Coconut Milk vs. Coconut Water: Nutrition and Benefits

What does the word coconut evoke in your mind? For many people, it’s the thought or memory of sitting at the beach, a cool drink in hand, the ocean stretching out into the horizon and coconut palms dancing gently in the rhythm of the ocean breeze. But coconut is no longer only found in tropical beaches. Coconut products such as coconut milk and coconut water are now part of everyday life, and they are available in grocery stores and supermarkets around the world. But a consumer searching for a coconut beverage may find it confusing to come across coconut milk and water on the shelves. So what are their differences anyway? Which one is better?


Coconut Milk vs. Coconut Water: Production

Coconut water is the liquid within the growing coconut fruit before it matures fully to form the firm white flesh. To produce coconut water, you only need a machete or a knife to cut off the top of the fruit. Then you can insert a straw, or pour the ready-to-drink coconut water into a glass. For people who live far away from the coconut beaches, the coconut water will be packed to allow for transportation.

Although no other ingredients are needed, some processing is required to produce coconut milk. The white coconut flesh is scraped from the inside of the coconut shell, put in a blender and blended together with hot water. Alternatively, coconut water may be used while blending the flesh.

Coconut Milk vs. Coconut Water: Nutrition


Coconut Milk

Coconut Water

Serving Sizes

1 Cup -226 g

1 Cup -240 g




Total Fat

48.21 g

0.48 g


29.38 mg

252 mg


497.2 mg

600 mg

Total Carbohydrate

6.35 g

8.0 g


4.57 g

1.73 g

Vitamin C

2.26 mg

5.76 mg


40.68 mg

57.6 mg


7.46 mg

0.7 mg

Vitamin and Fat

Coconut water is known for its hydration properties. It is rich in electrolytes, potassium and contains some protein building blocks. It is low in calories, carbohydrates, sugar and is almost fat-free, unlike other coconut products.

What about coconut milk? It contains substantial amounts of vitamins, iron and calcium. In addition, coconut milk is packed with a lot of healthy saturated fats. If you are thinking fat is bad for your health, remember that you need saturated fat for healthy brain, lungs and bones. Provided you observe moderation and eat a balanced diet, coconut milk will bring you lots of healthy benefits.

Amino Acids and Protein

There are two types of amino acids: essential and non-essential ones. The body can only synthesize non-essential amino acids. When you consume food or supplements containing amino acids, your body uses them to synthesize the proteins so as to build and maintain various tissues. Protein is also necessary for the health of your skin and hair. 

When comparing coconut milk and coconut water, coconut water contains more amino acids while coconut milk contains more complete proteins. By drinking coconut water, you provide your body with amino acids to synthesize proteins. But your body requires both essential and non-essential amino acids. So the amino acids in coconut water might not be enough to do this. When you take coconut milk, you provide your body with proteins which are ready for use.

Coconut Milk vs. Coconut Water: Health Benefits and Uses

Coconut Milk Health Benefits

If you can’t drink cow’s milk for food allergies or other reasons, try coconut milk. Made from the endosperm of coconut fruit, coconut milk tastes great and provides a ton of health benefits, including:

  • Improved skin health
  • Healthy levels of blood sugar
  • Prevention of heart disease
  • Stronger bones
  • Anti-inflammation
  • Immunity enhancement

Coconut Water Health Benefits

Coconut water is a rich source of minerals and electrolytes which help hydrate the body and can even treat diarrhea. Lauric acid, one of the constituents of coconut water, is an immune booster which is also found in a mother’s breast milk. Other healthy benefits of coconut water include:

  • Fights infections in the bladder and kidneys
  • Detoxifies the urinary system
  • Has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties

Uses of Coconut Milk and Coconut Water

In South Asian and Caribbean cultures, coconut milk is an important component of the traditional cuisines. Coconut milk is loved for its flavor and rich nutrients. It can also be used in place of dairy or processed creams. You can get the benefits of coconut milk by using it in rice dishes, soups, curries, and smoothies.

Coconut water comes from the immature coconut fruit. It is used as a healthy and refreshing beverage for any time of the day. It is packed with electrolytes and minerals, making it a great drink after workouts.

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