Coconut Water Nutrition Facts

Calories, Carbs, and Health Benefits of Coconut Water

Coconut water is the liquid that pours out when you crack open the fruit. Older coconuts (the ones that are brown and hairy) generally provide better coconut milk, but younger green coconuts produce better coconut water.

You've probably seen coconut water in your gym or at your local health food store. But is coconut water really healthy? What makes coconut water nutrition so special?

The popular drink does provide some benefits if you choose to drink it, but coconut water calories can add up quickly if you're not careful.

Nutrition Facts

Coconut Water Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 cup (240 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 45.6 
Calories from Fat 4 
Total Fat 0.4g1%
Saturated Fat 0.4g2%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g 
Monounsaturated Fat 0g 
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 252mg11%
Potassium 600mg17%
Carbohydrates 8.8g3%
Dietary Fiber 2.6g11%
Sugars 6.3g 
Protein 1.8g 
Vitamin A 0% · Vitamin C 10%
Calcium 6% · Iron 4%
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Coconut Water Calories

There are just about 46 calories in a single serving of coconut water. Many fruit juices and other sweetened juice products are significant sources of empty calories. Empty calories are those that provide little to no nutritional value. Coconut water is not a significant source of empty calories

Keep in mind, however, that coconut water calories and other nutrition facts will change if you buy the canned or bottled variety that you often see in delis, gyms or health food stores.

These products may advertise that they are healthy and boost your overall nutrition.

For example, one can (about 12 ounces) of bottled coconut water can provide up to 130 calories, 350 milligrams of sodium and 26 grams of sugar. Some brands add sweeteners or additional flavors that change the nutrition facts.

So it's important to check the Nutrition Facts label and list of ingredients before you buy to get the most accurate data about your beverage.

Carbs in Coconut Water

A single one cup serving of coconut water provides almost nine grams of carbohydrate. There are no added sugars in the drink but there are just over six grams of naturally occurring sugar. You'll also benefit from 2.6 grams of fiber in a cup of coconut water.

Fats in Coconut Water

There are approximately four calories from saturated fat in a one-cup serving of coconut water, or almost half a gram of fat. 

Protein in Coconut Water

Coconut water contains 1.8 grams of protein per serving.

Micronutrients in Coconut Water

Vitamins in coconut water include vitamin C (5.8 mg), riboflavin (0.1 mg), thiamin, (0.1 mg), vitamin B6 (0.1 mg), folate, and pantothenic acid. 

Minerals in coconut water include potassium (600 mg), manganese (0.3 mg), and magnesium (60 mg). The drink also provides smaller amounts of calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and selenium. 

According to USDA information, coconut water contributes 252 milligrams of sodium to your daily diet. Health experts recommend that you consume less than 2,400 milligrams of sodium per day.

Health Benefits

Throughout the years, claims have surfaced about the many health benefits of coconut water, but most have been debunked. The American Institute for Cancer Research released a statement explaining that there is no reason to believe claims about cancer-fighting properties of coconut water. And a lawsuit settled in 2011 required one coconut water producer to stop making inflated claims about their product's health powers.

Still, many fans of the beverage say that it is a smart beverage to drink during and after your workout, because it provides electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium) and carbohydrates to help improve muscle function.

And coconut water provides fewer calories than a typical sports drink.

But most nutritionists will tell you that you can get the same benefits from consuming whole foods, like a banana, with water. Whole foods have no hidden ingredients (like added sugar) and are generally cheaper.

So why drink coconut water? Some people like the nutty, sweet taste. If you often drink fruit juice, coconut may be a better alternative. It contains less sugar and fewer calories than most juices and juice drinks.

Common Questions

Is coconut water pasteurized? 

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.

Does coconut water need to be refrigerated?

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

How should I store fresh coconut water?

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

Recipes and Preparation Tips

There are different creative ways to use coconut water. Because coconut water has hydrating properties, 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) fluids of any kind is likely to provide a benefit after you've had too much to drink.

And some creative bartenders even use it in cocktails. For example, you can make a Coconut Gin and Tonic or even use it in a mojito, daiquiris, or other tropical drinks. Or if you prefer to use coconut water without booze, try adding it to a healthy smoothie or make it the base for a fruit popsicle.

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