Whether or not canned coconut water is healthy and safe depends on how it was processed before packaging.
As an increasing number of my clients are opting for coconut water instead of sodas and fruit juices, I had to wonder – is coconut water in a can good for you? Or, should you be sticking to the boxed or bottled version?
In this post, I will show you what goes behind the scenes of canned coconut water and whether or not it is actually good for you. Let’s begin!
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Premium, real, all-natural – these are just a few of the terms that you will see plastered on any can containing coconut water. However, are these claims true?
Well, here is what a lot of companies won’t tell – all coconut water found on the shelves of your grocery store have been processed.
This happens for a couple of different reasons. The first is due to safety concerns. From the moment that the coconut shell is cracked open, the coconut water loses its protective covering and is exposed to numerous microorganisms.
If the coconut water is left untreated, this creates an environment for these microbes to grow. This can cause the coconut water to spoil or may cause serious illnesses if ingested.
When coconut water is exposed to air, it also begins to oxidize. Thus, the flavor and the texture of the liquid begin to change. If it isn’t processed properly, you will end up with a very different texture, color, and flavor.
And, last but certainly not least, fresh coconut water does go bad within a very short period of time. However, coconut water has to be bottled, shipped, and then made to last for several weeks or months in stores. Processing helps to keep the coconut water stable.
Before getting into the matter of whether or not canned coconut water is good for you, you first have to understand the different types of processing.
The most common method for canned method is the high heat processing system. This is where the coconut water is exposed to high heat for about 30 minutes. It is often mixed with sugar to maintain the taste factor and then cooled. After this, it is sealed into cans.
Now, there are a few issues with this methodology. For one thing, the high heat can destroy certain nutrients in the drink, making it a less healthy option. Also, the addition of sugar increases the number of calories and can detract from the benefits of coconut water.
Coconut water produced in this manner also doesn’t taste as nice. The flavor of the drink is altered as well and the beverage doesn’t taste as light and as refreshing.
This is why the other method – cold preservation – has gained so much popularity recently. Here, the coconut water is filtered via a membrane and then frozen. In some instances, it may undergo some mild processing. As such, other sterilizing or preserving components may be added to it.
For the most part, though, the coconut water that undergoes this method is minimally processed. It often tastes a great deal better and fresher as well. Nonetheless, the expiry date may not be as prolonged as with the heat method. Thus, this type of coconut milk may need to be consumed more quickly.
It should be noted that the cold preservation method is typically used for bottled coconut water, while the heat method is used for canned. That being said, the exact system will depend on each individual brand.
Another thing that can give you pause about coconut water in a can is the possibility of BPA exposure. A few years ago, there was a great deal of outcry about BPA leaching out of aluminum cans and into your drink. In turn, individuals were concerned that this would lead to poisoning or a form of toxicity.
The results are in, however, and it appears that there is nothing to be worried about. Experts have discovered that there is a minimal amount of contamination – too little to have any kind of impact on your health.
As mentioned, there can be quite a bit of sugar unintentionally added to canned coconut water. This can increase the number of calories per can. Furthermore, increasing your sugar intake also increases your risk of weight gain.
At the same time, the number of calories and sugar levels in canned coconut water can be less than in other beverages. Therefore, if you were to make the switch and consume the drink in moderation, you may end up drinking fewer calories. In time, this may lead to weight loss.
It is important to always compare the labels of canned coconut water drinks, though. This will allow you to choose the one that makes the most sense for your weight loss plan.
Now, all of this information may be leading you to wonder, which coconut water packaging is actually best for you?
There is no straightforward answer here as there are far more factors to consider than just packaging. Ideally, fresh coconut water straight from a coconut is your best source. Here, the nutrient content is high and the water hasn’t been treated or altered in any way.
All other kinds of coconut water have been treated in some form or the other. Thus, you should continue reading to discover how to choose the best coconut water in a can for you…
The first thing that you will need to do is to contact the manufacturing company of the canned coconut water that you want to buy. They are the only ones who can give you insight into how the beverage is processed.
There are a few things to ask them:
The thing is, simply looking at the coconut water label isn’t going to help you out much here. This is because most companies won’t mention anything about the process or even ingredients used to process the coconut water.
The expiry date of the beverage may give you some indication of the processing, though. Fresh coconut water that is mildly processed will not last as long. In some instances, it may need to be refrigerated as well.
Another thing to avoid is flavored coconut water. It is difficult to know how natural flavors can impact the nutritional value of the beverage, but artificial flavors or preservatives will certainly detract from it.
It is clear that coconut water in a can isn’t necessarily bad or good – there are plenty of other factors that you have to consider. Now that you have the full story, you can make a more informed decision for yourself!
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