If you've sipped a coconut water lately, you're in good company. Coconut water drinks are everywhere.
So, is coconut water as healthy as some companies claim?
Which of the coconut water brands on the grocery store shelf packs the most beautifying bang for you buck?
To answer that question, let's look at the reasons we drink bottled* coconut water:
For a hydration and electrolyte boost. Most coconut water brands contain similar levels of potassium, and essential minerals like magnesium, calcium, sodium. These are extremely valuable for balance within the body. BUT, experts do say that water is just fine for daily hydration, unless you are an endurance athlete!
As a treat. Coconut water contains sugar, so it's a natural dessert, and not really a daily indulgence. Most bottled coconut water also offers natural flavor options, adding to the sugar content and calories.
So far, I'm not sold on any particular coconut water brand. BUT...
If you follow the Beauty Is Wellness mantra of 'FRESH IS BEAUTIFUL,' and choose coconut water from fresh, young coconuts, there are additional health (and flavor) benefits! Here's why I'd recommend that you steer away from the pasteurized (heated) coconut water you find in the grocery store and treat yourself to a young coconut now and then to get your coconut water beauty fix:
Fresh young coconut water is considered an anti-aging tonic that helps boost immunity, digestion and, according to raw food guru David Wolfe, rejuvenate oxidative damage (read: signs of aging) and improve nervous system function. (Superfoods, 2009/North Atlantic Books)
Young coconuts require a lot more effort to open than simply pulling a tab or twisting off a cap, so you'll naturally drink less of this treat. And when you buy a young coconut you also get the delicious, soft coconut meat, which contains medium chain fatty acids that support the cell membranes of the skin, the thyroid, immune system, healthy cholesterol and metabolism.
BONUS: the taste of fresh coconut water from a young coconut is indescribably better than anything you will ever, ever buy in a package!
Any more questions about which coconut water is best? Go with the real thing and you'll never go back!
Look for young coconuts at your local Asian grocery store or market, where they're often a fraction of the price that you'll pay in other spots.
*Raw, unpasteurized coconut water is now available from a few companies like Harmless Harvest. This sounds valuable for convenience factor if you are making recipes with a large amount of coconut water, but in general I'd always choose coconut water straight from the coconut!