but really good) or Harmless Harvest. And, no, I don’t get paid any money to make these suggestions to you.
About the author: Abby Campbell is a medical, health, and nutrition research writer. She’s dedicated to helping people live a healthy lifestyle in all aspects – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Abby practices, writes, and coaches on natural preventive care, nutritional medicine, and complementary and alternative therapy.
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