Coconut water is the clear liquid inside coconuts (which are fruits of the coconut palm). In early development, it serves as a suspension for the endosperm of the coconut during the nuclear phase of development. As growth continues, the endosperm matures into its cellular phase and deposits into the rind of the coconut pulp.[1]


Fresh coconuts are typically harvested from the tree while they are green. A hole may be bored into the coconut to provide access to the liquid and meat. In young coconuts, the liquid and air may be under some pressure and may spray slightly when the inner husk is first penetrated. Coconuts which have fallen to the ground are susceptible to rot and damage from insects or other animals.

Human consumption and derivative products

Coconut water has long been a popular drink in the tropical countries where it is available fresh, canned, or bottled.

Coconuts for drinking are served fresh, chilled or packaged in many places. They are often sold by street vendors who cut them open with machetes or similar implements in front of customers. Processed coconut water for retail can be found in ordinary cans, Tetra Paks, or plastic bottles, sometimes with coconut pulp or coconut jelly included.

Coconut water can be fermented to produce coconut vinegar. It is also used to make nata de coco, a jelly-like food.

Nutritional value

Coconut water
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 79 kJ (19 kcal)
3.71 g
Sugars 2.61 g
Dietary fiber 1.1 g
0.20 g
Saturated 0.176 g
Monounsaturated 0.008 g
Polyunsaturated 0.002 g
0.72 g
Tryptophan 0.008 g
Threonine 0.026 g
Isoleucine 0.028 g
Leucine 0.053 g
Lysine 0.032 g
Methionine 0.013 g
Cystine 0.014 g
Phenylalanine 0.037 g
Tyrosine 0.022 g
Valine 0.044 g
Arginine 0.118 g
Histidine 0.017 g
Alanine 0.037 g
Aspartic acid 0.070 g
Glutamic acid 0.165 g
Glycine 0.034 g
Proline 0.030 g
Serine 0.037 g
Thiamine (B1)
0.030 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.057 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.080 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.043 mg
Vitamin B6
0.032 mg
Folate (B9)
3 μg
1.1 mg
Vitamin C
2.4 mg
24 mg
0.04 mg
0.29 mg
25 mg
0.142 mg
20 mg
250 mg
1 μg
105 mg
0.10 mg
Other constituents
Water 95 g

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.

Providing 19 calories in a 100 ml amount, coconut water is 95% water and 4% carbohydrates, with protein and total fat content under 1% each (table). Coconut water contains small amounts of vitamins and dietary minerals, all under 10% of the Daily Value (table).


During the early 21st century, coconut water has been marketed as a natural energy or sports drink having low levels of fat, carbohydrates, and calories, and significant electrolyte content. However, the contents of primary electrolytes sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium per 100 ml serving of unprocessed coconut water are insignificant (2-7% of the DV) and are not balanced. Further, marketing claims attributing health benefits to coconut water are not based on science and are disallowed by certain regulatory agencies.[2] In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration warned producers about misleading marketing claims that coconut water is antiviral, can lower cholesterol, or can regulate blood glucose levels, among other false claims, as inappropriate for the product.[3]

Some companies have faced class action lawsuits over false advertising claims that the product was, "super-hydrating", "nutrient-packed", and "mega-electrolyte".[4] The plaintiffs also alleged that one company, Vita Coco, falsely claimed that its product had "15 times the electrolytes found in sports drinks" and misrepresented the levels of sodium and magnesium as advertised. The company denied any wrongdoing and settled the lawsuit for US$10 million in April 2012.[4]

Medical use

Coconut water has been used rarely as an intravenous rehydration fluid when medical saline was unavailable.[5] The story of coconut water being similar to human blood plasma originated during World War II when British and Japanese patients were given coconut water intravenously in an emergency because saline was unavailable.[6] Since then, this rehydration technique has been used only for short-term emergency situations in remote locations where plasma is not available.[5]

Although substituting coconut water for saline is not recommended by physicians today, it was a common practice during the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979.[7][8] The Documentation Center of Cambodia cited the practice of allowing untrained nurses to administer green coconut water during the Pol Pot regime as a crime against humanity.[9]

Folk medicine

Coconut water has been used in the folk medicine practices of Jamaica for such uses as the treatment of diarrhea.[10]


One presumed factor arising from excessive consumption of coconut water is an over-abundance of potassium in the blood (hyperkalemia), inducing acute kidney failure, heart arrhythmia, loss of consciousness and eventually death.[11][12] Hyperkalemia and loss of consciousness after the consumption of several liters of coconut water were reported only as a clinical case study in association with one individual's use of a commercial product following physical exertion.[12]

Anecdotal sources describe coconut water is used in India for the senicide of elderly people, a procedure known as thalaikoothal.[13] In this custom, the elderly person is made to drink an excessive amount of coconut water, eventually resulting in fever and death, the exact causes of which have not been determined.[13]

See also


  1. ^ Janick J, Paull RE (2008). Cocos in The Encyclopedia of Fruit and Nuts. pp. 109–113. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 11 May 2015. 
  2. ^ Martinez-Belkin N (2 December 2014). ""Raw" Coconut Water Under Scrutiny of the FDA". BevNet.com. 
  3. ^ Crawford, Elizabeth (October 29, 2014). "Coconut products can never claim to be 'healthy' because of the saturated fats, says legal expert". foodnavigator-usa.com. Archived from the original on 10 February 2016. Retrieved 31 December 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "Vita Coco coconut water settles class action lawsuit". Lexology. Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP. May 27, 2012. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 31 December 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Campbell-Falck D, Thomas T, Falck TM, Tutuo N, Clem K (2000). "The intravenous use of coconut water". Am J Emerg Med. 18 (1): 108–11. doi:10.1016/S0735-6757(00)90062-7. PMID 10674546. 
  6. ^ Weimar, Carrie J (7 November 2011). "Can coconut water mimic human plasma?". University of Florida Health Communications, Health Podcasts. Archived from the original on 5 October 2013. 
  7. ^ Barclay, Eliza (15 Aug 2011). "Coconut Water To The Rescue? Parsing The Medical Claims". NPR. Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 1 Oct 2013. 
  8. ^ Short, Philip (2006). Pol Pot: Anatomy of a Nightmare. New York: Henry Holt. ISBN 978-0-8050-8006-3. 
  9. ^ Vilim, Laura (2012). "'Keeping Them Alive, One Gets Nothing; Killing Them, One Loses Nothing': Prosecuting Khmer Rouge Medical Practices as Crimes against Humanity" (PDF). Georgetown University Law Center. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2014-04-07. 
  10. ^ Mitchell, SA (2011). "Plants used in Jamaican folk medicine against the common cold, flu and diarrhea". J Antivir Antiretrovir. 3 (4): 173. Archived from the original on 2015-10-02. 
  11. ^ Rees, Richard; Barnett, Joe; Marks, Daniel; George, Marc (September 2012). "Coconut water-induced hyperkalaemia". British Journal of Hospital Medicine. 73 (9): 534. doi:10.12968/hmed.2012.73.9.534. PMID 23124410. 
  12. ^ a b Hakimian, J; Goldbarg, SH; Park, CH; Kerwin, TC (2014). "Death by coconut". Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology. 7: 180–181. doi:10.1161/CIRCEP.113.000941. PMID 24550410. Archived from the original on 2015-05-23. 
  13. ^ a b Shahina, KK (2010-11-20). "Mother, shall I put you to sleep?". Tehelka Magazine. 7 (46). Archived from the original on 2014-04-29. Retrieved 2014-06-01. 

External links

Media related to Coconut water at Wikimedia Commons