January 31, 2021

Cactus Water vs. Coconut Water – Why Cactus Water Is the Ultimate 2021 Drink

Cactus Water vs. Coconut Water – Why Cactus Water Is the Ultimate 2021 Drink

Healthy flavored waters are everywhere, but did you know that cactus water is the “IT” drink of 2021? If you thought coconut water reigned supreme and if you have been fueling and replenishing your body with the coconut water craze, keep reading. We’re here to bust that myth with 3 amazing reasons why 🌵 is better than 🌴.

1. Cactus Water Tastes Better

In case you’ve landed on this blog or the Pricklee website for the first time, here’s a fun fact: we created our own cactus water because all five of us were looking for a healthy beverage, that wasn’t artificial or wasn’t coconut water, to help us recover and replenish after a workout or night out. We despised coconut water. At the time, we thought it was an idiosyncrasy until we googled it and found out that our #UnpopularOpinion wasn’t so unpopular after all. In fact, there were Twitter rants and an entire Reddit thread asking people to confirm that coconut water is disgusting. So here’s proof that coconut water sucks:

It was the grossest thing I have put in my mouth. It started with this weird salt-nasty taste and then turned into some gross flavor. It did not taste like coconut. It tasted like someone took salt, dirt and gross and mixed it with water.

Supposedly it's good for you and all the trendy folk are into it. I can't stomach the crap. It tastes like cereal milk leftover in the bowl after you eat all the cereal.
CountSparkula on Reddit

Coconut water tastes like water that’s already been in someone else’s mouth.
Hackkingarman on Reddit

It tastes like sugarless kool aid flavored water with rotten fruit.
Manami333 on Reddit

While there are people who love coconut water 🤷🏿‍♂️, it seems that many find its taste too sweet, nutty and overpowering for a drink that’s supposed to be refreshing and energizing. 

Cactus water, on the other hand, comes from the reddish-purple fruit of the opuntia cactus (the prickly pear) and has a more mellow, watermelon meets bubblegum taste, that tastes SO MUCH better than coconut water. In case you’ve never tried it or are looking to convert from team coconut to team cactus – give it a try and thank us later! 😃

2. Antioxidants Galore

Now let’s get a bit more scientific. The benefits of coconut water lie in its high potassium content and electrolytes, but cactus water can offer much more. Enter antioxidants

Antioxidants are instrumental in fighting free radicals, which are damaging molecules that cause oxidative stress and damage our immunity on the cellular level. Oxidative stress has been linked to the aging process and common chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, heart conditions and even cancer.

It's super important to have an antioxidant-rich diet, consisting of fruits and vegetables, to defend against the effects of oxidative stress.  Luckily, prickly pears are loaded with natural antioxidants, such as betalains, flavonoids, polyphenols and vitamin C. In fact, prickly pears have 2x the amount of total antioxidant activity compared to apples, tomatoes and grapes and similar to that of oranges and grapefruit. 

Cactus water made from prickly pears is one of the best sources of powerful and rare antioxidants, called betalains, which give the fruit its vibrant reddish-purple color. Prickly pears are the only food that contains all known 24 types of betalains, double the amount found in another common reddish-purple vegetable - beets.

The antioxidants found in prickly pear-filled cactus water defend your body from the inside out and support your immunity, recovery and skin health. Cactus water is packed with flavonoids, antioxidants that help reduce the symptoms of a hangover and reduce soreness after exercise. That’s why we recommend drinking Pricklee cactus water before, during and after a night out (or a solitary isolation-meets-alcohol night in) or after a workout.


Cactus water is also packed with vitamin C - a powerful antioxidant that helps fight infections by supporting the immune response, including antibody production. Vitamin C may also slow aging by reducing damage from UV rays and environmental pollutants.

3. No Pollution, No Water Consumption, No Waste

Last, but not least, cacti are more sustainable than coconuts. We recently wrote about the non-sustainability of coconuts, with the main issue being that coconut farming destroys biodiversity and leaves local communities and coconut farmers in extreme poverty.

The sustainability story around the green king of the desert and its red prickly fruit is quite the opposite – the prickly pear cactus is central to biodiversity. Not only is it the habitat of the rare insect that’s used in food and makeup production, but it’s also a staple in the Mexican cuisine. While the red fruit can be used to make cactus water, smoothies, salads and cocktails, the green part of the cactus is used in salads, sauces, soups and can be grilled or made into fries.

In his influential Ted Talk, “The Taste of Bioregional Cuisine”, Adam Brock described prickly pear cactus as the “species that might just be the future of food”, as it does not pollute soil and water and changes and heals the food system. The cactus is the epitome of resilience as the plant that gives so much while requiring so little care and little precipitation.

BBC Future found that cactus juice and its fragments are now used to make bioplastics and cactus biofuel. This is one of the rare examples where the by-product can be used as an alternative to fossil fuels and become the new sustainable source of renewable energy. 

There you have it! These three reasons are enough to dethrone coconut water and why you should switch over to cactus water as the ultimate functional drink among the eco-conscious wellness and beauty enthusiasts. While you’re waiting for our next story on prickly pear’s powerful antioxidants, why not join our plant-based revolution and check out the Pricklee  flavors: the original prickly pear, mango ginger, and strawberry hibiscus.

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