Coconut Water Health Benefits and Nutritional Information

Coconut Water is a natural isotonic drink second in purity only to clean drinking water, but full of essential vitamins and minerals (potassium, sodium, calcium, iron, phosphorous and magnesium) in perfect balance. Even though (strangely) there isn’t much buzz about the undeniable health benefits of coconut water, this refreshing beverage overshadows popular superfoods with ease. The electrolytes contained in coconut water match the electrolytic balance of human blood which allows the surgeons in tropical and sub-tropical countries to use it as blood transfusion fluid straight out of the nut. This practise was popularized during World War II when both sides of the Pacific conflict gave emergency blood transfusion to their wounded soldiers directly from the shell of a freshly opened, young coconut. However, you do not have to be wounded to benefit from drinking coconut water. Because it is absolutely essential for a long term traveler to look after their health while on the road, let’s take a closer look at the health benefits and nutritional information of the universal well-being superfood – coconut water.

Photo: To Maximize Health Benefits, Drink Coconut Water Fresh with a Straw Right After Opening
Photo: To Maximize Health Benefits, Drink Coconut Water Fresh with a Straw Right After Opening

Coconut Water Health Benefits

Indigenous people from tropical regions have been aware of coconut water health benefits for centuries and drank it to gain vitality and boost immunity. Laboratory studies of organic compounds found in coconut water conclude that the beverage contains properties that can significantly benefit and dramatically improve one’s health. Moreover, coconut water is 100% natural, completely free of chemicals and kept perfectly sterile (free from harmful bacteria) by an impenetrable shell making the water safe for people of all ages, including babies. The lauric acid found in coconut water is identical to that found in human breast milk.

Regular consumption of coconut water has demonstrated several significant health benefits:

  • Naturally Improves Immunity – body’s natural ability to fight diseases
  • Increases Metabolism – can assist with weight loss by increasing body’s ability to burn excessive fat
  • Increases HDL Cholesterol – alters levels of good cholesterol (High Density Lipoprotein) to battle off the negative effects of bad LDL cholesterol
  • Detoxifies the Body – assists in the process of removal of harmful toxins from the body
  • Regulates Intestinal Function – healthy intestines are an essential part of well being. clean intestines significantly improve complexion
  • Antiviral – our bodies convert Lauric Acid into monolaurin which has been shown to fight off lipid coated viruses, such as Herpes, Flu, Cytomegalovirus, as well as the deadly HIV virus known to cause AIDS
  • Antibacterial – virus killing monolaurin is also known for its bacteria fighting properties. It is also a potent antiprozoal monoglyceride
  • Re-Hydrates and Revives – badly wounded soldiers were revived with coconut water
  • Boosts Energy – coconut water is an isotonic beverage full of natural electrolytes. High calcium, cholesterol free content boosts vigor after workout
  • Low Calorie and Low Sodium Content – most juices and commercially available soft drinks contain more calories and more sodium
  • Reduces High Blood Pressure – Journal of Clinical Hypertension noted that people suffering from hypertension show low levels of potassium. Coconut Water can fix that
  • Balances Body’s PH – combination of cytokinins and lauric acid helps maintain healthy PH. Proper PH significantly reduces the risk of cancer.
  • Controls Diabetes – helps by balancing blood sugar levels
  • Treats Kidney Stones – normalizes the acidity in kidneys which helps prevent kidney stones from forming in the first place. If kidney stones already exist, coconut water can reduce their size upon regular drinking
  • Relieves Urinary Problems – people suffering from polyutra, strangury or other urinary problems could see their symptoms relieved upon regular consumption of coconut water
  • Eases Stomach Pains and Vomiting – often taken by women with painful menstruation, but also works great with people suffering from Malaria or Typhoid
  • Reduces Risk of Cancer – through supply of essential minerals and vitamins, coconut water could prevent mutation of genes that leads to cancer. Furthermore, Cytokinins help regulate the divisions of cell and their growth
  • Kills Intestinal Worms – when consumed with olive oil for at least three consecutive days, coconut water has been found to kill intestinal worms
Photo: Fresh Harvest of Young Coconuts - Source of Coconut Water in Cambodia
Photo: Fresh Harvest of Young Coconuts - Source of Coconut Water in Cambodia

Coconut Water Nutritional Information

  • Coconut Water contains more essential nutrients than whole milk but unlike milk, it contains NO cholesterol and has fewer calories (less fat)
  • Coconut Water is healthier and contains more nutrients than Orange Juice AND has fewer calories
  • Coconut Water contains Lauric Acid which is present in milk from the breasts of breastfeeding mothers making it superior to processed baby milk
  • Coconut Water is naturally sterile (free from any harmful bacteria)
  • Coconut Water is identical to human blood plasma making it a universal donor (referred to as Coconut IV in the Third World Countries)
  • Coconut Water contains isotonic levels identical to human blood. It is hence the best and Natural Isotonic Beverage

Coconut Water as Natural Energy Drink

One glass of Coconut Water (100 ml) contains more potassium than a banana and more electrolytes than most commercially available sports drinks (energy beverages). Below is a comparison to demonstrate mineral qualities and health benefits of coconut water versus that of average sports drinks.

Average content of minerals found in 100 ml of coconut water compared to the content of the same minerals in 100 ml of an average sports drink:

Coconut Water: 294 mg
Sports Drinks: 117 mg

Coconut Water: 118 mg
Sports Drinks: 39mg

Coconut Water: 25 mg
Sports Drinks: 41 mg

Coconut Water: 5 mg (natural sugars)
Sports Drinks: 10 – 25 mg (processed sugars)

Coconut Harvesting

Good news is that the superfood we call Coconut Water grows on its own, with no human input needed and one coconut tree can blossom as many as 13 times a year. It takes about a year for a drupe to mature, but with 60 coconuts picked on average per harvest per tree, the supply is continuous and available year round.

The Best Way to Drink Coconut Water

Because coconut water quickly loses most of its nutritional characteristic and starts to ferment after exposure to air, to maximize health benefits, it is best to drink coconut water fresh, right after the nut has been cracked open. Fresh coconuts are widely available throughout South East Asia, Pacific Island or the Caribbean and are very inexpensive. Vendor would slice small opening into the shell of the drupe with a machete, exposing the water inside. You can easily and comfortably drink the water with a straw. If the coconut is cracked open upon your purchase, the freshness is guaranteed. Put the straw in and drink it in small gulps right away, enjoying the refreshing taste and instant boost to your body and your spirit.

Photo: After You Have Finished Drinking Coconut Water, Have the Drupe Halved to Scrape Off and Eat Equally Healthy Coconut Meat
Photo: After You Have Finished Drinking Coconut Water, Have the Drupe Halved to Scrape Off and Eat Equally Healthy Coconut Meat

Coconut Water vs Coconut Milk

Coconut milk and coconut water are not the same thing. While coconut water is the fluid found inside young coconuts, coconut milk is an extract form the lining inside a coconut (meat).

Coconut Water Side Effects

Being low in carbohydrates, low in sugar and 99% fat free, coconut water helps maintain proper body temperature and promotes natural growth. Coconut water is hands down the best natural drink on the face of the planet that’s safe for babies, pregnant women, breastfeeding women, elderly, etc. There are no known side effect to drinking coconut water so unless one suffers from nut allergies, drinking coconut water can only deliver health benefits.

Despite undeniable health benefits, though my friend Ted who’s a doctor in Thailand warned me that because of high levels of potassium, coconut water could be potentially dangerous to people with weak kidneys. If your kidneys don’t function very well, high doses of fluid with high potassium content could lead to kidney failure or a heart attack.


Please note that I am not a doctor and information found within is not a substitute for an advice from health practitioners. Facts provided in this article are based on my own experiences drinking coconut water as well as experiences of other people I have had a chance to interview. Coconut water nutritional information and list of health benefits provided herein are the result of thorough research of studies found on the internet and other relevant media and are provided with best intentions, however I can not guarantee their accuracy. It is my sincere hope that each and every person reading this article experiences nothing but improvement in their health and well-being. If you believe that any part of the article is inaccurate, please do not hesitate to contact me with correct statements. Cheers :o)

Angkor Beer – The National Beer of Cambodia

The first thing that went through my mouth in Cambodia was Angkor Beer. I went to have my first Cambodian meal at Khmer Family Restaurant on Pub Street in Siem Reap and since I was there in the morning (aka while business is slow, as Siem Reap comes alive in the evening after tourists have returned from exploring Angkor Wat temples), the “happy hour” value prices were in effect (happy hour lasts form opening until 6pm – they call it “happy day” since it’s in effect most of the day, rather than just for an hour). Drink was included in price of meal which only totalled to $3, making it an overall great deal for a westerner. The choice of free drink included local beer, soft drink (coca cola or similar) or fresh coconut. Fresh coconut sounded tempting, but coconuts taste pretty much the same everywhere in the world. I wanted to get a taste of local cuisine and local drink. Beer was my pick.

Draught Angkor Beer - My First Beer in Cambodia
Draught Angkor Beer - My First Beer in Cambodia

Since food is prepared fresh on per order basis in the kitchen of each restaurant, it takes about 10 minutes to get it on the table after ordering. You can enjoy your drink while you’re waiting which is served quickly. I was truly looking forward to my beer which came soon after ordering and bore the name of place I came to see – Angkor Wat.

Angkor Beer prides itself on being the National Beer of Cambodia. I thought that name must count for something and sure enough, the beer tastes great. I consider myself being a little bit of beer connoisseur (or at least a passionate beer drinker – explains the beer gut on me) so I truly appreciate quality beers. And Angkor beer does not lack in taste regard. I have never felt any unpleasant after-taste following a thirsty gulp. Angkor Beer always comes down your throat smoothly and feel very enjoyable to drink.

Drinking Draught Beer in Cambodia

Cambodian laws are not as strict about alcohol as laws in my home country of Canada so beer is served freely in most establishments. You will see signs advertising sale prices for draught beer set down to $0.50, often claiming that this is today’s special. It’s never a special, these are regular prices offered by each establishment every day, they just use fancy advertising slogans to entice you into buying a beer from them. More upscale bars and clubs sometimes sell draught beer for more (Temple Club charges $0.75, Island Bar in Night Market sells draughts for $1).

The only thing that sets draught beer served in Cambodian establishments apart from draught beer at home is size. Sure, beer here is darn cheap ($0.50 for a draught is a great price any way you spin it), however you are not getting a whole pint for this money. I don’t know how much exactly it is, but it looks like it could be half pint. Still great price for draught beer, just be ready for drinking from the smallest beer glass you have ever seen.

Black and White Photo of Me Drinking Angkor Beer Draught
Black and White Photo of Me Drinking Angkor Beer Draught

Angkor Beer Factory in Sihanoukville

I was interested in learning more about Angkor Beer as I truly did not think they knew much about brewing beer in Cambodia, nevermind brewing of tasty beers. I was wrong. Cambodians are actually big beer drinkers and the history of beer drinking goes a long way back in Cambodia. There are pre-historic drawings in caves showing drunk men laying around after drinking rice beer from coconut shells. Not much has changed in this regard to this day. Cambodians still enjoy drinking beer and do so each time there is an occasion worth celebrating (basically any time).

Angkor Beer is brewed by Cambrew in Sihanoukville, Cambodia – the town most famous for best Cambodian beaches. I have not been to the brewery nor Sihanoukville itself yet (though I’m planning on going soon), but I’ve heard the brewery is on top of the mountain overlooking Sihanoukville, only about 10 minutes from downtown.

Angkor Brewery started brewing Angkor Beer in 1963 and produces over 250 million cans of beer per year, making it the biggest beer brewery in Cambodia. Aside from being the most popular beer in Cambodia enjoyed by both tourists and locals alike, Angkor Beer is also exported to countries all over the world.

Photo: Fresh Glass of Angkor Draught
Photo: Fresh Glass of Angkor Draught

Other Cambodian Beers

While Angkor Beer seems to be the most popular and most served beer in Cambodia, it’s not the only beer produced by this beer hungry country. Tiger Beer seems to be on the rise with lots of advertising and sponsorships of major sporting events across South East Asia. Anchor Beer seems to ride the tail of Angkor Beer by having the name that resembles the more popular alternative. There are also rumors that Carlsberg Beer will be opening a brewery in Cambodia soon. Japanese Asahi Beer is also available throughout Cambodia, even though it’s usually a bit more expensive.