Coconut Water Health Benefits

Coconut water is an option when you need to rehydrate from exercise or diarrhea. Coconut water naturally contains sugar, sodium, magnesium, and potassium.

coconut water health benefits

Coconut water may be an option for hydration, although there is no evidence that it is better than a sports drink for exercise hydration, or better than water for diarrhea hydration.

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Coconut water is the clear water found inside young coconuts. It is not the same as coconut milk which contains both water and the “white meat” of the coconut. Although many benefits have been claimed for coconut water, according to the National Institutes of Health, there is not enough evidence to confirm any of these benefits. [1]

Coconut Water for Rehydration

The most likely benefit for coconut water is as a rehydration solution. It has been used in children to replace fluids lost from diarrhea, and athletes drink coconut water both to prevent dehydration before a workout and to rehydrate after a workout. There are even some case reports of using coconut water intravenously to replace fluids, but this is not an accepted treatment for severe dehydration. [1]

Most studies have found that coconut water for rehydration in children is not more effective than water. [1] Studies for rehydration before or after exercise have found that coconut water may not be as effective as a sports electrolyte drinks like Gatorade, because sports drinks have more sugar and sodium, both of which are the key replacement nutrients athletes are looking for. [2,3]

Coconut Water for Blood Pressure

There have been a few studies that found coconut water might lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure, but these studies have not been supported by recent research, and this benefit is still considered unproven. [1]

However, if you are taking blood pressure medication or you have low blood pressure, you may want to avoid coconut water. It may interfere with blood pressure medication or make blood low blood pressure lower. NIH suggests that you talk to your doctor before trying coconut water and avoid it if you are scheduled for surgery, since it may interfere with blood pressure control during surgery. [1]

Safety of Coconut Water

Coconut water is sometimes called green coconut water; this is not a different type, it just refers to the color. Coconut water is considered safe for most people. Drinking too much may cause fullness or an upset stomach. There is no research available that sets a safe limit on how much you should drink. [1] Unsweetened coconut water has about 45 to 60 calories per 8 ounces. The amount of sodium, potassium, and magnesium is unpredictable since it varies with the age of the coconut. [3]

Other than the possible effect of lowering blood pressure, the main safety issue for coconut water is potassium. There have been some reports of people drinking enough coconut water to cause high potassium levels that interfere with heart rhythm and cause kidney damage, but this is very unlikely in a healthy person. [1] Talk to your doctor about coconut water safety if you:

  • Are pregnant or breast feeding
  • Have cystic fibrosis
  • Have high potassium
  • Have kidney disease

Bottom Line on the Health Benefits of Coconut Water

Coconut water may be an option for hydration, but there is no evidence that it is better than a sports drink for exercise hydration, or better than water for diarrhea hydration. As for any benefits to blood pressure or other vital signs, the jury is still out. [1-3]

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SOURCES

  1. NIH, Coconut Water, Coconut Water: MedlinePlus Supplements
  2. Cleveland Clinic, Electrolyte Drinks: Beneficial or Not? Electrolyte Drinks: Beneficial or Not? – Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic
  3. Mayo Clinic, What is coconut water and what’s behind the hype? Coconut water: Healthy drink or marketing scam? – Mayo Clinic

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Chris Iliades, MD

Chris Iliades has an MD degree and 15 years of experience as a freelance writer. Based in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, his byline has appeared regularly on many health and medicine … Read More

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  • The negative effects were probably due to either his over indulging in his sport, age, or Other Health reasons. Ive known ppl who trained for olympics & other high endurance sports in places that were very hot like Hawaii, & the Only way they could keep hydrated, healthy, & restore electrolites was to drink coconut water. They told me that before they knew the secret, they had water bottles and felt horribly exhausted. Though, when they drank coconut water, instantly they felt such amazing results of energy, and hydration. My personal results have been the same. I only drink Wild Harvest 100% pure coconut water (the only ingredient) with no preservatives, artificial flavors or colors in place of Turkey Hill green iced tea w/ ginseng & honey and I’ve already lost 3 lbs/ week bcz it makes me feel full, & I eat whole grains w/ proteins, lettuce spring mixes, (& mayo is my only weakness). I take a multi vitamin, but always felt needs to eat every hour or so aftr being layed off & gaining 75lbs. aftr have moved to a new place in suburbs where i know nobody. Coconut water was a recommendation that has Truly been a Blessing for me! ? I used to get foot & leg cramps but the potassium helped so much! Also, it curbs my appetite completely, so when its actual mealtime, Im not starving & eating fast unhealthy foods, but actually taking time to make a healthy chicken, lettuce, whole grain wrap or sandwhich. (Also, Another thing I Highly Recommend~*Modern Table Meals*- Soo TASTY, Healthy, & Carb Free-Pesto w/ Lentil Pasta is my Ultimate FAV! They r Soo Easy to make, 5 ingredients in One Box, yet HEALTHY! ?

  • Never underestimate the over-importance of small sample sizes! The man appeared to be exhausted, linking his condition to coconut water appears rather silly. I consume over 70 ounces (2 liters) of coconut water per day..

  • I drank approximately 12 fresh coconuts each day without drinking normal water and now every time I drink coconut water or Coke I get the most horrible leg cramps. The last time it happened I thought I was going to die. Too much has definitely cause numerous problems for me. I can be talking and in mid sentence start screaming. MRI, Cat Scans, x-rays, ultra sounds. nerve testing have provided no answers for this condition. What is common is that every time I get the cramp I have drank coconut water or coke and not enough normal water.

  • You need sodium to balance potassium so I expect the exercise along with the potassium in the water depleted his sodium level

  • I drink coconut water everyday, it actually helps my irregular heart beat, and do suffer from ventricular fibrallation, but not as often as I used to before I drank coconut water. Everyone is different. I do drink 2-3 glasses per day. and water.

  • I was diagnosed with low potassium levels last year in October. I have had Chronic Migraine with Aura (visual loss) since I was 10 years old. When I was admitted to the ER for low potassium and put on an IV replacement, I got a raging migraine with visual loss within 45 minutes. I have been drinking at least a litre of coconut water a day, my migraines have gotten worse. Didn’t think that was possible! It occured to me that since I have read that potassium causes blood vessels to constrict, while I am suplimenting with potassium by drinking coconut water daily, that this could be the cause? Anybody have any expreience with this? I dring Pelligrino, a litre a day too. But that is the only liquids I drink. I am wondering if this could be a factor? I have to do something to keep potassium levels within normal range. Thank you!

  • Tis is as lame as it gets. utter nonsence.
    Unheard off for pple who live in the tropical region. And tt girl who drank coke…. and get cramps… seriously… bet coke and coconut water?
    Come on…just bcos its a University and based on 1 lame indiv.. aspect us to believe tt …

  • Let’s break this down shall we. This supposed man who, quote; “developed dangerously high potassium levels that led to fainting and abnormal heart rhythms after drinking a large amount of coconut water”, had consumed eight – 11 ounce cans of coconut water. That totals 88 ounces, which also totals approximately 3750 MG’s of potassium. Now for the record, the % of daily value allowed in Canada is 3500 MG’s, which is 82.5 ounces. So, the man only drank 5.5 ounces over the daily limit, but quote; “had dangerously high levels of potassium.” Conclusion – either this publication is made up, or the man also consumed 99 bananas on top of his coconut water, because I would be inclined to assume that in order to achieve “dangerously high levels of potassium”, one would need to at least quintuple the daily amount allowed… but hey, who’s counting. 🙂

  • I drank a litre of cocnut water everyday for 2 weeks and I began bleeding from the rectum profusely. I have since stopped drinking it and my symptoms seem to be easing. I can only link this to the cocnut water as nothing else in my diet had changed, I drank it in the morning, throughout the daya and at night. Some days I would consume 2 litres a day as I enjoyed the taste and thought the health benefits would be good. I would say it is good in moderation, but there is high potassium which can cause musle and red blood cell problems.

  • Utterly nonsence. I live in a tropical Singapore and this is so unheard of. And those who takes litres n litres of coconut water why? All foods in moderation. Even if drink large amount of plain water can cause you death.
    Natural food is your medicine.

  • How few is few? I drink 2 fresh coconut that is about 1400-1500 ml everyday for about 4 years now. I had few blood test from the previous years and the most recent is from last week. The doctor never said about potassium. Coconut in can is not pure, I think that extender is what will make you sick.

  • RUBBISH! I grow up in Indonesia, Coconut tree heaven, every corner there is coconut tree. We drank a lot of young coconut water and yet none of us ever when to the hospital. I went to the hospital here in the USA because of a stomach ulcer but not of coconut water. So please stop this rubbish!

  • I want to object I drank 1 liter of fresh coconut water and it tasted so good, the day was very humid so I started to drink another bottle and I started to get itching and swelling all over my body as someone mentioned before everything in moderation

  • Well I’m putting it to the test. On my 9th litre of coconut water and still feeling fresh if I make it to 50 then that clears it otherwise see you in the next life.

  • I have lived in a flat with serious mould smell and raw sewerage till afford to move i found a coconut every day helped energy feeling full and i think overall health which was my aim, but cannot be sure health v bad anyway and varying toxin levels etc. However now after about three months i wonder if the heart murmer on/off i have and heart pains plus diareah r connected so stopped today will be more moderate and buy Aloe vera poss also as anti fungal anti bactierial

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