Is Coconut Water Good For Diabetes? Top 5 Benefits

Is coconut water good for diabetes – whether that is prevention or treatment?

Can it be considered a good beverage (alongside water)?

In this article, we're going to talk about its major benefits.

Also – let's try to understand how it works for general health.

So if you want to know more about it, this article will help you get informed.

Note: This article includes references and studies on coconut water and diabetes.

Coconut Water For Diabetes? (In A Nutshell)

To begin with, coconut water is a popular and nutritious beverage.

It's known for its low-calorie, sugar and fat content, which makes it a safe choice for diabetes.

Besides, it's rich in L-arginine, which has some promising anti-diabetic properties.

In short, it can reduce the risk factors associated with this condition:

  • insulin resistance
  • obesity

Apart from diabetes management, coconut water has several other potential benefits:

  • counteracts dehydration
  • aids digestion
  • lessens kidney stone development
  • supplies antioxidants and essential nutrients

Again – it's a valuable source of electrolytes, which are crucial for numerous bodily functions.

Some examples include water retention, muscle response or nutrient absorption.

But don't look at coconut water as a substitute for prescription drugs.

Besides, it doesn't have the same potency a high-quality supplement.

So it's just a healthy drink that you can add into your daily routine, without having high expectations from it.

It can't actually cure diabetes or improve it dramatically…



What Is Coconut Water?

Let's begin this article by discussing some key details of coconut [1]:

  • its scientific name is Cocos nucifera and it belongs to the palm family (Arecaceae)
  • coconut tree is a perennial crop that's predominant in the tropical regions

The name “coconut water” comes from the clear liquid inside the fruit.

But take note that it's different from coconut cream, milk or meat.

Now – coconut water offers various health benefits (just like any fresh product).

Its most notable characteristic is its potential when it comes to [2]:

  • diabetes management
  • hydration
  • nutritional support
  • digestive health
  • kidney stone prevention

Moreover – it's low in calories and fats, but at the same time, it's rich in essential minerals.

Let's look at the top benefits for diabetes coconut water offers.



#1 – Manages Diabetes

Now, diabetes is a pretty common condition [3]:

  • caused by genetics, lifestyle, autoimmune disorder or hormones
  • leads to an elevated blood sugar levels
  • the most common kinds of diabetes are type 1, type 2 and gestational

On the other hand – coconut water is popular because of its healthy composition.

But in the context of diabetes, it has a very low glycemic index (GI).

This means it won't cause a spike in the blood glucose levels (which is a trigger for diabetes).

Besides- coconut water is a good source of L-arginine.

This is an amino acid that can possibly modulate some diabetes-related factors [4]:

  • restores insulin sensitivity
  • reduces obesity
  • decreases blood pressure
  • regulates hormone levels

As you can see, it has the potential to prevent type 2 diabetes by improving the body's response to insulin.

But there are still limited studies on how coconut water can do that.

Well – in the meantime, you can still enjoy drinking it.

In fact, just like watermelon, it's a healthy alternative to water if you're looking after your sugar intake.

Plus, if you're worried about its consequences, remember that most fruits don't cause diabetes.

But remember that their overconsumption can increase the risk.



#2 – Provides Hydration

Now –  this is probably the most familiar benefit of coconut water.

A lot of people are aware that it's a perfectly hydrating drink.

But before jumping into how it works, let's list down the signs of dehydration [5]:

  • lightheadedness and tiredness
  • dry mouth or feeling thirsty
  • dark colored and foul smell urine
  • skin dullness and fine lines/wrinkles

Additionally – dehydration is the result of an insufficient replacement of body fluid that we lost.

Plain water is our primary source of hydration, but what makes coconut water a good alternative?

Besides its 95% water content, it's has several essential minerals called electrolytes [6]:

  • potassium – supports muscle function and stabilizes blood pressure
  • sodium – encourages fluid retention in the body
  • magnesium – promotes the proper functioning of the muscles
  • phosphorus – plays important roles in metabolisms
  • calcium – contributes to the transmission of nerve impulses

As you can see, it's not all about fluid replenishment.

They also help replace the lost minerals (which play some important roles in keeping our body healthy).

Overall – coconut water's electrolytes and water content are the key factors for supporting hydration.

Unlike plain water, it doesn't only address fluid loss but it can also supply mineral loss.



#3 – Improves Digestion

Another potential of coconut water is its ability to aid digestion.

But what are the common symptoms of digestive problems that you need to look after to? [7]:

  • diarrhea and IBD
  • gas and constipation
  • bloating or indigestion
  • stomach discomfort

Now – let's take a look at the features of coconut water that can help digestion:

  • its hydrating properties promote a smooth flow through the digestive tract
  • also, hydration supports nutrient breakdown and absorption
  • electrolytes improve muscle function
  • its minimal fiber content can serve as prebiotics for the gut microbiota

Basically – if you're well-hydrated and have enough minerals, your digestion will surely improve [8].

Overall – this benefit coconut water has might sound very minor.

But let's not forget the importance of small things, since they can have a big impact in the end.



#4 – Prevents Kidney Stones

Let's look at the relationship between coconut water and kidney stones.

But before that, let's first understand the real deal behind this condition [9]:

  • it's characterized by solid pebble-like material that settles in the kidney
  • the most common cause is an excess of certain minerals in the urine
  • its symptoms include sharp pain in the back, side, groin or lower abdomen (in worse cases, blood in the urine)
  • several treatments include shock wave lithotripsy, cystoscopy or ureteroscopy [10]

Additionally – there are a few factors that make some people more prone to developing kidney stones.

Now – based on some studies, coconut water therapy can increase urinary citrate excretion [11].

So what does it mean?

Well – if you have a low urinary citrate excretion, it's hard to reduce stone formation in the urine.

It's because citrate binds with calcium to prevent the growth of crystals made of minerals [12].

In short, the major inhibitor of kidney stones is urinary citrate.

Fortunately, coconut water can help with that.

Furthermore – this benefit of coconut water is because of its alkaline nature.

If you want to lower the risk, you might want to start drinking more coconut water.

But of course, you still need to lower your sodium, calories and animal protein intake.

In that way, you can prevent any potential kidney stones.



#5 – Provides Antioxidants & Nutrients

Lastly – coconut water is sourced from a fruit, so it's surely beneficial for our overall health:

  • rich in antioxidant properties
  • packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals

These proprieties actually play big roles in our body systems.

Again – antioxidants neutralize harmful free radicals and avoid cell damage due to oxidative stress [13].

Also, the vitamins and minerals from coconut water can reduce the risks of several chronic diseases.

But as I mentioned, you need to combine it with a balanced diet and an active lifestyle.

So overall – coconut water is more than just a refreshing and delicious beverage, it's also a good health partner.



Final Conclusion

Overall – coconut water contains L-arginine, which is a promising anti-diabetic compound.

It can reduce some diabetes risk factors (insulin resistance, hormones and obesity).

Also – since it has a low sugar content, it's a perfect alternative for people with diabetes.

However, keep in mind that it's not an actual treatment.

Instead –  it's just a healthy addition to your diet.

Other than that, here are the other potential benefits of coconut water:

  • prevents dehydration
  • promote better digestion
  • reduces the development of kidney stones
  • provides essential nutrients and antioxidants

As you know by now, coconut water is a good source of electrolytes.

But this doesn't mean that you can already skip your prescription drugs (if you have any).

It's just a healthy drink you can incorporate into your routine.

But it's not even close to the top treatments for diabetes.


1 –

2 –

3 –

4 –

5 –

6 –

7 –

8 –

9 –

10 –

11 –

12 –

13 –


Written by 

Paula has a background in Chemistry and continues to pursue further studies in it. She loves searching for the best products in the market that will give excellent benefits to the human body and share them with you.

Fact Checked by Oltea Roman, Pharm. D.

Last updated: May 20, 2024

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *