Coconut water

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"Coconut juice" redirects here. For the song, see Coconut Juice (song).
A young coconut, ready to drink, as sold in Pangandaran, Indonesia.
A green coconut vendor in Delhi, India, in summer.
Nuts, coconut water
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 63 kJ (15 kcal)
3.71 g
Sugars 2.61 g
Dietary fibre 1.1 g
0.2 g
0.72 g
Vitamin A equiv.
0 μg
0 μg
0 μg
Thiamine (B1)
0.03 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.057 mg
Niacin (B3)
0.08 mg
0.043 mg
Vitamin B6
0.032 mg
Folate (B9)
3 μg
Vitamin C
2.4 mg
Vitamin E
0 mg
Vitamin K
0 μg
Trace metals
24 mg
0.29 mg
25 mg
20 mg
250 mg
0.1 mg
Other constituents
Water 94.99 g
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Coconut water is the clear liquid inside young green coconuts (fruits of the coconut palm). In early development, it serves as a suspension for the endosperm of the coconut during their nuclear phase of development. As growth continues, the endosperm mature into their cellular phase and deposit into the rind of the coconut meat.[1] 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. Coconut water can also be found in ordinary cans, tetra paks, or plastic bottles (sometimes with coconut pulp or coconut jelly included).

In recent years, coconut water has been marketed as a natural energy or sports drink having low levels of fat, carbohydrates, and calories. However, marketing claims attributing health benefits to coconut water are not supported by science and are disallowed by regulatory agencies, such as the United States Food and Drug Administration.[2][3]

Unless the coconut has been damaged, it is likely sterile. There is a single documented case where coconut water has been used as an intravenous hydration fluid when medical saline was unavailable.[4] Although this is not recommended by physicians today, it was a common practice during the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979.[5][6]

Coconut water has long been a popular drink in the tropics, especially in India, Brazilian Coast, Southeast Asia, Pacific Islands, Africa, and the Caribbean, where it is available fresh, canned, or bottled. In the Philippines, it is known as 'buko'.

Nutritional value[edit]

In a 100 g (ml) serving providing 15 calories, coconut water contains no essential nutrients in significant content, each falling below 10% of the Daily Value (table).


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 animals.

Derivative products[edit]

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

Medical use[edit]

It is said, albeit quite incorrectly, that coconut water is identical to human plasma and can be injected directly into the human bloodstream. The story has its origin from World War II where British and Japanese patients were given coconut water intravenously because saline solution was in short supply.[7] Doctors today say that they would not be inclined to set up a coconut water IV for dehydrated patients. It could cause elevated calcium and potassium, which could be dangerous.[5] The Documentation Center of Cambodia has cited the practice of allowing untrained nurses to administer green coconut water during the Pol Pot regime as a crime against humanity.[8]


In certain parts of India, coconut water is traditionally used in the senicide of elderly family members known as Thalaikoothal. In this custom, the elderly person is given an extensive oil-bath early in the morning and subsequently made to drink glasses of tender coconut water in excess, which results in renal failure, high fever, fits, and death within a day or two.[9] Kidney failure is the principal outcome of untreated coconut water-induced hyperkalaemia.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Paniappan S (December 12, 2002). "The Mystery Behind Coconut Water". The Hindu. Retrieved January 16, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Do Coconut Water Benefits Include Lowering Cholesterol?". CLevels. Retrieved 14 January 2012. 
  3. ^ Martinez-Belkin N (2 December 2014). "“Raw” Coconut Water Under Scrutiny of the FDA". 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ a b Barclay, Eliza (15 Aug 2011). "Coconut Water To The Rescue? Parsing The Medical Claims". NPR. Retrieved 1 Oct 2013. 
  6. ^ Short, Philip (2006). Pol Pot: Anatomy of a Nightmare. New York: Henry Holt. ISBN 978-0-8050-8006-3. 
  7. ^ Weimar, Carrie J. "UF Health CommunicationsUF Health Podcasts." UF Health Podcasts RSS. N.p., 07 Nov. 2011. Web. 01 Oct. 2013. <>.
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ Shahina, KK (2010-11-20). "Mother, shall I put you to sleep?". Tehelka Magazine 7 (46). Retrieved 2014-06-01. 
  10. ^ Rees, Richard; Barnett, Joe; Marks, Daniel; George, Marc (September 2012). "Coconut water-induced hyperkalaemia". British Journal of Hospital Medicine 73 (9): 534. PMID 23124410. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Mojumdar, N. G. (1951). "Intravenous use of green coconut water in pediatric practice; a preliminary report". Journal of the Indian Medical Association 20 (6): 211–212. PMID 14824551.  edit
  • Ranti, I. S.; Kwee Tien, B. O. H.; Thio In, L.; Tan Eng, H. (1965). "Coconut water for intravenous fluid therapy". Paediatrica Indonesiana 5 (3): Suppl:Su782–92. PMID 5873766.  edit

External links[edit]

Media related to Coconut water at Wikimedia Commons