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Cactus Water Vs. Coconut Water: Everything You Need To Know
Every person who is truly interested in their health knows that sugar and empty calories are not their friends. With so many truly tasty, nutritious drinks on the market today, why anyone would waste their money, calories, and health on sugary sodas or energy drinks is beyond us.
Coconut water has held one of the top spots as the ultimate healthy drink for several years, so if you haven’t seen the newcomer on your store shelves, you soon will. But what is this new drink that threatens coconut water’s position? Cactus water.
You might be smirking right about now, thinking that cactus might have stickers but certainly not water, and you would be partially correct. Remember those old movies where the dying cowboy, lost in the desert, cuts open a cactus and drinks from it, saving his life? That is just a Hollywood movie, friends. To be able to drink from a prickly pear cactus, you would need to cook it first to reduce the acid level. Drinking directly from the cactus can make you sick! The cactus water we are talking about is derived from the fruit of the prickly pear, not the actual cactus.
So what is the difference between coconut water and cactus water? Is cactus water worth the extra money? Let’s take a look at the facts so you can decide for yourself and not have to rely on some television guru to tell you which the drink they are getting paid to promote.
This is certainly the standard drink to which most health-minded people turn. With more public awareness of the negative impact high fructose corn syrup has on our health, coconut water is a great choice for those trying to get off the soda train because of its sweet flavor.
Coconut water is low in sodium and carbs and is a great way to rehydrate the body. If you are trying to cut out diet sodas or lower your sodium intake, coconut water makes perfect sense.
The downside to coconut water is that there are so many different types, it’s hard to sort out which one is good and which isn’t. Finding pure coconut water that hasn’t been heated so that it loses its healthy nutrients; one that isn’t made from concentrate; and one that hasn’t been filled with unwanted added ingredients such as artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners is not an easy task in today’s world.
All said and done, coconut water is still a really healthy choice and a great way to make the break from sodas.
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Perhaps one of the biggest perks about cactus water is the taste. Coconut water is sweet, true, but it has a strange, nutty flavor that takes getting used to for some people. Cactus water tastes an awful lot like berries — both light and refreshing. Most people love cactus water from the first sip, which is not something that can be said about coconut water.
Cactus water also has an edge over the coconut because it is packed with antioxidants. Coconut water has antioxidants too, but cactus water has many more. Also, cactus water contains a compound called betalains, which can fight cell damage with anti-inflammatory abilities. In fact, prickly pear cactus is the only fruit on this planet that is known to contain all 24 betalains. These highly antioxidant compounds revitalize the body and skin to fight premature aging.
You might have also noticed that cactus water is being used in some cocktail recipes. Why? It’s because it is well-known throughout Mexico for being able to minimize the effects of hangovers. It isn’t a cure, so to speak, but it is known for fighting the nausea, vomiting, and dry mouth that frequently accompany hangovers.
Cactus water also contains fewer calories and natural sugars that coconut water — about half as many, in fact. That alone is a benefit that is hard to beat.
Are there any downsides to cactus water? The price. If you are on a tight budget, you might find that the average $35 per 12-pack a bit steep for what it has to offer. Coconut water is about half this price.
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Which Comes Out on Top?
That would depend on two questions:
- Why are you drinking it?
- Can you afford it?
If you are an avid athlete or dedicated runner and must choose between the two, coconut water would be the best choice. Coconut water is higher in carbs, and athletes need carbs.
If you are an average person who hits the gym on a regular basis, cactus water is the better choice because of its lower calorie count.
If you are forcing yourself to drink coconut water but you don’t really like the taste, then you should try the better-tasting cactus water.
However, if the price is an issue, then by all means, continue with coconut water. There is nothing bad about it, and it still beats the heck out of sodas or energy drinks.