Looking for the best coconut water? Though coconut water has dozens of health benefits, not all coconut water is created equal. Here's your guide to the best coconut water brands, and what to look for.
This post is sponsored by Harmless Harvest. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make it possible for Root + Revel to provide free content and healthy living inspiration.
Happy Monday, friends! I started my morning off with an early hot yoga session (it's part of my daily self care resolution) and I have to tell you that I feel soooo great starting my week off this way. It clears my head, gives me energy and just puts me in the best mindset to tackle my to do list for the week.
Every morning, after I get home from a serious sweat sesh, I always go straight for hydration. While regular filtered water can certainly do the trick, I've found that coconut water refuels my body like nothing else.
Certainly a lot better than sugar-laden sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade.
So often, I hear people saying they're drinking those drinks when they're sick and/or for the electrolytes, but did you know that these drinks contain as much refined sugar as soda AND are filled with toxic chemicals, including artificial colors, brominated vegetable oil and natural flavor (remember, there's nothing natural about this undisclosed mixture made in a lab)? (source)
Good news, though: the electrolytes in Powerade and Gatorade occur naturally in many other real foods, like fruits, vegetables, grains, milk and coconut water.
In fact, coconut water contains approximately 600 mg of potassium (12% of your daily value), 40 mg of sodium, and up to 10% of your daily calcium and magnesium needs, making it a high electrolyte beverage. (source)
Yep, and the health benefits of coconut water don't stop there.
Health Benefits of Coconut Water
To understand whether or not coconut water is healthy, it helps to first understand what coconut water is. Coconut water is the clear liquid found inside a young, green coconut (ideally 5-7 months old). It's important to note that as the coconut matures, the water is replaced with coconut “meat” and the nutrient content lessens. So older coconuts will have less nutrients.
So is coconut water good for you? HECK YES!
Not only are the nutrition facts of coconut water positive (it's fat free with only 46 calories per cup and 10 grams of natural sugar), but there are also dozens of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemcials found in coconut water that have amazing side effects.
We've already talked about how coconut water is high in electrolytes, which is important because electrolytes are minerals essential in helping the body retain water and maintain blood volume. Plus, it's super hydrating!
Hydration is SO important for detox. If you're dehydrated, toxins can build up because our liver and kidneys can't function properly without enough water. So staying hydrated and maintaining electrolyte levels is essential for healthy detox. (source)
All of which also helps promote weightloss!
The health benefits of coconut water also include lowered blood pressure and cholesterol (i.e. reduced cardiovascular disease risk), increased athletic performance and boosted energy, reduced stress, fatigue, muscle tension and anti-aging effects.
Coconut water also helps fight free radicals to help prevent cancer, and contains trans-zeatin which can be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. (source)
The Best Coconut Water Brands
Now before you go rushing out to stock up on coconut water, let me warn you. While there are so many health benefits to drinking pure coconut water, most of the packaged coconut water sold in stores today is riddled with harmful additives, nutrient-stripping processing and unsustainable sourcing practices.
So what are the best coconut water brands?
While drinking the water from a fresh coconut is the healthiest, least processed option, there's one brand of packaged coconut water that is just as pure.
Harmless Harvest is far and away my favorite brand of coconut water, and even before I teamed up with them this year (note: I only join forces with brands I’m already using and loving in my everyday life, so all partnerships are truly authentic), I exclusively bought their bottles for all of my coconut water needs.
Their signature organic, sustainably-sourced young Thai raw, pink coconut water is so delicious and when you compare it to other brands like Vita Coco, O.N.E, C20, Zico, Naked or Coco Libre, it's clear why it's superior. Take a look:
Many of these brands are made from reconstituted concentrate, meaning the coconut water has been reduced to a syrup by applying heat. And when you apply heat to coconut water, it loses a significant amount of its nutrients and beneficial enzymes.
Likewise, many brands use heat pasteurization to stabalize the coconut water (this is done to any brands you find on the shelf, rather than in the refrigerated section). While heating coconut water to these very high temperatures does kill bacteria and extend its shelf life, it does so at the expense of its vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, enzymes and flavor.
So you always want to look for unpasteurized raw coconut water that's kept cold. And, of course, coconut water made from young coconuts. Unfortunately, many brands also save money by using the water from mature coconuts, which as we already mentioned, is significantly less nutritious than water from young coconuts.
And perhaps worst of all is the harmful additives often found in packaged coconut water. When you look at the ingredients label of coconut water, here's what you should see: coconut water. That's it!
If you see added sugar, “natural flavors” or artificial flavor, carrageenan or really anything else on the label, put it back. Companies have to add these chemicals because the quality of their coconut water is poor, which they're trying to mask.
Even worse–many non-organic coconut water brands actually dip their coconuts in formaldehyde or sodium metabisulphite to preserve them during transportation. These known carcinogens can leech into the coconut and poison the water. Scary stuff!
Food Babe did an awesome roundup diving deep into some of the most popular brands on the market, so definitely give that a read if you want to learn more about what's in each brand.
The good news: if you buy high-quality, organic, unpasteurized, raw coconut water, like Harmless Harvest, you won't have to worry about any of this!
Even the coconuts themselves are sourced sustainably. The world’s first Fair For Life certified organic coconut water producer, the young green coconuts used by Harmless Harvest are harvested by hand after reaching 6-7 months of age in small organic agroforestry farms in Thailand where workers are paid fair wages. YES!
Just hours after being picked, their coconuts are then put through a multi-step micro-filtration process that kills bacteria, but is never thermally pasteurized, never homogenized, never from concentrate, and always delicious.
This explains why some of their coconut waters are pink–when the naturally occurring antioxidants or polyphenols are exposed to light they turn pink, a quality you won’t find in heat pasteurized coconut water.
Harmless Harvest's coconut are also certified organic and non-GMO, and the only ingredient you'll find on their labels: Organic Coconut Water. SCORE!
How to Use Coconut Water
While you can totally drink Harmless Harvest coconut water straight from the bottle, their coconut water is also an awesome addition to smoothies or smoothie bowls, DIY popsicles or ice cream, cocktails or mocktails, or even added to coffee.
WHERE TO BUY HARMLESS HARVEST
You can get Harmless Harvest delivered from companies like Instacart and Amazon Fresh, or find their products at a store near you. They’re sold everywhere from Walmart to Whole Foods, Kroger, Publix and plenty of local markets and natural food stores. Click here to find a store near you.
Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust.