Zico Pure Coconut Water

Zico Pure Coconut Water

Zico is the brainchild of founder Mark Rampolla, who was turned on to coconut water as a Peace Corps volunteer in Central America. In 2004, he left his corporate career to “pursue his dream of bringing the healthy, natural benefits of coconut water to consumers across the world.” Zico is being marketed as a “better sports drink” that can also “can become an important alternative agricultural product for the developing world.”

Manufacturer’s Description: For more than 4,000 years, coconut water has been revered as a natural source of nutrition, wellness, beauty and hydration. In times of famine and war, coconut water has been used as an intravenous fluid and saved many lives. It’s the only natural substance that can be safely injected into the human blood stream. Now modern science has validated its effectiveness, especially as a natural sports drink.

ZICO contains the five essential electrolytes your body needs to keep nerves firing, muscles moving and to help manage stress. One ZICO has more potassium than a banana – 15 times more than most sports drinks – to prevent cramping and promote recovery. Drink ZICO before or during a workout for the natural energy you need for optimal performance. After a workout, ZICO replenishes and re-hydrates you to speed recovery.

Product Label:

Serving Size: 11 Fl. Oz (330 ml)
Calories 60
Calories from fat 0
Total Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 60mg
Potassium 670mg
Total Carbohydrates 15g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 14g
Protein 1g
Calcium 40mg
Phosphorus 17mg
Magnesium 25mg
Ingredients: 100% natural coconut water, citric acid, natural mango flavor

Comments: Zico Pure Coconut Water is a bit unusual for a “Functional Food” as it has no added nutraceuticals – it IS a food, not unlike milk or orange juice. I’ve included it here in this section for two reasons, however: a) it’s targeted to the sports/nutrition market vs. general use; b) it’s an outstanding source of potassium: an element that is lacking in many Western diets.

It also helps that it’s relatively low in calories and tastes pretty good, too – without added sweeteners or many other additives.

I tried both the Zico Natural and Mango flavor. While I’m not a big fan of coconut in general, the Natural had a very mild taste, with a pleasant, slight sweetness to it. I liked it well enough, although I liked the Mango even better…the fruit flavor complemented the coconut and enhanced the natural sweetness a bit too. I downed the latter following a cardio session, and found it quite refreshing.

One 11 oz. container provides 670 mg of potassium, which puts it in a class by itself as a sports drink. Most sports drinks provide only small amounts of this electrolyte, since relatively little potassium is lost in sweat (potassium found primarily inside cells). Most people don’t come close to the recommended 4700 mg potassium per day, though, so even small losses can be critical. Zico could certainly help pick up some of the slack.

It’s not particularly cheap: the lowest price I found online was $21.94 (US) for a case of 12 ($1.83 each). This is perhaps to be expected, as Zico is a natural product manufactured in Brazil, but the cost means it’s not the sort of drink you’re going to be knocking back throughout the day.

Taste:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Quality:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Efficacy:5 out of 5 stars (5.0 / 5)
Value:3 out of 5 stars (3.0 / 5)
Average:4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Author: elissa

Elissa is a former research associate with the University of California at Davis, and the author/co-author of over a dozen articles published in scientific journals. Currently a freelance writer and researcher, Elissa brings her multidisciplinary education and training to her writing on nutrition and supplements.


  1. I have tried Zico before, and found it tasted a bit like dirty water..has anyone else found this to be the case?

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  2. I just tried Zico coconut water with Mango flavor and I must say, what an awful taste!! I just checked the ingredients and see that there’s citric acid(!) and natural flavors. Plus it’s made from concentrate!
    If it’s mango, just put mango, and why put citric acid??
    Awful, unnatural taste

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