Some people refer to coconut water as the “nectar of the gods,” appreciating the refreshing sweetness that has been known to cool people down and boost hydration. Coconut water is trendy because it is marketed as one of the best natural sources of electrolytes. We don’t want to take anything away from coconut water, but most bottled varieties go through intense pasteurization and contain preservatives, added sugars, flavors, concentrate, and mature coconut water.
The Sneaky Ways Of Coconut Water Brands
Unfortunately, chemicals and processing methods ruin coconut water’s inherent benefits, making it harmful instead of beneficial. The best coconut water is from green coconuts because they are young and the water is sweet and full of nutrients. Most companies use older coconuts because they are cheaper for manufacturing. Since the water is bitter, companies need to add sweeteners and flavors during processing for a palatable experience for the consumer. Those “natural flavors” are not so natural. In addition to the preservatives that are listed on the ingredient label, many coconuts are sprayed with sodium metabisulphite or formaldehyde for transportation to keep them fresh.
All of that said, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with drinking coconut water straight from the coconut. Fresh, raw coconut water from younger green coconuts is rich in fiber, protein, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and manganese. If you can’t get your hands on young Thai coconuts, a great coconut water brand is Harmless Harvest, which purchases organic coconuts from fair trade farms and doesn’t use any preservatives or pasteurization. You can view the benefits of coconut water below.
Boosts Immune Function:
Containing anti-viral and antibacterial properties, coconut water helps to enhance immune function and supply the body with necessary electrolytes and other nutrients. The inherent antioxidants work to fight oxidative stress, but keep in mind that most bottled varieties that go through pasteurization have reduced antioxidant content.
Coconut water is rich in cytokinins, which are actually the hormones that help plants grow. According to several studies, these compounds have anti-aging properties that help to hydrate the skin and make it appear more youthful and glowing. There have been several claims about the cancer-fighting properties of cytokinins, but no major studies have confirmed these statements.
Great For Muscles:
Your muscles require calcium almost as much as you bones and teeth do. Calcium assists with proper muscle contraction and relaxation, and accelerates the recovery of broken down muscle fibers after a workout. Now, in order for calcium to improve muscle function, the body also requires magnesium, which is in coconut water. Magnesium helps deliver both calcium and potassium to muscles, aiding with proper contraction and relaxation. While coconut water contains calcium and magnesium, you’ll need to seek out other dietary sources to obtain the recommended daily intake of these minerals.
Nearly every single person could use some help in the hydration department. We’ve written several articles on how to keep the body hydrated (view our most recent post here). You don’t need sugary sports drinks because research has shown that the body actually responds positively during exercise when fresh coconut water is consumed prior to working out. The sugar content and processed ingredients in sports drinks will actually dehydrate the body, whereas the electrolytes in coconut water boost hydration.
Improves Heart Health:
People with high blood pressure often have disproportionate levels of electrolytes. Potassium is an essential electrolyte that helps to balance fluid and electrolyte levels, and an eight-ounce glass of coconut water contains as much potassium as a banana. Some nutritionists recommend that people with high blood pressure drink one cup of fresh coconut water in the morning to assist with electrolyte balance for optimal heart health. The magnesium content in coconut water also contributes to healthy heart function.
There are a lot of coconut water brands out there, and most of them are not beneficial to drink. Always read the labels and strive to drink coconut water from young green coconuts for optimal sweet flavor and higher nutrient content.