8 Benefits of Coconut Water: Is It Good for Weight Loss?

Craig Primack, MD, FACP, FAAP, FOMA

Reviewed by Craig Primack, MD, FACP, FAAP, FOMA

Written by Rachel Sacks

Published 04/05/2024

Maybe you’ve been tempted by the colorful labels or want to switch up your hydration game. In any case, you’re curious about the benefits of coconut water.

When it comes to staying healthy and hydrated, water is key. But coconut water is popular for many reasons, one being that it’s chock-full of good-for-you nutrients.

So what are the health benefits of coconut water, and is it a good snack for weight loss goals? Is coconut water good for you? And if so, is coconut water better than regular water? We’ll answer all these questions below.

Buzzy marketing and popularity aside, research suggests numerous good reasons to drink the stuff. What’s even better is that coconut water benefits for females are often the same as those for men and everyone else.

Rather than having you try to decipher coconut water nutrition facts on the back of the bottle, we’ll break down the top benefits of coconut water for you.

1. Excellent Source of Nutrients

One of the many benefits of coconut water is the nutrients this beverage provides.

Are there carbs in coconut water? Not to be confused with coconut milk, coconut water is rich in healthy carbohydrates — but that’s not all. It also contains electrolytes, such as potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium, which are good for your bones and muscles, among other things.

Drinking about three and a half ounces of coconut water, you’d be getting:

  • 3.7 grams of carbs

  • 2.6 grams of sugar

  • 24 milligrams of calcium

  • 25 milligrams of magnesium

  • 250 milligrams of potassium

  • 105 milligrams of sodium

Maybe you’re thinking all these coconut water benefits are too good to be true and are waiting for the catch. Or perhaps you’re on a weight loss journey and wondering about coconut water calories.

While the number of coconut water calories per ounce is relatively low — roughly 45 calories for eight ounces — you’re still getting lots of necessary nutrients.

2. Full of Antioxidants

On top of the various nutrients, coconut water also has notable antioxidant properties.

All the research on coconut water antioxidants has been done on animals. But a more recent study found that its high-potency antioxidants helped reduce cholesterol markers in rats.

The potential antioxidant properties of coconut water may help protect you from free radicals. These unstable molecules in the environment can create oxidative stress (when there are too many free radicals and not enough antioxidants in your body), which can damage your cells and increase disease risk.

Though this possible benefit of coconut water is interesting, more research involving humans should be done before we draw any real conclusions.

3. Great Post-Workout Drink

The next time you come back from a long walk or a tough workout, try reaching for some coconut water to rehydrate.

Compared to sports drinks that are often higher in added sugars but contain less potassium and magnesium, coconut water is considered a natural sports drink alternative.

Thanks to coconut water magnesium, potassium and other electrolytes, small studies have found that coconut water hydration is just as effective as regular water and sports drinks.

These minerals play several vital roles in your body, including maintaining proper fluid balance (i.e., they help you avoid dehydration and overhydration).

Coconut water on its own may not be ideal as a sports drink. But combined with salted pretzels, this post-workout snack can give you a better balance of electrolytes without the added preservatives and food colorings in many sugary sports drinks.

4. Supports Heart Health

Does coconut water lower blood pressure or help keep your heart healthy?

Since coconut water potassium helps counteract the effects of sodium to reduce high blood pressure, coconut water could also help prevent heart disease — in theory.

However, heart health is supported by other nutrients found not just in coconut water but also in a variety of foods. If you need guidance, check with your healthcare provider, a registered dietician or a nutritionist.

Does anxiety cause high blood pressure? Our blog has answers. 

5. Helps Manage Blood Sugar

If the naturally sweet taste has you ready to look up, “how much sugar in coconut water,” you may be surprised to learn that coconut water is relatively low in sugar.

What might be even more surprising is that coconut water may help manage blood sugar levels. Multiple studies on rats with diabetes found that coconut water helped reduce blood glucose levels.

That said, drinking coconut water with blood sugar medication or other supplements with similar effects — like aloe, bitter melon, cinnamon or chromium — might lower blood sugar too much. If you have diabetes, we recommend checking with your healthcare provider on this.

6. Prevents Kidney Stones

Is coconut water good for kidneys? Some studies suggest it might be good for preventing kidney stones. These are small deposits made of salt and other minerals that can be super painful to pass through the urinary tract.

Although drinking water helps prevent kidney stones, a very small study of eight people found that coconut water increased the amount of potassium, chloride and citrate in urine for those without kidney stones.

This suggests that coconut water could help flush out your system and keep kidney stones from developing. But again, more research is needed.

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7. Easy Source of Rehydration

Is coconut water hydrating? The answer is a resounding yes.

Not only does staying hydrated help with weight loss, but drinking more coconut water and plain water in general can:

  • Boost energy levels

  • Support digestion

  • Reduce joint pain

  • Regulate body temperature

  • Improve heart health

  • Help prevent headaches

A drink with natural electrolyte content, coconut water is a great source of hydration, especially if you want to sip on something with more taste than plain water.

8. Many Different Uses

Tempted to try this buzzy beverage? There are several uses for coconut water beyond drinking it from a bottle or box.

The clear liquid (albeit slightly murky) inside young coconuts is what makes up coconut water — and it’s different from coconut milk. You can add some to your post-workout or breakfast smoothie, use it in recipes, make popsicles or just drink coconut water straight.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says coconut water is an excellent substitute for sugary beverages like soda and fruit juice. But there’s no evidence that it’s more hydrating than regular water.

In the end, nothing beats plain water. Good ol’ H2O has zero calories, so you can (and should) drink lots of it while trying to lose weight. Not that you should track calories — just that plain water is an unrefuted staple for any weight loss journey.

Are there downsides to drinking coconut water? While drinking coconut water every day won’t have significant harm, you might want to weigh out the coconut water benefits and side effects.

One thing to consider is that drinking or eating anything with a high potassium content could make your potassium levels too high. This condition is called hyperkalemia, and it can result in vomiting, nausea, chest pain and more.

You’ve probably seen people at the gym guzzling coconut water or noticed brightly labeled bottles lining grocery store shelves. Whatever piqued your curiosity, you want to know all the benefits of coconut water for men and women.

Here’s a rundown of what we covered:

  • It’s a nutrient-rich beverage. Coconut water is full of many nutrients that benefit your health in many ways, from rehydration to antioxidant content, supporting heart health and more.

  • It might be a good post-workout drink for weight loss. Thanks to natural sugars and electrolytes — like potassium, sodium and more — along with its relatively low-calorie content, coconut water may support weight loss.

  • It’s probably better than sugary drinks like juice or soda. While more research is needed on its benefits and effects, especially in terms of weight management, coconut water is a natural alternative to sugary drinks. But plain water is still your friend for weight loss.

Drinking coconut water as part of a balanced eating plan may help with weight management, along with regular movement and weight loss medications prescribed by a healthcare professional.

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