I absolutely love coconut water! I drink it straight from the coconut or from a raw organic brand you can find in most health food stores and here in the US, a lot of our grocers are begging to carry them. I not only drink coconut water, I add them to my smoothies for added nutritional benefits.

Coconuts are a superfood source for a refreshing, hydrating, and slightly sweet beverage. If you’re an athletic type, then coconut water is your best friend. Even if you’re not athletic, coconut water can do wonders for your energy and over all health.

What is coconut water?

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Coconut water is not the same as coconut milk. It’s the water trapped in the center of young, green coconuts and, unlike coconut milk, is not fatty and has a clean, light taste. Not all coconut waters (raw, organic, bottled and store bought) are created equal, so beware of the health claims slapped on coconut water products in the stores.

The ideal coconut for coconut water is a young coconut harvested at 5-7 months of age, which yields the most water containing optimal nutritional levels. As coconuts age, their water is replaced by coconut “meat”, the yummy white insides of a coconut. Coconut water has the greatest nutritional health benefits, not the coconut meat or milk, although the meat and milk are a great source of healthy fats and some nutrients.

Some of the healthiest countries in the world that are home to some of the oldest humans with little to no major diseases have consumed coconut water along with their meats and milks for centuries. The classical Indian language, Sanskrit, calls coconuts “kalpa vriksha”, which means “tree which gives all that is necessary for living”.

Coconut water health benefits:

1. Electrolytes

In certain emergency situations, coconut water can be used through intravenous hydration due to it’s high electrolyte content.

2. Cytokins

Cytokins are proven to reduce the speed of cancerous cell development and they are shown to slow down the aging process.

3. Cleansing and detoxifying

Our bodies are naturally design to cleanse and detox on their own, when provided the correct nutrients and hydration. Toxins begin to build up when our bodies are dehydrated because the liver and kidneys, which are detoxifying organs, are unable to do their job correctly without adequate water. Although water is a great tool for rehydrating, something stronger is needed during hot weather, exercise, or sickness.

Coconut water contains a similar electrolyte profile as human blood, making it a great component in replacing fluids, which help remove toxins and hydrates the body. The electrolyte potassium can help fight against the negative effects from a western processed diet full of sodium. If you’re ready to detox, check out our guide on creating the best detox plan for your food personality.

4. Antioxidants

Coconut water contains many antioxidants, which help our bodies prevent damage caused by free radicals. Although free radical production is a normal part of our own metabolism, consuming an adequate amount of antioxidants through our diet is crucial to prevent further free radical production from other aspects of life.

5. Potassium

Although potassium can be found in bananas and potatoes, coconut water will provide you with about 13% of your daily potassium requirement. Potassium is an important mineral that’s crucial for brain and nervous system function.

6. Magnesium

Roughly only 32% of people consume adequate levels of magnesium. Magnesium plays a crucial role in over 300 biological functions in the body. If your experiencing low energy, asthma, diabetes or even osteoporosis, you could be low in magnesium. A serving of coconut water will provide you with out 14% of your daily magnesium requirement.

7. Copper

Copper is crucial for metabolism and organ function. One serving of coconut water provides about 11% of your daily copper requirements.

Coconut water benefits8. Low in Calories

Unlike plain water (H20), coconut water is not calorie-free. It’s still a very low-calorie drink with about 46 calories per serving. Coconut water is the ideal “sports drink”, replacing all those sugar-filled drinks marketed towards athletes. By replacing Gatorade, Powerade, energy drinks, and soda with coconut water, you may experience more sustainable energy as well as weight-loss! If you’re counting calories, these 10 low calorie snack ideas will help add variety.

9. Other health benefits

Lowered blood pressure, boosted energy, lowered cholesterol, reduced cellulite, relax muscle tension, stress reliever heart attack prevention and contains trans-zeatin, which can be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

 

How can coconut water’s health benefits be ruined?

Using a concentrate rather than fresh coconut water

Some brands get away with labeling their products as “100% coconut water” and “all natural” even though they are made from reconstituted concentrate. This is done by heating fresh coconut water to reduce it to a syrup, then adding water to it before packing it. This is cheaper for the company to import. Any juice that is heated to this extent loses most, if not all, nutritional value and its beneficial enzymes are paralyzed.

Taking water from mature coconuts

Young coconuts are usually green, containing an abundance of water in the center that are full of nutrients. Mature coconut waters’ nutrients begin to seep into the meat and the water becomes less nutritious. This also happens when young coconuts are picked and set ground being exposed sun for an extended amount of time.

As coconut products like oil, milk, shreds, and other products have become popular, coconut water companies learned they could save money by buying mature coconut water and marketing them as “healthy”. Learn more about the losing weight and other health benefits of coconut oil.

Adding in “natural flavors” and sweetness

Young coconut water is already sweet and flavorful. There is no need to add sugar and flavors to raw and organic coconut water. When companies use mature coconut water, it tastes acidic and bland and so they add sugar and “natural flavors” to the water.

Pasteurizing with heat

This is done to kill bacteria and extend the shelf life of non refrigerated coconut water. Coconut water is a living food thats very delicate and naturally perishable. Pasteurizing coconut water also destroys is vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and enzymes. If it’s also from concentrate then its been heated 2 times!

Dipping whole coconuts in formaldehyde or sodium metabisulphite

Some non-organic coconuts may be preserved for transportation to the US by dipping them in chemicals like formaldehyde, which is also known as a carcinogen. This runs the risk of the chemicals seeping through the shell and into the coconut meat, which poisons the water.

Coconut water brands to avoid:

Naked Juice Coconut Water

Use mature coconut water | Flash pasteurized with heat | Flavored varieties contain “natural flavors” | Pepsico owned brand, who spent over $4 million dollars to fight GMO labeling!

O.N.E. Coconut Water

Another Pepsico brand | Flash pasteurized with heat | Contain “natural flavors” and “sugar” as in ingredient | Pepsico couldn’t confirm whether or not the sugar is GMO…

Zico

Made from concentrate | Natural flavors added | “Ultra High Temperature Pasteurization” to extend shelf life | Heated above a boiling point to 280 degrees Fahrenheit, which kills everything including beneficial nutrients | Also owned by Coco-Cola- a big supporter of GMO’s who have spent over $3.2 million dollars to prevent GMO labeling… | CocoZona | Made from concentrate

Vita Coco

Pasteurized with heat | Contain added sweetness and some contain carrageenan | Contain “natural flavors”

Goya

Heat pasteurized | Added preservatives | Sweetened | Spent over $565k to fight GMO labeling in California

C20

Heat pasteurized up to 120 degrees celsius in the can for as long as 5 minutes | Purity Organic | Made from concentrate | Flash pasteurized

Coco Libre (Organic)

Made from concentrate | Flash sterilized from heat | Added “natural flavors”


Best ways to consume coconut water:

Drinking the water straight from a fresh, young, green coconut

Coconut Kefir is a great fermented food, packed with nutrition

Using coconut water as the base for smoothies

Using it as a base for fresh home-made juices

 

Best sources of coconut water:

Wild coconuts found in nature

Raw and Organic

Juice Press | Liuiteria |Exotic Superfoods

Organic, HPP (not certified organic but use wild coconuts)

Harmless Harvest | Vital Juice | Suja | Tumeric Alive

 

Coconut water nutritional facts:

(Serving Size: 240g Calories: 46) | (Protein: 2g Carbohydrates: 9g Fiber: 3g Sugars: 6g Fat: 0g) Vitamins- %DV C 5.8MG 10% | Thiamin .1MG 5% | Riboflavin .1MG 8% | Niacin .2MG 1% | B6 .1MG 4% | Pantothenic Acid .1MG 1% | Choline 2.6MG Minerals- %DV Calcium 57.6MG 6% | Iron .7MG 4% | Magnesium 60MG 15% | Phosphorus 48MG 5% | Potassium 600MG 17% | Sodium 252MG 11% | Zinc .2MG 2% | Copper .1MG 5% | Manganese .3MG 17% | Selenium 2.4MG 3$ Sources: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-18146/7-more-reasons-to-drink-coconut-water.html http://time.com/3559621/coconut-water-nutrition/ http://draxe.com/is-coconut-water-good-for-you/ http://foodbabe.com/2014/07/15/how-to-buy-the-healthiest-coconut-water-and-avoid-the-worst/ http://www.doctoroz.com/article/coconut-water-guide

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