Coconut Water Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Coconut water annotated
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Coconut water is the liquid that pours out when you crack open a coconut. Older coconuts (the ones that are brown and hairy) generally provide better coconut milk, which is made from the flesh of the coconut. Younger, green coconuts produce better coconut water.

This beverage has a salty-sweet taste that can be divisive, but it does provide fewer calories than most fruit juices. It also provides vitamin C plus carbs and electrolytes that can be helpful for recovery after exercise.

Coconut Water Nutrition Facts

One cup of 100% coconut water (245g) provides 44 calories, 0.5g of protein, 10.4g of carbohydrates, and 0g of fat. Coconut water is an excellent source of vitamin C. The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA.

  • Calories: 44
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 64mg
  • Carbohydrates: 10.4g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 9.6g
  • Protein: 0.5g
  • Vitamin C: 24.3mg
  • Potassium: 404mg

Carbs

A one-cup serving of coconut water provides about 10 grams of carbohydrate; most of that (about 9 grams) is naturally occurring sugar. Some brands of coconut water are sweetened with added sugars, so check labels carefully if you are looking to limit sugar.

Fats

There is usually little to no fat (less than 1 gram) in coconut water, but some brands may contain a small amount of fat.

Protein

Coconut water contains a small amount of protein; the amount can vary by brand.

Vitamins and Minerals

Coconut water is an excellent source of vitamin C, with 24mg per one-cup serving. That's 32% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for women and 27% for men, based on a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet. Coconut water also contains the B vitamin thiamin (about 8% of RDA).

Minerals in coconut water include potassium (404mg or 16% of adequate intake for women and 12% for men), manganese (0.5mg or 28% of adequate intake for women and 22% for men). The drink also provides smaller amounts of magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, and copper.

Calories

One cup of 100% coconut water (240g) provides 44 calories, 75% of which come from carbs, 15% from protein, and 10% from fat. Coconut water is a low-calorie beverage.

Summary

Coconut water is a low-calorie, low-fat source of carbohydrates, electrolytes, and vitamin C. It also contains some other vitamins and minerals like thiamin, potassium, and manganese.

Health Benefits

Claims have surfaced about the many health benefits of coconut water throughout the years, but most have been debunked. For example, social media posts declared that drinking hot coconut water cures cancer, but the American Institute for Cancer Research publishes a trademarked list of Foods That Fight Cancer, which does not list coconut.

A lawsuit settled in 2011 required one coconut water producer to stop making inflated claims about their product's health powers. However, there still may be some health benefits to coconut water.

May Help Reduce Blood Sugar

Animal studies have shown that coconut water may provide benefits such as improved blood sugar levels. However, this has not been adequately studied in humans.

May Reduce Blood Pressure

A small study in humans showed a reduction in blood pressure with increased coconut water consumption. This may be related to the potassium provided by coconut water; low potassium intake increases the risk of hypertension.

May Help Balance Electrolytes

Some coconut water fans like it as a sports drink. It provides electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium) and carbohydrates to help improve muscle function, with fewer calories than a typical sports drink, and is gluten-free.

However, you can get the same benefits from consuming whole foods, like a potassium-rich banana, with water. Whole foods have no hidden ingredients (like added sugar) and are generally cheaper than sports drinks or recovery bars.

May Reduce Diabetic Retinal Damage

Although only performed on rats, research has shown reduced retinal damage caused by diabetes in subjects given coconut water. More research is needed to say whether these effects are consistent or able to be reproduced in humans.

May Prevent Kidney Stones

A small study showed that coconut water helped flush out potassium, chloride, and citrate, thereby reducing the risk of developing kidney stones. More research is needed.

Allergies

Coconut is not a tree nut, and most people who are allergic to tree nuts can still consume coconut. Still, there are some cases of coconut allergy. If you are allergic to coconuts, you need to avoid coconut water, coconut milk, and other products made with coconut in addition to the coconut flesh itself.

Adverse Effects

Although potassium is an essential mineral, consuming too much of it can lead to hyperkalemia (an overabundance of potassium in the blood). Since coconut water contains potassium, drinking large quantities could cause this issue. This is unlikely to happen for most people, but those who have chronic kidney disease or take medications, including ACE inhibitors, should be cautious.

Coconut water is also high in FODMAPs, a group of carbohydrates that can cause or worsen digestive symptoms in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). People following a low-FODMAP diet may need to limit or avoid coconut water if it causes symptoms for them.

Varieties

You'll see lots of brands and options for coconut water on store shelves, including sweetened and unsweetened products along with blends that mix coconut water with other fruit juices. Some brands of coconut water also contain coconut flesh (which can mean they are higher in calories and fat). Read labels carefully if you want to avoid extra sweeteners or ingredients.

Storage and Food Safety

If you get coconut water straight from the fruit, it should be refrigerated right away. Fresh coconut water can also be frozen.

Likewise, once you open a container of coconut water, manufacturers usually recommend that you refrigerate it. Most people prefer the taste of cold coconut water. Keeping it chilled will help the drink stay fresh for 24 to 48 hours.

Some brands of coconut water use a pasteurization process so that the product is shelf-stable. That means you don't need to refrigerate the product after you buy it. As long as the package is not open, it should stay fresh for up to 12 months.

How to Prepare

There are many creative ways to use coconut water. You can put it in smoothies, cocktails, or even frozen fruit pops. Because coconut water is hydrating, some people use it to help buffer the effects of a hangover. While there is no scientific data to back up the practice, drinking non-alcoholic and hydrating fluids of any kind is likely to provide a benefit after you've had too much to drink.

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10 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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