Pink Coconut Water – Do Not Drink!!

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purple coconut waterWhere there is something healthy, there is always controversy and pink coconut water is no different.


Coconut water is all the rage.  Last count at Whole Foods I saw five different brands.  Central Market and Sprouts carried different brands too.

Here is where I think the controversy comes from:

  1. I believe that people that live their lives in a healthy and natural way have learned to question everything.  We may have drunk the kool-aid when we were younger, but we are much older and wiser now.
  2. Much of the mainstream wellness we see is owned by the same popular companies that destroy the bodies and minds of millions of people with their chemical additives.
  3. In my opinion, most healthy products really aren’t that healthy for you.  People bottle something like coconut water and because it is better than soda pop, people run to buy it thinking it is healthy.  It may be a healthier alternative to soda or sugar filled, pasteurized, fortified juice, but it doesn’t mean it is good for you.

I have drunk pink coconut water and ate the flesh from pink coconuts.  The water and flesh both tasted perfectly fine. For the past 6 years, I have bought my coconuts for the water and flesh instead of buying packaged coconut water and milk.  Over the past several years I have started to see more pink or purple coconut water.

A quick internet search shows that pink coconut water is perfectly safe.  Harmless Harvest, a company that bottles coconut water has this to say about pink or purple coconut water, “Variation is a part of nature. We embrace it.  All of our coconut water is clear when bottled. However, some bottles turn pink due to varying levels of antioxidants, or polyphenols, interacting with light. We could use additives to hide the color change, but the pink bottles are just as delicious and safe to drink as the others. It’s ok to be pink.”

I know it’s confusing.  I was confused too.  Most people said pink water is perfectly fine while a few others stood out by saying no way.  I love science and I love facts so I knew one day I would get to the bottom of it.

I recently was able to procure a couple boxes of fresh (as can be in the USA) coconuts.  Most of the coconuts were pink on the inside.  Tasting the water showed that there was no detectable spoilage.

It made me think that possibly the pink hue may be due to bacteria.  So I went on a medical paper search.  I found out that the pink water was probably not due to bacteria, although fresh coconut water can support the growth of bacteria like Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae.

These two bacterium do have a pink tint to them.  They are gram negative bacteriums and produce acid from carbohydrate fermentation which is known to be pink in color.

**I chose to have some faith that pink bottled coconut water has been tested for these bacteria strains so I continued my search…

[**I try to keep my rose colored glasses on sometimes and not be so jaded by the FDA health world.]

Several companies, including Harmless Harvest, reference the polyphenols as being the reason of the pink or purple hue found in some coconut water.  I looked up research papers specifically targeting the polyphenols.

Here is what I found:

The pink discoloration in coconut water is a result of the initial enzymatic action of polyphenol oxidase (PPO) on the phenolic substrates which are naturally present in the product. Activity of the enzyme is further enhanced by metal contamination such as copper.  The optimum copper concentration to initiate pinking in coconut water was established at 3.96 x 10- 04 mM. The PPO level was also shown to vary among coconut varieties and ages. When subjected to optimum conditions for enzymatic activity, the water from younger nuts (7-8 months old) went pink while mature nuts (9-10 months old) showed no discoloration. Application of food-grade resins to remove the phenolic substrates in coconut water was deemed as a possible solution to prevent the discoloration.

Control of pink discoloration in coconut water B. Garcia , D. B. Masa , M.J. Rodriguez and R. Rolle

I have talked to several people that also have bought coconuts over the past 10 years.  No one saw pink coconut water that long ago but have noticed more and more coconuts containing pink water recently.  Everyone was questioning and concerned about the rise in pink coconuts.

Let’s talk about how copper levels can be higher in some coconuts.

Did you know that copper hydroxide or copper oxychloride is commonly used for diseases and pest control in coconut planting- even in organic coconut plantations.  Specifically it is used to treat or prevent:

  • Bud Rot
  • Grey Leaf Spot
  • Leaf Rot Disease
  • Tanjore Wilt
  • Stem Bleeding Disease
  • Termites
  • Leaf Eating Caterpillar / Black Headed Caterpillar

Copper as a form of pest and disease control is considered natural and is widely used and accepted for use in coconut plantations around the world.

From the health aspect, excess copper in our modern world is concerning.  Copper will build up in the soft tissues of your body.  Copper affects your liver’s ability to detoxify and cleanse your blood. Copper will also prevent your body from eliminating excessive Estrogens and estrogen mimics/xenoestrogens.  You will find xenoestrogens in plastics, pesticides, cleaning products, eating animal products that have been fed or injected with growth hormones, petrochemicals and even EMF and wifi radiation.

Copper has a large impact on your nervous system and can increase depression, mood swings, anxiety, restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, paranoia, anxiety, Bipolar responses, feeling overwhelmed, and can turn on your fight or flight system which may make you feel like you want (or need to) run away.  You will also have have low energy as this type of copper can not be used by your body which will actually result in a bioavailable copper deficiency.

It’s never fun to feel like you are so stressed out that you are going crazy!

Here is a quick list of copper toxicity issues:

  • Acne
  • Allergies
  • Anemia
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Autism
  • Blood sugar problems
  • Candida problems
  • Craving sugar and sweets
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Hair loss
  • Hypertension
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Infertility
  • Migraines
  • Nerve Numbness or Pain
  • PMS
  • Sciatica Pain

I’ve worked with people who were struggling with copper toxicity.  It’s never fun to have your natural detox pathways impaired by inorganic copper, especially if you happen to carry the MTHFR gene mutation.

To see if you have the MTHFR gene mutation, click here.

There is no doubt of the benefits of coconut water.  In fact, the benefits of drinking coconut water are so great, it is my first choice when breaking a fast or to rehydrate after traveling.  Fresh coconut is always best.

So is pink coconut water safe? No one has said a definitive yes or no from a research stand point. The independent research papers I read said to pass on the pink water.  

In my opinion, the potential that coconut water carries a bacteria that has caused the water to turn from clear to pink or that the pink hue is there because the coconut is higher in copper makes me pass on pink water every time.  

I don’t just dump it down the drain though, I turn it back into the earth where we have worked to keep the soil healthy with microorganisms to break down an inorganic materials before the plants can suck them up.  

I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on pink coconut water.  Have you ever found pink coconut water or even purple coconut water?

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