Coconut water: Is It Good for You, Nutrition, Benefits, Side Effects (Science Based)

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Coconut water: Is It Good for You, Nutrition, Benefits, Side Effects

Coconut water is the delicious and nutritious liquid found in young coconuts. Coconut water is good for you because it contains minerals, fiber, and other healthy nutrients. Drinking coconut water is good for replacing lost fluids and electrolytes, lowering your blood pressure, and helping you lose weight quicker.


The best and healthiest type of coconut water is the liquid from immature coconuts. This clear liquid in the green coconut contains the greatest number of nutrients. People in tropical regions where coconuts grow have enjoyed consuming coconut water for centuries to boost their health.

Many recent scientific studies also point to the amazing health benefits of drinking coconut water.

In this article, you will learn about the many reasons why drinking a glass of coconut water every day is good for your health. You will also learn if there are any side effects of consuming too much coconut water.

What Is Coconut Water?

Plain coconut water is a popular drink in many cultures in tropical countries. Coconut water that is consumed for its health benefits is generally from green coconuts.

Coconut water is made inside coconuts as sugars, minerals, and vitamins develop in the refreshing coconut “juice.” Scientists say that coconut water is healthy because of its unique blend of minerals, amino acids, vitamins, and sugars. (1)

Many people say that coconut water tastes sweet, slightly nutty with a light acidic aftertaste that refreshes the palate. Young coconut water has a similar consistency to water and contains rich mineral content.

Coconut water vs. coconut milk

There is a great difference between coconut milk and coconut water. Coconut milk is made by crushing or shredding coconut meat and adding water to it. Coconut milk contains much higher levels of fat than coconut water.

For example, one cup of coconut water only contains 0.5 g of fat whereas one cup of coconut milk contains 57 g of fat.

Coconut water also tastes different from coconut milk. Coconut milk tastes rich and creamy with a distinct coconut flavor.

Coconut Water Nutrition Facts

Drinking coconut water is a healthy way to replenish lost fluids and also boost your health at the same time.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, one cup of coconut water contains 46 calories. The same amount of coconut water contains 9 grams of carbs and 2.6 grams of dietary fiber which is 11% of your daily fiber needs. (2)

A serving of coconut water from one coconut (about 206 grams) contains 5.4 grams of sugar.

Coconut water is also rich in minerals that help to keep your heart and bones healthy. A cup of coconut water contains 60 mg of magnesium (15% of your recommended daily intake), 600 mg of potassium (17% RDI), and 0.3 mg manganese (17% RDI). Coconut water also contains calcium, iron, phosphorus, copper, and zinc.

The electrolytes in coconut water, like magnesium, potassium, and sodium, can help to rehydrate you after physical exercise or losing fluids due to having diarrhea.

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Researchers have suggested that the low sodium content and high potassium content in coconut water could be useful in treating high blood pressure. (32)

One of the reasons why drinking coconut water can be good for your health is that it contains antioxidants. Research published on the antioxidant properties of coconut water has found that they can kill off free radicals. These antioxidants in coconut water also help to reduce damage caused by oxidative stress. (3)

Some of the health benefits of coconut water are also derived from phytohormones called cytokinins. Scientists have discovered that coconut water contains 9 different cytokinins. (4) These naturally-occurring hormones have been linked to treating cancer tumors and slowing down the aging process. (5)

Coconut Water Has High Potassium Levels

The main mineral in coconut water is potassium, and regularly consuming coconut water can help prevent a potassium deficiency.

The National Institutes of Health advise that a potassium deficiency can cause high blood pressure, put you at risk of kidney stones, and affect bone health. (6)

The amount of potassium in coconut water from one coconut is 515 mg which is 15% of your recommended daily potassium requirements. (7)

Researchers say that it is rare for healthy people with normal kidney function to get too much potassium from their diet. Excess potassium is excreted through the kidneys in your urine. (6)

While consuming raw coconut water is a delicious healthy drink, drinking too much coconut water may not be good if you have kidney problems. Doctors from WebMD say that chronic kidney disease can affect potassium levels in your body, causing dangerously high levels. (8)

People with kidney disease should limit their intake of foods that are high in potassium. (6)

Why Coconut Water Is Good for You: 12 Proven Health Benefits of Coconut Water

Is coconut water good for you? Medical studies have shown that drinking coconut water everyday is good for your health. Coconut water is a low calorie electrolyte drink which is full of healthy nutrients that are good for your heart, brain, weight management, liver, and your kidneys.

Let’s look in more detail at the many proven health benefits of coconut water.

Coconut Water Promotes a Strong Immune System

One of the benefits of drinking fresh coconut water rather than water is that coconut water helps strengthen your immunity.

Scientists have discovered that nutrients and microminerals in coconut water are essential to good health. Research has shown that tender coconut water has many medicinal properties that act as immuno-stimulants. (9)

Research has also revealed that coconut water contains antioxidants such as ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and caffeic acid. (3) In fact, one cup of coconut water contains nearly 6 grams of vitamin C which is 10% of your RDI. (7)

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You can learn about other important ways to strengthen your immune system naturally.

Coconut Water is Good for Rehydration Because it Contains Electrolytes

Drinking coconut water is healthy after exercising because it helps to replenish minerals lost during physical exertion.

Doctors say that minerals such as potassium, sodium, and chloride are lost through sweat during strenuous exercising. These minerals need to be replaced by consuming drinks with a rich electrolyte content. (10)

Researchers have found that fresh coconut water can be used as an isotonic drink for whole body rehydration after exercise. Participants in the study reported that coconut water has a pleasant sweet taste and didn’t cause nausea as is sometimes experienced after consuming carbohydrate-electrolyte drinks. (11)

Other studies have shown that coconut water contains enough glucose and potassium to be an effective rehydration drink. However, they recommend adding some table salt to improve the sodium and chloride levels. (12)

Find out about other delicious rehydration drinks you can make at home to replenish lost minerals and electrolytes in your body.

Coconut Water is Good for Your Heart Health

Consuming natural coconut water daily can help to improve your cardio health and help your heart recover after a heart attack.

Scientific studies on animal models have found that tender coconut water has cardio-protective properties. Consuming coconut water increases the number of enzymes in the body that improve heart health. Minerals in coconut water such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and amino acids all combine to promote good cardio health. (13)

Learn more about lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk of a heart attack.

Coconut Water Contains Potassium and Can Help Lower Blood Pressure

Pure coconut water is good for helping to treat hypertension because of minerals like potassium.

High blood pressure puts extra strain on your heart and other organs and can lead to heart disease and stroke.

One of the reasons why consuming fresh coconut water is good for lowering blood pressure is its potassium content. Researchers from the American Heart Association say that potassium helps to lessen the effect of sodium in the body. Doctors recommend that people with hypertension increase their intake of potassium-rich foods. (14)

Studies have also shown that drinking coconut water is better than water if you want to treat hypertension. A study on 28 people with high blood pressure found that those who regularly consumed coconut water experienced a greater decrease in blood pressure than those who got bottled water to drink. (15)

Similar results on the effects of coconut water on blood pressure have also been shown in trials involving rats. (16)

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There are also many other steps you can take to lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of stroke.

Coconut Water is Beneficial to Help Lower Cholesterol

Coconut water is good for you if you have high cholesterol because compounds in coconut water help to lower cholesterol levels.

One trial found that feeding tender coconut water helped to lower total cholesterol in animal subjects. Coconut water increased levels of the amino acid L-arginine and caused more nitrite to be excreted in urine. This helped to lower cholesterol in rats fed with coconut water. (17)

Both tender coconut water and mature coconut water showed cholesterol-lowering activity.

Find out what else you can do to get your cholesterol levels down and prevent having to resort to anti-cholesterol medication.

Mature Coconut Water May Lower Blood Glucose

Mature coconut water is good to drink if you have diabetes because it is low in calories and helps to reduce blood glucose levels.

Research published in the journal Food & Function found that mild-tasting coconut water contains bioactive compounds. Mature coconut water increased antioxidant levels in the blood which helped to lower blood glucose. Researchers describe the effect of mature coconut water for diabetes as a “significant effect.” (18)

Did you know that apple cider vinegar is also a refreshing drink that helps to lower blood glucose?

Coconut Water May Help You Lose Weight Faster

One of the benefits of drinking coconut water daily in the morning is that it may boost your efforts in losing excess body weight.

Of course, increasing your water intake can help prevent overeating. However, various studies have shown that coconut water has an anti-obesity effect and can help prevent complications associated with being overweight.

One study on rats who were fed a high-fat diet and coconut water found that their offspring showed fewer signs of obesity. (19)

Another trial found that consuming coconut water on a long-term basis may help prevent obesity in postmenopausal women. (20)

Scientists have also found that coconut water vinegar can help to prevent inflammation that is associated with obesity. (21)

Coconut water is low in calories and has a refreshing sweet taste and can help you consume fewer calories when you are on a diet.

Coconut Water Contains Minerals That Boost Brain Function

Regularly consuming sweet, nutty-tasting coconut water benefits your memory and can prevent the onset of dementia.

The reason that coconut water is good for your cognitive function is that it contains a lot of magnesium and potassium. The amount of magnesium and potassium contained in the water from one coconut is 13% and 15% respectively of your daily needs. (7)

The journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience reported that consuming foods rich in magnesium, calcium, and potassium help to improve brain health and reduce the risk of stroke. High magnesium intake is associated with a reduced risk of mild cognitive impairment. (22)

Other studies have found that potassium may help to prevent the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. (23)

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However, researchers also noted that too much potassium could have the opposite effect and may increase the risk of cognitive disorders. More research needs to be carried out to see the overall protective effect of these minerals on brain health. (22)

Learn about some common habits to avoid if you want to keep your brain functioning well.

Coconut Water May Help Protect Against Gastric Ulcers

It is safe to drink coconut water on an empty stomach because minerals in coconut water help protect your stomach lining.

One study on animals found that coconut water can help to treat gastric ulcers on the stomach lining. Coconut water had the effect of increasing mucosal protection which may help treat ulcers. In the experiment, both coconut milk and coconut water exhibited a gastro-protective effect. (24)

Learn how to get rid of Helicobacter pylori infections naturally which are often the cause of stomach ulcers.

Drinking Coconut Water is Good to Help Reduce Signs of Aging

Regularly consuming a glass of deliciously tasting young coconut water every day has anti-aging effect and may help to reduce some of the effects of getting older.

Coconut water contains important phytohormones called cytokinins which help protect against DNA cell damage. Research has found that both immature and mature coconut water has significant anti-aging effects. (25)

The antioxidants in coconut water also help to protect you from the effects of oxidative stress which has also been linked to aging. (26)

Learn about other foods that help to delay the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Coconut Water Is Good for Your Liver Health

One of the benefits of drinking coconut water from green coconuts is that the refreshing coconut liquid promotes a healthy liver.

The high antioxidant content of coconut water means that it can help to protect your liver’s health. Research published in 2017 found that consuming coconut water can help treat liver diseases. Coconut water helped to prevent liver damage caused by alcohol. (27)

Learn about common habits that damage your liver.

Coconut Water Helps Protect the Kidneys and May Prevent Kidney Stones

Natural coconut water acts as a natural diuretic and can help protect healthy kidneys from various renal disorders.

Various studies have shown that coconut water has a protective effect on your kidneys’ health. Coconut water from green coconuts is a natural product which contains vitamins, micronutrients, and antioxidants. (28)

One of the benefits of using coconut water for your kidneys is that it can help prevent kidney stone formation. Researchers in Brazil found that regularly consuming coconut water may help to prevent crystals deposits forming in the kidneys. The research concluded that coconut water may help to treat urolithiasis (stones in the bladder or urinary tract). (29)

Increasing your coconut water intake also acts a diuretic and can help to flush toxins and other microorganisms from your urinary tract. (30)

However, as already noted, people with chronic kidney disease should limit their intake of potassium-rich foods which would include coconut water.

Find out other ways to treat kidney stones naturally and how to use apple cider vinegar for kidney stones.

Side Effects of Coconut Water

Consuming the tasty water found in immature green coconuts is generally safe for most people without causing any adverse effects.

Doctors from WebMD say that drinking coconut water can affect your health if you drink it in large quantities. The most common health concern with drinking natural coconut water is the levels of potassium it contains. (31)

However, adverse effects caused by too much potassium in coconut water is usually only experienced by people who have kidney dysfunction.

Drinking Coconut Water Every Day: What is a Safe Dose?

Consuming coconut water daily can also help to prevent a potassium deficiency. The National Institutes of Health says that many people don’t get enough potassium in their diet. The recommended daily potassium requirements for adults is 4,700 mg. (6)

There is no official recommended dose for drinking coconut water for its health benefits. However, as always, moderation applies and you don’t want to over-do it. Usually 1 cup a day is enough.

The Best Coconut Water to Buy

Coconut water can be found in supermarkets, health food stores and online.

The best type of coconut water to drink is straight from a fresh, green coconut. All you have to do is slice the top off and enjoy the sweet, subtle taste of pure coconut water. However, not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to purchase green coconuts.

The best type of commercially available coconut water is cold pressed pure coconut water without added ingredients. This contains high levels of minerals and vitamins.

If you want to benefit from high-quality coconut water, then you should avoid the type that has been highly processed. Pasteurization kills off many of the beneficial enzymes and nutrients in raw, pure coconut water.

Flavored coconut water has also become popular. However, companies often flavor coconut water to disguise the acidic taste of mature coconut water. So always read the product label to see if any ingredients have been added.

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20 Responses to Coconut water: Is It Good for You, Nutrition, Benefits, Side Effects (Science Based)

  1. Susan Kimbell says:

    I saw it at Costco….Didnt know that it was so wonderful….Thanks for the information….Always love coconut and even more now 🙂

  2. Venise says:

    One day I was starving and we were far from the restaurant. I stopped in a market where I drank coconut water and ate the meat inside, I was no more hungry, could wait one more hour for lunch. It’s a wonderful fruit and so delicious.

  3. Carmen says:

    Thanks for the information. Question: I am allergic to peanut and was told that coconut is part of the nut family and should avoid coconut. Is this true?

  4. mohaa says:

    What about if you drink tha 1 with the hairy not the green one

    • Jenny says:

      You can drink both. From what I’ve read young coconuts have more ‘water’ in them, and for some it tastes better.

  5. Jose Beltran says:

    Is it ok to drink the one they sell in stores from the can or does it have to be natural?

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Jose, read the label of the ingredients and see what it contains. If it’s loaded with additives, flavors and preservative, don’t buy it. Opt for 100% organic and raw that is not processed with any heat.

  6. Lori says:

    I love to mix my drinks with half coconut water, and half regular water, as I’m not a fan of the taste unless it’s fresh from young coconut, but i know it has so many great benefits. I like coco-hydro (dehydrated coconut water, all the goodness, just needs to be rehydrated in water) too, since it’s much easier to take with you somewhere or store if you have a limited amount of storage space.

  7. Amin Osman says:

    I live in Mauritius, a sub-tropical island, where there are plenty of coconut trees especially near the beaches. A Saudi Arab who had never seen a coconut tree was amazed at the quality of coconut water and tender meat and said:” This must be the Paradise Tree!”

  8. Lita GUINTO Salada says:

    We have a lot of coconut trees in the Philippines…Every day you can drink it as long as you want.It is really good in our body. Good for your kidney used as cleansing..

  9. Chernoh Maju Bah says:

    Thank you,we have it in Africa in abondance,no sugar adding,you are invited to the tropicals.

  10. ella says:

    Coconut water is a very effective remedy for headaches. No matter how bad you just calm down.

  11. jo says:

    I can say coconut water is better than cranberry when it comes to treating Urinary tract infection. I have used this and it really works quicker.

  12. were george says:

    Hi jenny its George i really like your articles because they really help me understand my life. I have a question that has troubled me for long,my wife sometimes find it difficult to breath just for some time then she feels to be good,how can i overcome this kind of problem naturally? Because am afraid one day it can happen to her when am not in the house and she just pass on and i don’t want to lose her because she is the love of my life.Thanks in advance.

    • Jenny Hills, Nutritionist and Medical Writer says:

      Hi George, since I’m not a doctor, I cannot diagnose specific cases and give advice as it would be irresponsible from my side. I don’t know what causing the breathing difficulties of your wife and how long it has been like that. Your wife really needs to see a doctor who knows her medical history and is able to do the required tests to provide an accurate diagnosis and a treatment plan. I apologize I cannot be of any help, but I wish your wife to get well soon!

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