Coconut water is one of the purest liquids in the world – a healthful gift straight from nature and the perfect alternative to sugary, chemical-filled sports drinks. It’s low in calories and high in nutritional value. This magical natural beverage has become so popular as a health drink that you can find it lining the shelves in just about any food store.
The explosion in sales has a downside though. It means that there have been some unscrupulous dealers who have jumped on the coconut water bandwagon and if you like to live green and clean, you may just find that some of the brands you are buying don’t really have all the benefits that make coconut the health elixir you’re looking for.
Harmful chemicals and processing methods can ruin coconut water’s natural benefits and even make it toxic. That means that not all coconut waters on the shelf are created equal. If you want to experience the healing, hydrating and energising powers of coconut water, you need to get it in its most pristine state. Reputable coconut water manufacturers won’t be afraid to give you all the facts about their production, going all the way back to the source. Here are some of the things to look out for…
SNEAKY WAYS COCONUT WATER BRANDS ARE CUTTING CORNERS
1. Using Mature Coconut Water
Green literally is better when it comes to coconut water. Waiting for the coconut to ripen doesn’t make the water more nutrient-rich as you may think, as the nutrients from the water seep into the coconut flesh as it ages. Older coconuts are better for making coconut milk and coconut flesh products. Older coconuts are cheaper for the manufacturer to buy so it’s a tempting way to save money. The older water also begins to lose its fresh, nectar-like taste, so if you want that delectable flavour and the most nutrient rich drink, make sure that your coconut water comes from nuts between 5 – 7 months old.
2. Using Coconut Concentrate
Some manufacturers heat the water up and then reduce it to syrup – a concentrate which can be ‘reconstituted’ by adding water. Importing this syrup is cheaper. The high heat used to reduce the water is very damaging to the nutrients and enzymes in the water, so not a good idea. Check that your water is not made from concentrate or reconstituted.
This delicate drink needs to be treated with loving care to preserve its brew of healthy nutrients, ideally being kept as cool as possible. However, the quickest, cheapest and easiest way to prevent it from denaturing is to heat it to high temperatures, pasteurising it to kill any possible bacteria. That means that coconut water concentrates may have been heated twice. Doubly damaged coconut water.
4. Added Flavours & Sweeteners
If you are truly getting young, fresh coconuts, they taste delicate, sweet and so refreshing, but if a manufacture is using more acidic, older coconuts, or heated or concentrated water, they may add ‘natural’ flavours or sweeteners to enhance the taste. Once you have tasted the real thing, your discerning taste buds will definitely notice the difference.
5. Added Preservatives
Apart from preservatives listed on the bottle, many non-organic coconuts are preserved for transportation using chemicals such as formaldehyde or sodium metabisulphite. These chemicals are thought to be cancer forming so having them leech into your health cocktail doesn’t make sense at all.
COCONUT WATER BRANDS TO AVOID
C2O: They use high heat pasteurisation of up to 120°C with the product in their cans and use steel and aluminum cans, both of which can leech into your water.
Coco Libre (Organic): If something is labelled organic, always look deeper. They use coconut water from concentrate, flash pasteurization with heat and also add Natural flavours.
Cona Zona: The label says it’s made from concentrate.
Goya: They made major efforts to fight GMO labeling in California. Suspicious no? They use heat pasteurisation with added preservatives, including sugar.
Naked Juice Coconut Water: This is a Pepsico brand and they use water from mature coconuts, and flash pasteurise using heat. They have been sued for using synthetic substances and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in their produce, as well as been caught out using deceptive labelling.
O.N.E. Coconut Water: Another Pepsico brand that uses flash pasteurisation with heat and their coconut waters contain natural flavours and added sugar.
Purity Organic: Another ‘organic’ labelled brand that doesn’t really live up to the concept. It uses concentrate and flash pasteurisation with heat.
Vita Coco: Label their water as “100% pure,”, but pasteurise their coconut water with heat and add sweeteners. Their Café version contains carrageenan, which is thought by some to cause major gut health issues.
Zico: This Coca-Cola company is a big GMO supporter. This coconut water is made from concentrate, pasteurised with high temperatures, and has natural flavours added.
Quite honestly, your best bet is to crack open a young green coconut straight from a tree and drink it au natural if you want to experience tropical magic as close the original as possible. However, us urbanites can enjoy the next best thing:
COCONUT WATER BRANDS YOU CAN TRUST
Raw C’s approach is: crack, pack & send! They use the freshest coconuts, younger than 7 months old and don’t sneak anything like sugars, syrups, additives, concentrates and stabilisers into their water. They also make sure they use packaging that is BPA-free.
The CoCos-Pure range is made using the fresh juice of young, single origin Thai coconuts, with no chemical additives or sweeteners.
This brand pride themselves on their honest quality. They make their water from young coconuts and don’t add anything – no preservatives, sugars or additives.
With all the goodness coconut has to offer, and from controlled, organic sources wherever possible and no nasties, Dr Martins’ coconut products are some of the best you’ll get your hands on