Is Coconut Water Good For You? Here’s What You Need To Know!

Coconut Water

In recent years, the phrase “coconut water” has been popping up everywhere as a trendy health drink. One can find them in every supermarket and grocery store while many celebrities are investing in coconut water claiming the health benefits this beverage brings.

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What exactly is coconut water and is it really good for you?

Is Coconut Water Good For You?

What is coconut water?

Coconut water is the clear sap found inside the coconut fruit (botanically classified as a drupe) which comes from the flowers of the coconut palm tree.

When the coconut flowers are fertilized, the coconut fruits in their early development during the nuclear phase has coconut water which acts as a suspension for the endosperm of the coconut fruit.

This endosperm structure forms the edible portion of the coconut fruit – the coconut water and the coconut meat called copra.

Read also Is Coconut Oil Good For You?

For the maximum amount of coconut water to be found in a coconut fruit, the coconut fruit has to be harvested when it is immature. Ideally, that would be when the young fruit is around six months of age. This is because as the coconut fruit matures, the coconut water gradually solidifies to be part of the copra.

In some parts of the world, trained pig-tailed macaques are used to pick coconuts while others are harvested by humans who either climb the tree to get the fruit by hand or cut the coconut using a long pole with a knife attached to the end.

These coconuts are refrigerated to be stored for up to two months as they only last for two weeks at room temperature. Fallen coconuts left on the ground are susceptible to rot and damage from insects and animals. Of course, coconut water served fresh from chilled coconuts is the best.


Although you may be able to find coconuts cut and cling-wrapped ready for consumption in the grocery departments now, coconuts used to be only sold by street vendors. These sellers would cut the coconuts open in front of their customers, either using a machete to chop off the top of the husk or boring a hole into the largest eye (germination pore) of the coconut, for the buyer to access the coconut water.

As the liquid and air in the coconut is under pressure, one would observe their spray when the coconut inner husk is first penetrated. Depending on where the coconut trees are grown, different varieties of coconuts produce coconut water that tastes slightly different from each other.

These days, coconut water is available readily processed for retail; packaged in cans, bottles, and Tetra Paks; with or without added sugars and flavours. As with all foods, one should consume those that are labelled a hundred percent natural without added sugar, flavourings, preservatives, and colouring.

In its natural form, coconut water is clear and light, mildly sweet and  sometimes slightly sour, and has a refreshing thirst-quenching hydrating effect on our bodies.

Young green coconut with coconut water

Nutritional facts of coconut water

With modern science, one can now get facts about the nutritional value of foods we consume and how they compare with other foods on the table of Percent Daily Values based on a diet of two thousand calories.

For the different varieties of coconut water, the average nutritional value per 100 grams is as compiled in the following table:

Nutritional Value Coconut Water per 100g

Nutrition InformationAmountsPercent Daily Values
Energy19 kcal1%
From Carbohydrate14.8 kcal
From Fat1.7 kcal
From Protein2.5 kcal
Carbohydrates3.71 g1%
Sugars2.61 g
Dietary Fiber1.1 g4%
Fat0.20 g0%
Saturated0.176 g1%
Monounsaturated0.008 g
Polyunsaturated0.002 g of Total Omega-6
Protein0.72 g1%
Tryptophan0.008 g
Threonine0.026 g
Isoleucine0.028 g
Leucine0.053 g
Lysine0.032 g
Methionine0.013 g
Cystine0.014 g
Phenylalanine0.037 g
Tyrosine0.022 g
Valine0.044 g
Arginine0.118 g
Histidine0.017 g
Alanine0.037 g
Aspartic acid0.070 g
Glutamic acid0.165 g
Glycine0.034 g
Proline0.030 g
Serine0.037 g
Vitamins
Vitamin C2.4 mg3%
Thiamine (B1)0.030 mg3%
Riboflavin (B2)0.057 mg5%
Niacin (B3)0.080 mg1%
Pantothenic acid (B5)0.043 mg1%
Vitamin B60.032 mg2%
Folate (B9)3 mcg1%
Choline1.1 mg
Minerals
Calcium24 mg2%
Copper0.04 mg2%
Iron0.29 mg2%
Magnesium 25 mg7%
Manganese0.142 mg7%
Phosphorus20 mg3%
Potassium250 mg5%
Selenium1 mcg1%
Sodium105 mg7%
Zinc0.10 mg1%
Other constituents
Water95 g
Ash0.4 g

As seen in the table above, a 100 ml of coconut water is 95 percent water and provides 19 calories with 4 percent carbohydrates and protein and fat under 1 percent each. It also contains vitamins and minerals that are under 10 percent of the Daily Value.

Of course a cup of coconut water, that is 240 ml, would thus contain 46 calories of which the majority comes from the 8.9 grams of carbohydrates where 6.26 grams are from sugar and 2.6 grams are from fiber and that is 9.3 percent of your daily needs for fiber based on a typical diet of 2000 calories. In this case, a cup of coconut water would contain 1.78 grams of proteins and still less than a gram of total fat.

This indeed makes coconut water a low-fat drink. Accordingly, the vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals would be multiplied too, making the amounts ideal for human health. The high potassium levels enables it to be a high electrolyte beverage containing sodium and up to 10 percent of your daily calcium and magnesium needs. One coconut yields about 206 ml of coconut water.

Hence coconut water is deemed a healthier alternative to sodas and juices that are mostly packed with sugars and calories because pure coconut water from the coconut fruit is a natural beverage with no artificial additives or sweeteners and is free of cholesterol, almost fat free, low in calories, carbohydrates and natural sugars, and high in vitamins and minerals.

However be aware of packaged coconut water sitting on the supermarket shelves. Firstly, the shelf life for all of the components mentioned above may not be active after they have been on the shelves for a while. Secondly, branded versions of coconut water are likely to be higher in sugar although that might still have less sugar and calories content compared to many juices, sodas, and sports drinks. Note that these sugars are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream because they are not bound to fiber.

Always check the labels to ensure the product is as fresh and natural as you can get.

Coconut water in glass

Health benefits of coconut water

So what do all that above nutritional facts mean for our bodily health when we consume coconut water?

Hydration

If you are like me, the first thing you would notice from the nutrition information table above is that coconut water is 95 percent water H2O!

Some people love the taste of bland tasteless odourless water while others find that they have a problem consuming the recommended at least 7 glasses a day of this tasteless liquid. Well, the catch is, you don’t have to drink all of that water as about 20 percent of our daily water intake comes from fruits, vegetables, and other solid foods.

Although it is still essential to drink a lot of water, one may also consume hydrating foods which are at least 90 percent water by weight. In this case, with 95 percent water by weight, coconut water comes in handy to provide the same amount, with minimal difference, of hydration as water or a sports drink for humans.

However, some experience coconut water as more hydrating than plain water in hot and humid climates where they often get dehydrated due to heavy perspiration. This is because the minerals in coconut water speed up the absorption of its 95 percent water through the gut wall and rehydrates bodies quicker as it is readily absorbed into the body due to its composition and salt concentration being similar to body tissue fluids.

It might be interesting to note that such consistency of coconut water being identical to human blood plasma allows it to be used intravenously to rehydrate the body with its water and salt content in extreme emergencies.

Weight Loss

When one maintains one’s body at its optimal hydration, weight loss occurs. While hydration itself does not directly eliminate those extra fats, failure to drink enough fluids lead to dehydration that causes metabolism to slow down and burn less calories – something that one must avoid while attempting to get rid of excess fats.

To increase one’s metabolism, one may drink a glass of coconut water in the morning on an empty stomach. Due to its water content and electrolytes, that would stimulate one’s metabolism similar to drinking a glass of water and eating a banana in the morning.

Being a beverage that is lower in fat and calories than your juices, sodas, and sports drinks; replacing all these with coconut water for hydration would definitely lead to weight loss as you are consuming lesser calories and almost zero fat.

Moreover, coconut water is high in fiber and would make one feel satiated and full for a longer period of time, causing one to actually eat less of other foods. Similarly, this would lead to weight loss as one eats lesser and consumes lesser calories and fats.

If one is concerned about losing body water weight in the form of reducing water retention and bloating, the diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties of coconut water would definitely aid in body water weight loss.


Nature’s Sports Drink

The composition of coconut water makes it an all natural isotonic performance drink similar to traditional formulated sports drink with regard to benefits but better in that all needed substances are in their natural purest form without the artificial components made by man.

Coconut water perform as well as sports drink to keep you hydrated and replenish lost fluids for whole body rehydration after exercise and workouts. However, coconut water does not cause nausea and stomach upset. Therefore one can consume more coconut water than sports drink and plain water.

When one engages in sports, exercises, and workouts, such strenuous activities require constant muscular movement which uses up minerals.

Sports Cyclists

It is essential to replace them as soon as possible to avoid muscle breakdown and electrolyte imbalance. Electrolytes are the essential minerals and salts that regulate blood pressure and its pH as well as muscle and nerve function in our body.

Coconut water consists of all these required minerals and is readily absorbed into the body due to its isotonicity with interstitial fluid and blood plasma and thus can quickly restore fluid volume in our blood and tissues. This is important because dehydrating any tissue or organ in the body has severe consequences like drop in blood pressure and irregular heartbeat which can be fatal.

On a less severe level, coconut water’s minerals can also prevent muscle cramps by regulating muscle contraction during long periods of exercise and thus keeps one going.

Coconut water can also boost energy levels and increase body metabolism.

Consuming coconut water after exercise improves endurance and athletic performance. This is due to the  carbohydrate it contains in the form of glucose and its various minerals.

However, coconut water is lower in carbohydrates compared to sports drinks and therefore beneficial for those watching their sugar intake. In addition, coconut water has amino acids which are needed to repair the tissues and helps your body respond to the stress of a strenuous workout.

Exercising also creates oxidative stress and free radicals which can be neutralized by the antioxidants in coconut water.

Coconut water coconuts and flowers

Reduce Stress & Muscle Tension

There is a high level of magnesium found in coconut water. Magnesium is a relaxation mineral as its primary function is in the parasympathetic part of the nervous system that causes us to relax.

It also aids in producing serotonin which is the hormone that makes humans feel good and less depressed. These properties work in stress management and helps one to remain calm. The calcium in coconut water also relaxes the body muscles themselves.

Strong Bones & Teeth

Coconut water has calcium which is a mineral essential for strong bones and teeth. As you exercise, your bones slightly break down due to the muscles pulling on them. These bones use calcium to get strong again and repair as our body recovers.

Fit woman exercising

Body Cleansing & Detox

With the correct nutrients and hydration, our body can naturally cleanse and detox by itself. With adequate water, our detoxifying organs – liver and kidneys – are able to remove toxins in the body. On the other hand, water or electrolyte loss that leads to dehydration affects the kidneys’ ability to flush out toxins and causes fatigue, irritability, confusion, and extreme thirst.

Purposely fasting by drinking coconut water only is called a  coco water cleanse or detox. As coconut water is rich and balanced in vital nutrients, it brings about great healing to the body. Coconut water also provides adequate energy to allow the fasting person to continue with his or her normal activities.


Regular Bowel Movement

Regular bowel movement removes toxins as soon as possible whereas constipation accumulates these toxins in the digestive tract which causes many health issues. Fiber aids in this elimination process and coconut water is one of the natural beverages that contain the highest amount of fiber despite it being a naturally occurring clear liquid.

Most fruit juices have poor fiber content due to juicing its fruit which removes the solid parts that is usually fibers to end up with only the liquid parts that is the juice with little to no fibers. Coconut water has soluble fibers in its liquid. Fiber has zero calories and is important for good colon health.

Good Digestive Health

Coconut water is able to treat digestive ailments like indigestion, acid reflux, stomach flu, dysentery, and intestinal worms.

It is particularly used to resolve dyspepsia, that is, an upset stomach. Dyspepsia is due to an inflamed stomach lining that could be caused by indigestion, gastrointestinal infection, and food allergies. An inflamed stomach lining loses minerals and is unable to absorb water and sugars from foods.

Coconut water is able to soothe the stomach lining as it contains tannins with antibacterial properties to reduce inflammation. It can readily replace the traditional BRAT diet remedy for upset stomachs due to its easily absorbed soluble state.

Coconut water also contains lauric acid that is found in breast milk. The body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which has antimicrobial properties and therefore able to treat bacterial and protozoan infections and stomach flu.

Good Urinary Health Prevents Kidney Stones & UTIs

Coconut water is a natural diuretic due to its high potassium level and increases urine flow by helping the kidneys flush out toxins to prevent urinary tract infections. Its process dilutes the urine which prevents the formation of kidney stones and can also flush out existing kidney stones from the body. Kidney stones are formed when calcium and oxalate combine to form crystals in urine which in turn form stones.

Coconut water reduce free radical production that occur in response to high oxalate levels and reduces the number of crystals formed while keeping the crystals from sticking to the kidneys and urinary tract. In addition, the arginine in coconut water also increases blood circulation to all organs including the kidneys to maintain good kidney health.

Heart Tonic Controls Blood Pressure & Cholesterol

Coconut water promotes good heart health and reduce cardiovascular disease risk by lowering blood pressure and bad cholesterol in the heart while increasing good cholesterol throughout.

The calcium relaxes our heart muscle which in turn lowers the risk of heart attacks. The potassium regulates heartbeat, muscle contractions, cholesterol, and nerve impulses.

Potassium can lower blood pressure in hypertension cases by counteracting the sodium in the body which causes high blood pressure and water retention. When water is retained, it increases blood volume and increases blood pressure.

As a diuretic, the potassium in coconut water helps the kidneys to flush out excess water and reduces blood pressure. High blood pressure can also be caused by an imbalance of electrolytes in the body.

Coconut water with its balanced level of electrolytes is used to treat the disproportionate level. Arginine in coconut water relaxes blood vessels and improve blood circulation. Together, the minerals in coconut water produce antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-thrombotic properties, which reduce plaque formation and blood clots in arteries thereby lowering risks of heart diseases and strokes.

Fit For Diabetics

Coconut water can easily fit into a diabetic meal plan as it moderates sugar absorption to maintain good blood sugar control. Magnesium in coconut water improves insulin sensitivity and reduces blood sugar levels.

Headaches & Migraines Remedy

Most headaches, including migraines, are triggered by dehydration. Coconut water is able to quickly supply and balance the electrolytes in the body and combat this pain with a boost in hydration.

The potassium in coconut water regulates the body water level so that it does not become dehydrated or retain water. The magnesium in coconut water reduces the frequency of migraine attacks.

Hangover Remedy

Consuming more alcohol than one can handle leads to hangovers. Alcohol is extremely dehydrating and lost fluids need to be replaced. Coconut water is able to rehydrate the body quickly. If vomiting also occurs which causes more loss of  electrolytes, coconut water would quickly replace them as well as settle an acid stomach.

Suitable For Vomiting, Diarrhoea, Blood Loss

When one loses blood, has diarrhoea, or throws up, one would be dehydrated and coconut water can be given as a means of hydration as its taste is tolerable for people with nausea and even those who suffer from an aversion to food due to the metallic taste on their tongues.

Pregnancy Heart

Supplement For Pregnancy

Coconut water is useful for morning sickness as the nauseous is able to keep it in and replace the fluids lost through throwing up. Pregnant and lactating mothers require extra nutrition that coconut water can provide and it even has folate which is proven beneficial to babies and reduces anaemia during pregnancy. Coconut water can also help to relieve heartburn during pregnancy.

Aids In Malnutrition

Coconut water is a natural health drink with contents better than other health drink formulas for adults, kids, elderly, and convalescents suffering from malnutrition and cannot derive sufficient nutrition from food.

Manages Cell Growth

The naturally occurring enzymes in coconut water generates energy, breaks down harmful growth, and supports tissue growth.

Treats Fibromyalgia

Coconut water contains malic acid which helps to treat this rheumatic condition.

Gallstones Breakdown

Malic acid combined with magnesium, both found in coconut water, helps to break down gall stones.

Anti-Cancer

Coconut water contains cytokinin – the naturally occurring plant hormone that reduces cancer cells growth by influencing cell division. In particular, the type of cytokinin called gibberellin that is    found in coconut water has anti-tumour properties. Another type called kinetin, also found in coconut water, is especially effective for mammary carcinomas, myeloma, and hepatoma.

Anti-Aging

The cytokinins present in coconut water is an anti-aging hormone that delays the effects of aging. With natural aging, degenerative changes occurs and bodies develop age-related diseases but cytokinins are able to inhibit them by causing human cells to be more vibrant and youthful. Coconut water has the richest dietary source of cytokinins. In particular, the type of cytokinin called kinetin slows down cellular aging especially for sun-damaged skin.

Heals Arterial Thrombosis

Kinetin found in coconut water has anti-platelet properties and therefore is able to heal thrombosis.

Anti-Anxiety

Coconut water contains GABA which is the neurotransmitter that reduces anxiety and convulsions, and helps to relax the body.

Improves Memory & Learning

The glutamic acid in coconut water is the amino acid essential for memory and learning.

Treats Neurological Diseases

Coconut water has trans-zeatin which is another type of cytokinin used for treating Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Rich In Antioxidants

During metabolism, free radicals are produced and they increase with stress and injury. Too many of these free radicals would place the body under oxidative stress which damage cells and increase the risk of diseases. Coconut water provides antioxidants to scavenge and modify these damaging free radicals so that they are no longer harmful and the body cells are protected.

Healthy Skin

Carbohydrate in coconut water, turned into glucose in the body, is a vital nutrient for skin health because glucose is the primary source of energy for skin cells. Consuming insufficient carbohydrates affects skin structure and appearance.

Vitamin C in coconut water is another essential nutrient for skin health because it makes the collagen required for skin firmness and elasticity as well as heals wounds and prevents scurvy and dry dull skin. As an antioxidant, it protects skin against sun-damage.

Cytokinin in coconut water protects the skin from premature aging and wrinkles thus making it smoother and younger.

With its hydrating properties, coconut water when ingested  orally will moisturise the skin from within and eliminate oils. Its anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties, promote skin healing for those with skin infections.


Interestingly, coconut water may also be used topically. Splash coconut water on skin to rehydrate and freshen the skin to achieve glowing skin. The oils in coconut water acts as a natural skin barrier. For more serious skin problems, coconut water can be used to clear and tone skin with acne and blemishes as well as reduce cellulite, eczema, stretch marks, age spots, and saggy skin.

Health Enhancer

If one does not have a specific health condition, coconut water can be consumed as a general health tonic to improve overall health and energy for body revitalization.

Health Benefits of Coconut Water

14 Replies to “Is Coconut Water Good For You? Here’s What You Need To Know!

  1. Coconut water is absolutely divine.
    One of my favourite drinks but I LOVE that this article mentions to CHECK store bought labels because coconut water in stores ARE more often than not high in sugar.
    I’ve also found with a few of the brands that it actually leaves you more thirsty afterwards and I’ve always felt that’s due to the sugar because proper coconut water doesn’t do that.

    1. Oh yes Siobhan – there are so many so called health products that I have seen in-store that add so much sugar and other things like preservatives that are so bad for you that ti overrides the health aspects by a long shot! Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts!

  2. Very thorough and informative article, Lynne!

    I always knew about the added electrolytes in coconut water that make it fantastic to stay hydrated and balanced, but I was surprised to learn that it had other psychological benefits related to stress.

    I haven’t had coconut water in a while, since it can be a bit pricey and I allow myself the treat once in a while. Some of the cheaper brands you mentioned contain added sugar, while the premium brands have added cost.

    What brand would you recommend in terms of the best quality for the lowest price?

    1. Yes I agree with you that coconut water is pricey, but can you really put a price on your health? Plus you don’t have to drink coconut water all day long to gain the benefits of drinking coconut water. Have the odd coconut water drink every now and then and your body will thank you for it! 

      Some of my favorite coconut waters are:

      Harmless Harvest Organic Coconut Water
      Taste Nirvana Real Coconut Water
      Vita Coco Coconut Water
      Bai Molokai Coconut, Antioxidant Infused, Coconut Flavored Water Drink

      They are so absolutely delicious. What I like to do is buy bulk packs instead of buying one bottle of coconut water at a time – this makes for big savings.

  3. Hey, Lynne reading your post shows us the health benefits that coconut water offers us which is great thank you.

    I was just wondering how much coconut water should a person consume during a day. I ask because with coconut milk they say that twice a week is usually more than enough to be able to benefit from it.

    Where would you suggest the best place would be to buy 100% pure coconut water from and you said that there was only a 2-week shelf life of the water what happens to it after that time period?

    1. Hey Mark 

      It is the coconut that can be stored for up to 2 weeks at room temperature but up to 2 months refrigerated 🙂 

      If you buy coconut water check the packaging for how long it can last, I have seen that some last for up to 12 months on the shelf but once opened you can keep it in the fridge for one to two days. It is best to drink it as soon as possible after opening.

      You can buy it from Amazon and plenty of other places. Just watch your standard grocery stores as most of the products I have found there are full of additives and extra sugar!

  4. Thanks for all the great information. Coconut water has more benefits than I ever imagined. I used to drink it in the past for hydration but now I will definitely be drinking it before and after workouts for the electrolytes and potassium. Not to mention all the other amazing health benefits. thanks again!

  5. Hi Lynne,

    I am fascinated by your informative article on coconut water. I love them and it is my go-to drink on a hot day. Didn’t know that there are so many health benefits to it. I am very fortunate that I am still able to buy them easily from street vendors.

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge.
    Sharon

  6. Wow I really love coconut water but I had no idea it had so many health benefits. Thanks for such an in depth look into the fantastic qualities of coconut water.
    Great article I enjoyed it and knowing that it’s so good for me will make my next drink taste even better.

  7. Lynne,

    I love your website and you go into great detail about the health benefits of drinking fresh coconut water. It seems to me that I will be switching my diet to fix this more and above all look at for nutritional facts I appreciate article thank you! Do you have a preference on the type of coconut water brand I should stick to?

  8. Hi Lynne,
    Thanks for sharing a great article about the benefits of drinking coconut water, I’m currently looking to get rid of some weight and I was reading about why people get some sugar cravings while dieting, and found some information about some people get low level of potassium, and some nutritionists recommend to drink coconut water to help keep potassium level in the body to avoid the cravings of sugar, bread and other sweets, this doctor says drinking coconut water is something healthy and will help people to lose weight, so I’m going to give it a try.

    1. I am sure it will work wonders for you, and you should also look at using coconut oil for all your cooking. I changed over to using coconut oil for all my cooking and I have lost 7kgs already this year. I have done some other things too but drinking coconut water and adding it to my smoothies as well as cooking with coconut oil has made a massive impact.

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