Coconut Water: How It’s Harvested And Risk

Coconut water, less commonly coconut juice, is the clear liquid inside coconuts (fruits of the coconut palm).

In early development, it serves as a suspension for the endosperm of the coconut during the nuclear phase of development. As growth continues, the endosperm matures into its cellular phase and deposits into the rind of the coconut pulp.The liquid inside young coconuts is often preferred to the liquid of a ripened coconut.


Fresh coconuts are typically harvested from the tree while they are green. A hole may be bored into the coconut to provide access to the “meat” (liquid and pulp). In young coconuts, the liquid and air may be under some pressure and may spray slightly when the inner husk is first penetrated. Coconuts that have fallen to the ground are susceptible to rot and damage from insects or other animals.

Photo by Jonathan Colon


Plain coconut water has long been a popular drink in tropical countries, where it is available fresh, canned, or bottled.Coconuts for drinking are served chilled, fresh, or packaged. They are often sold by street vendors who cut them open with machetes or similar implements in front of customers. Coconut water for retail can be found in ordinary aluminum cans, Tetra Paks, or plastic bottles, sometimes with coconut pulp or coconut jelly included.

Coconut water can be fermented to produce coconut vinegar. It is also used to make nata de coco, a jelly-like food.Percentage are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Providing 19 calories in a 100 millilitres (3.5 imp fl oz; 3.4 US fl oz) amount, coconut water is 95% water and 4% carbohydrates, with protein and total fat content under 1% each (table).

Photo by Jonathan Colon

Coconut water contains small amounts of vitamins and dietary minerals, all under 10% of the Daily Value (DV)(table).


One health risk arising from excessive consumption of coconut water is an overabundance of potassium in the blood (hyperkalemia), inducing acute kidney failure, heart arrhythmia, loss of consciousness and eventually death.Hyperkalemia and loss of consciousness after the consumption of several liters of coconut water were reported only as a clinical case study in association with one individual’s use of a commercial product following physical exertion.However, the levels of potassium in each 100 ml serving of unprocessed coconut water are not very significant (2–7% of the DV).

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