HYDERABAD: Coconut water is seen as a health drink, particularly to overcome problems relating to body heat and de-hydration.
Fresh coconut water has not been pasteurized, therefore it contains enzymes that help to detoxify and repair the body. But its market has all along suffered a handicap as the water’s shelf life lasts barely a few hours once decanted from the harvested coconut.
Coconut water is a great source of electrolytes, such as potassium, necessary for proper hydration, vitamins, minerals, trace elements, amino acids, enzymes, antioxidants, and phytonutrients, and is low in sugar, but pleasantly sweet, but once it is exposed to air, coconut water begins to ferment and rapidly loses most of its nutritional characteristics as it is highly perishable commodity.
Dr J. Anil Kumar, a general physician, said, “Any sweet item kept outside without refrigeration tends to get spoiled. In the case of coconut water, the taste changes if not consumed within 2-3 hours. Coconut water is a natural source of electrolytes, minerals, vitamins, complex carbohydrates, amino acids and other nutrients, but it needs to be consumed fresh.”
To eliminate the risk of bacterial growth, commercial bottlers are forced to sterilise the product using high-temperature/short-time pasteurisation (the same technology used in long-life milk).
But this destroys some of the coconut water’s nutrients and almost all of the flavour.