The Quick Answer
Yes. Coconut water is paleo.
Why Is Coconut Water Paleo?
Coconut water is a clear liquid found in the center of young green coconuts. Although most cavemen didn’t have access to coconuts, some did, and that is one of the reasons it is considered paleo. However, cavemen having access to certain foods doesn’t necessarily make those foods paleo. Remember, a paleo approach to nutrition is all about healing your body from the inside out.
Coconut water is considered paleo because of the beneficial nutrients it contains. Coconut water contains five key electrolytes that your body needs to function properly:
These electrolytes help with maintaining proper fluid balance inside and outside of your cells. They’re also vitally important because they help to carry out electrical nerve, heart, and muscular impulses.
When you exercise intensely, you can lose electrolytes through your sweat. This is one reason that coconut water is often marketed as an excellent energy and post-workout recovery drink.
Coconut water also contains cytokinins – plant hormones that have been reported to have anti-ageing and cancer-fighting effects. However, the research on this is still in its infancy.
Coconut water has also been touted as a great antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory, and it is good for the eyes, the skin, and the urinary tract.
Is There Any Confusion About Coconut Water Being Paleo?
The major problem with coconut water is its high sugar content. A cup of the stuff is going to contain about six grams of sugar, with about 55% of that coming form fructose. As we know from posts like this one about agave, fructose is not your friend.
Also, if fat loss is a goal of yours, the liquid calories and high sugar content in coconut water are best avoided.
So Is Coconut Water Paleo?
Yup. Coconut water is paleo. That said, we recommend only consuming it if fat loss is not a priority for you. Even then, we only recommend using it as a post-workout or special occasion drink. Avoid having the processed, canned stuff, and instead opt for fresh water right from the coconut. If you’re in the US, you can usually find two for three bucks at Whole Foods and Sprouts.
If you don’t have a machete handy to open up your coconut, try using the Coco Jack. It definitely speeds up the process.
Lastly, after drinking the water, eat the coconut meat. It is rich in MCTs – a rare fat that’s great for brain function, energy, and fat loss.
How To Know What Is And Isn’t Paleo
Check out Paleo.io, the mobile app that answers the question, “is __ paleo?”. Paleo.io comes with the most comprehensive paleo diet food list out there, so no matter which food you’re confused about, you’ll always be able to find out whether or not it’s paleo.
Photo credit: Rob Bertholf
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