Coconut Water

Medically Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on April 29, 2021

Coconut water is a liquid that forms naturally inside the shell of a coconut. It's a common drink in many tropical countries and is becoming more popular in the U.S. Some companies market it as a natural sports drink.

Why do people drink coconut water?

In many countries, coconut water is thought to have health benefits. Coconut water is 94% water and fairly low in calories. It seems to be a good source of B vitamins and potassium. Coconut water contains electrolytes, various plant hormones, enzymes, and amino acids. Some substances in coconut water could theoretically have antioxidant benefits in the body.

Scientific studies of coconut water have been limited. One study suggested that drinking coconut water might be associated with a lower rate of heart attacks. Another small study found that coconut water significantly lowered systolic blood pressure in 71% of people with hypertension. Further research is needed. 

Coconut water has been used as a way to rehydrate after exercise or illness. Coconut water has even been used as an emergency substitute for IV solutions. Also, it may be a good storage solution for a tooth that has been knocked out until someone can see a dentist.

However, for now, there is no scientific evidence that coconut water offers clear health benefits.

How much coconut water should you take?

Coconut water has not been well-studied as a treatment. There are no officially recommended doses.

Can you get coconut water naturally from foods?

Coconut water is a food. If you crack open a raw coconut, coconut water is the liquid in the center.

Don't confuse coconut water with other liquids derived from coconuts. Coconut milk is made by grating the meat of the coconut and collecting the liquid. Coconut milk is high in saturated fat and is an ingredient in many recipes. Coconut oil is made from coconut milk or dried coconut meat. It's used for cooking, skin care, and engine lubrication, among other things.

What are the risks of taking coconut water?

  • Side effects. Coconut water has not been well-studied. But there's no evidence that it poses side effects. Like fruit or vegetable juices, coconut water seems quite safe. However, coconut milk contains a fair amount of sodium, so it may not be a good choice for people who need to reduce their salt intake.
  • Risks. Check with a doctor before you begin using coconut water as a treatment if you have any health conditions.
  • Interactions. If you take regular medications or supplements, talk to your doctor before you start using coconut water as a treatment.

Show Sources


David C. Leopold, MD, director of integrative medical education, Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, San Diego.


Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Library of Congress.

Natural Standard: "Two Tropical Drinks may Help Control Blood Pressure."

Saat, M. Journal of Physiological Anthropology and Applied Human Sciences, March 2002; vol 21: pp 93-104.

Yong, J. Molecules, December 2009; vol 14: pp 5144-5164.

Gopikrishna, V. Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology, and Endodontics, February 2008; vol 105: pp e61-e65.

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