Coconut Water: Learn how to Choose the Right One
This sweet and luxurious tasting drink is hugely popular nowadays and has some great benefits such as helping to replace electrolytes lost during sweating while being low calorie. Not all coconut water is the same though, and there are many brands being sold that are no better for you than drinking soda. (In fact, some brands have been taken over by the big soda companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Co)
The number 1 best way to ensure you are getting pure, raw coconut water is to buy the actual coconut! It is much less expensive too.
Find them at your local Asian grocer: ask for young green Thai coconuts.
Many brands use pasteurization that kills and prevents bacteria growing. This also has the side effect of killing flavor and nutrition.
Here is an overview of pasteurization:
- High-pressure pasteurization uses pressure rather than heat. This is the best form, as little heat is used.
- the water is heated for up to 30 seconds using 71 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the most common process.
Ultra High-Temperature Pasteurization:
- High heat is used for a few seconds, and basically destroys everything, including taste. (Zico uses this method and if you do a taste test of this brand and a raw coconut water..wow..the difference is shocking)
Factors that Affect Quality:
- Young coconuts are the best. Mature ones are less nutritious (and cheaper) and may taste bitter.
- Coconut water is reduced to syrup by heat and sent to the manufacturer to have water added. Heat destroys the enzymes and flavor. They do this because it is cheaper than importing whole coconuts. This type of coconut water ends up being heated twice!
Added sweeteners and flavors:
- Usually added to disguise the less desirable taste of mature coconuts.
- Coconuts are dipped in formaldehyde or sodium metabisulphite to preserve them for travel. I don’t recommend using products that have been possibly tainted with known carcinogens.
How to Choose:
It can be really confusing when it comes to choosing a decent coconut water because many labels will state they are “All natural” or “100% coconut water” but if they have been pasteurized with high heat, you won’t be getting the benefits.
- Raw, Organic Coconut Water
- Organic, using the HPP method of pasteurization
A good rule of thumb is to avoid coconut water that is not refrigerated. Long-life products are pasteurized and may have preservatives added.
Best Coconut Water Brands:
- It is raw and organic and never been pasteurized.http://www.exoticsuperfoods.com/
- Find online at Fresh Direct and Amazon Fresh and from their own online store: http://www.vitaljuice.com/juices/classics/spanvitalspan-coconut
Liqueteria (NYC only)
Juice Press Stores
- My favorite affordable brand (they also have it in raw cacao, cinnamon & clove, and coffee versions too!) They use an environmentally friendly multi-step micro-filtration process that uses no heat (Previously used HPP).
My Aussie readers:
- A good option as it has no additives and has been flash pasteurized for 4 seconds. Not ideal, but Aussie law requires pasteurization for products imported.
Nudie Coconut Water
- Another option that has no additives but has been flash-pasteurized.
Drink it as an occasional treat, and use water as your main source of hydration.