Going cuckoo for coconuts

The trend of coconut use has been booming as of late. This fruit has been featured in Indian writings that date back more than 2,000 years ago, but its popularity didn’t start until recently.

Narayana Darst, Cal State Fullerton’s interim director at the Health Center explained why this trend seemingly came so suddenly.

“Research done in the 1960s and 1970s supposedly showed that coconut is possibly not as dangerous for us as we might expect and this research has been widely distributed by individuals on the Internet,” said Darst.

Billboards and commercials for coconut water promoted by healthy and fit celebrities can now be seen across the country.

“At my yoga studio they promote coconut water,” said Jane Nguyen, a business major at CSUF. “They have a fridge full of it and posters of fit women in yoga pants sipping on coconut water.”

In fact, the successful arrival of coconut water has more to do with yoga than one might think. During the yoga craze in 2004, the vitamin water brands Zico and Vita Coco appeared on the market to target female yogis.

The trend that coconut water stands as a healthier beverage alternative to soda and sports drinks has inspired brands like Vitamin Water and Pom Wonderful to emerge.

Coconut water has been called “nature’s Gatorade” for its electrolyte-replacement qualities. Although the bottles of coconut water have “healthy” written all over them, there has been controversy on how beneficial this liquid really is.

“Coconut water has naturally occurring electrolytes that may help muscles recover after a strenuous workout,” Darst said. “Coconut water is not better than drinking water, and in fact most individuals who exercise only need pure water to rehydrate after exercise. Individuals should not choose coconut water in place of regular water.”

Darst also explained that even though coconut water is a healthier alternative to other sports drinks, a diet high in saturated fats from coconut oil could increase the risk of cardiovascular heart disease.

Abbey Hernandez, a long-time cyclist, has been drinking coconut water long before it became popular. She started drinking it extensively years ago when she got into cycling.

“I am what they call a ‘salty sweater’, which means I lose a lot of electrolytes when I sweat,” said Hernandez. “I drink it because it’s a great natural way to get hydrated. Coconut water replaces those electrolytes you lost.”

Don’t be fooled by some of the labels you see on bottles at the grocery store, however. There are pure coconut water bottles that don’t contain preservatives, but there are also many that have dyes, sugar, and additives.

“Make sure you do a lot of research and I can’t say this enough, read the nutrition facts,” said Nguyen.

So is the reason for this coconut craze simply just because it’s seen as healthy?

“People started discovering the health benefits of coconut products in general,” said Hernandez. “More people started to see that artificial beverages hurt them in the long run so they decided to seek an alternative.”

Though it could be possible that the popularity of coconut water emerged because of media, the root of its’ existence lies in itself. The coconut craze became trendy when being healthy became popular.

“I think that it will stay around because people are starting to be more conscious of what they’re eating now,” said Hernandez.

This coconut craze might not stop until being healthy is no longer hot.

About Michelle Bui