Coconut water is packed with electrolytes like sodium and magnesium, and those are facts. However, with all the trendy natural drinks that have given rise in recent years such as acai and pomegranate, do the labels on such products really tell the truth? According to a recent report by an independent health-product testing firm, the nutritional content of some brands of coconut water doesn't live up to what's on the label.
ConsumerLab.com tested the sodium, potassium, magnesium, and sugar content of three leading brands of coconut water, and they found that only one brand, Zico Natural, contained the stated amount for all four ingredients.
Vita Coco and O.N.E., also matched the label, but the amounts of sodium and magnesium, two nutrients key to hydration, were as much as 82% and 35% lower than the listed amount.
A 1 cup (80 g) serving of shredded coconut contains 283 calories, of which 224 come from fat. There are 27 g of fat in a serving of coconut, 24 of which are saturated fat and the rest consisting of monosaturated fat and Omega-6 fatty acids, which are extremely beneficial for the body. There is no cholesterol in coconut, and only 16 mg of sodium. A serving of coconut consists of 12 g of carbohydrates and 3 g of protein. It also contains 7 g of fiber and 5 g of sugar.
Coconut is an excellent source of manganese, and contains 60% of the recommended daily intake of that mineral. It is also contains 11% of the recommended intake for iron, 9% of phosphorus and 8% of potassium. There are trace amounts of other nutrients in coconut, including zinc, calcium and magnesium.
Taub-Dix, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association stated:
"When something like this becomes wildly popular, people have a tendency to look at the claims rather than reality. If you're working out and sweating a lot, this isn't going to do the trick."
Taub-Dix continued to recommend hydrating with water instead and getting nutrients like sodium and potassium from foods such as bananas and almond butter. And unless you're running a marathon or climbing mountains, she adds, you probably don't need a sports drink.
Here are a few other scientifically proven benefits of the coconut in general:
- Prevents simple goiter (enlarged non-toxic thyroid) because of its organic iodine content.
- Good body builder, so it is a food recommended for building up the body muscles of thin and emaciated individuals.
- Aides in constipation and for any build-up of gas in the stomach and intestinal tract.
- Coconut milk has been found to help cases of sore throat as well as relieving stomach ulcers.
- Coconut oil has been found to heal cuts, scratches, burns and sunburns.
- The oil has also been recommended for facial massage and is reported to be good as a wrinkle remover.
- Coconut oil is also good for the scalp and hair and makes hair dressing unnecessary.
- Intake of at least 2 Tbsp. of Virgin coconut oil per day can lessen your Vitamin E requirement.
- Coconut water is good for kidney and urinary bladder problems.
"This was really the first look into what's really in these bottles and whether or not they live up to their claims. If you enjoy the taste of coconut water, they're fine, but I wouldn't rely on them for rehydrating after strenuous exercise."
Arthur Gallego, the director of communications for Vita Coco, did say that his company's beverage is derived from coconuts grown in multiple locations in Brazil and Southeast Asia, and that the individual cartons tested by ConsumerLab.com aren't necessarily representative of Vita Coco's average nutritional content.
Written by Sy Kraft