Ok, so obviously, a freshly tapped coconut is the best way to get your Coconut water fix. That option is not always practical and given that Coconut water is usually at least $3 per bottle, it’s important to understand what you’re paying for. Especially since Coca-Cola and Pepsico have their own versions (O.N.E., Zico, Naked). Here are some general rules to employ when sourcing the best Coconut water. Give it a pass and stick with water if it:
Comes from concentrate instead of fresh juice. Coconut water companies can claim “100% Coconut Water” that’s “All Natural” on their label even if they are made from a reconstituted concentrate. As with other juices, in this process they heat fresh Coconut water and reduce it down to a syrup, which kills mostly anything active and beneficial, like enzymes
Doesn’t come from young coconuts. I’m not being ageist. Young coconuts are usually green, with tons of water in the center. Look for Young Thai Coconuts. As they age, the nutrients in the water seep into the meat of the coconut, making the water less nutritious and acidic. When the coconut water craze happened, opportunistic companies realized they could more cheaply source older coconuts and sweeten them after the fact to disguise the taste
Has ‘natural flavors’. Young coconut water really needn’t be sweetened unless you’re hiding some rank, 3rd rate coconut water
Pasteurized with heat, which means it’s been cooked to high temperatures to kill bacteria and extend shelf life. This process destroys some of the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
- Non-organic. If it’s not organic, there’s a good chance that the coconuts have been dipped in formaldehyde or sodium metabisulphite, known carcinogens, meaning that those chemicals are likely in the coconut meat and water.
Stay tuned for healthy coconut water checklist.