Difference Between Natural Coconut Water And Coconut Milk

The coconut tree is a source of many food and beverage products including natural coconut water, cream, oil and milk. Today we will see the difference between coconut milk and natural coconut water. Coconut is made of 52% coconut flesh, 38% shell and 10% water. 

Despite both being from the same fruit, there are differences between coconut water and milk:

Coconut Water

The best organic coconut water is a translucent fluid that tastes sweet. The natural coconut water already exists in young green fruit. As the fruit begins to mature, the water begins to turn into coconut meat. After it is mature, the fruit still retains some coconut water that has health-promoting effects.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is obtained through a process in which the flash of the mature fruit is grated and simmered in hot water. This is followed by straining. The consistency of milk depends on the amount of water used in this process. The milk can be thin or thick. Thick milk is used in traditional recipes of sauces as a thickening agent. Thin coconut milk is a good substitute for cow’s milk.

Coconut milk nutrition vs Coconut water nutrition

The following table compares 240mL of coconut milk and water.

 

Coconut Milk 

Coconut Water 

Folate

10% of the DV

2% of the DV

Vitamin C

11% of the DV

10% of the DV

Sodium

1% of the DV

11% of the DV

Manganese

110% of the DV

17% of the DV

Magnesium

22% of the DV

15% of the DV

Potassium

18% of the DV

17%

of DV

Protein

5.5 grams

2 grams

Fat

57 grams

0.5 grams

Sugar

8 grams

6 grams

Carbs

13 grams

9 grams

Calories

552

46

The table shows that coconut milk is a high-calorie beverage and natural coconut water is a low-calorie beverage. The water virtually contains no proteins and fat. It is 94% water and the rest is carbs. Coconut milk water content is 50% and the predominant nutrient is fat.

Pros and Cons of Natural Coconut Water and Coconut Milk 

Both coconut milk and water offer multiple health benefits. Consider your nutritional goals to make a choice.

Pros  

As coconut water replenishes calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and other electrolytes lost due to sweating during exercise, it is excellent for those who are physically active.

In research, researchers observed the effects of coconut water on rats with diabetes. The research suggests that this coconut byproduct may help in reducing blood sugar levels, oxidative stress levels, and A1c hemoglobin. Another research on rats shows that the water may lower bad cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood cholesterol and increase good cholesterol levels to support heart health. 

However, further studies are required to confirm these benefits in humans. 89% of the nutrient content of coconut milk is fat. However, this fat content does not have any adverse effects on blood lipid profiles. It may also help in getting rid of unwanted weight.

Cons

Potassium levels in pure coconut water may help high blood pressure patients. However, people with kidney disorders may not get this health benefit of coconut water. They need to limit their potassium intake. If the kidney is unable to excrete potassium, this increases blood potassium levels, also known as hypokalemia.

The medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) content of coconut milk aids weight loss. However, it is important to limit its intake as it is a high-calorie coconut byproduct. Individuals with FOR MAP intolerance should also limit coconut milk intake as it is a high FODMAP beverage. 

On the other hand, some experts also suggest that it is a low FODMAP beverage. An individual considering coconut milk should assess intolerance before drinking and limit intake accordingly.

FODMAP is a group of carbs responsible for constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and nausea in some people. It is very rare that coconut milk or water cause any allergies. 

Conclusion 

Natural coconut water and coconut milk are not the same. The former naturally exists in the fruit and the latter is a processed beverage. The culinary uses and nutrient content are also different.

There are health benefits of both drinks but people with FODMAP intolerance should be aware of their tolerance and limit coconut milk intake accordingly. Similarly, people with kidney disease should limit the intake of coconut water. One final suggestion. Avoid brands offering coconut milk or water with added sugar.