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The Difference Between Coconut Milk And Coconut Water

Coconut water is present in tender coconuts whereas coconut milk can be made by blending its flesh. Coconut water has been scientifically proven to be great for hydration, lowering bad cholesterol and high blood sugar levels. Coconut milk also has similar actions in addition to being an excellent non-dairy alternative for individuals who are lactose intolerant or follow a vegan lifestyle.

Coconut trees are found in over 89 tropical countries covering about 12 million hectares of land across the world. The versatility of the tree has served mankind for various purposes. The coconut fruit alone is a powerhouse of nutrients with a fleshy white part which can also be the source of milk and the refreshing coconut water.

Over the years with a rise in lactose intolerance and veganism, coconuts have been enjoying quite the attention for being a healthy source of water, milk, cream, sugar, vinegar, and flour. Here’s an insight on the difference between coconut milk and water which can guide you to make the right choice for your nourishment.

Coconut Water And Its Benefits

The cool and sweet juice derived from tender coconuts is hailed as an energy drink from Mother Nature. A cup of coconut water can give you loads of calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium and vitamin C. It can even give you the following benefits.

  • Antioxidants in coconut water protect body tissues against damage caused by free-radicals. Regular consumption can delay aging and the development of chronic diseases.1
  • It’s an excellent drink for diabetics as it helps in blood sugar regulation and high magnesium in it prevents the progression of the disease.2
  • Drinking fluids like coconut water can prevent the formation of kidney and urinary tract stones.3
  • Researchers have proven that it can help in lowering bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels.4
  • Being a good source of potassium makes it a good choice for hypertensives who want to keep their blood pressure within moderation.5
  • It’s a scientifically proven hydrating drink after an intense workout or training session.6

Coconut Milk And Its Benefits

Coconut milk can be prepared at home by blending coconut meat with water. It’s also readily available in department stores. Since centuries, it has been widely used in Asian and African cuisines.

  • It’s a great aid for weight management as it has medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) that get easily digested and give a lot of energy. As it leaves you feeling fuller, it’s a good option for weight-watchers.
  • Consumption of coconut flesh has been scientifically proven to lower LDL, bad, cholesterol levels.
  • Antioxidants and lauric acid in it can protect against severe inflammation.7
  • Similar to coconut oil it has a potent antibacterial and antifungal action in the body.
  • It can be a good dairy-free alternative for you if you are lactose intolerant. However, it isn’t as high in calcium in comparison to soy milk though.8

Homemade Coconut Milk Recipe

For those who aren’t huge fans of buying processed versions of coconut milk, here’s a simple recipe to make it within the comfort of your homes. Try this cost-effective recipe as store-bought coconut milk is more expensive and has added sweeteners or preservatives.


  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 cups of  freshly shredded coconut


1. Heat the water until it’s very hot but not boiling.
2. Blend the coconut pieces in a blender and water on high speed until it reaches a thick and creamy consistency.
3. Strain the milk through a mesh colander or muslin cloth into a clean bowl. Homemade coconut milk is ready.

It’s best to use it immediately. If you choose to refrigerate, store it for not more than 3 days.

The Verdict

Coconut water is an excellent way to replenish your body with essential nutrients. It can also boost your vitality and protect against diseases. Coconut milk, on the other hand, has similar effects on your health but can be beneficial for individuals who are vegan.

In the past, coconut milk and oil were falsely accused of being able to raise your cholesterol levels. But scientific evidence states that coconut contains saturated fat, mainly MCT which raises HDL good cholesterol levels which are cardioprotective in nature.

After spending time in the sun or a workout session, coconut water is highly recommended as a source of energy, electrolytes, and hydration. Coconut milk cannot meet your hydration needs as well as the water does. But, you can still get the most out of coconut milk by adding it to curries, smoothies, and sauces. It ultimately depends on your preference but including either form of coconut is a positive dietary choice for your overall health.

References   [ + ]

1. Manna, Krishnendu, Amitava Khan, Dipesh Kr Das, Swaraj Bandhu Kesh, Ujjal Das, Sayan Ghosh, Rakhi Sharma Dey et al. “Protective effect of coconut water concentrate and its active component shikimic acid against hydroperoxide mediated oxidative stress through suppression of NF-κB and activation of Nrf2 pathway.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 155, no. 1 (2014): 132-146.
2. Hruby, Adela, James B. Meigs, Christopher J. O’Donnell, Paul F. Jacques, and Nicola M. McKeown. “Higher magnesium intake reduces risk of impaired glucose and insulin metabolism and progression from prediabetes to diabetes in middle-aged americans.” Diabetes Care 37, no. 2 (2014): 419-427.
3. Gandhi, M., M. Aggarwal, S. Puri, and S. K. Singla. “Prophylactic effect of coconut water (Cocos nucifera L.) on ethylene glycol induced nephrocalcinosis in male wistar rat.” International braz j urol 39, no. 1 (2013): 108-117.
4. ats that consumed coconut water had reductions in blood cholesterol and triglycerides. T
5. Haddy, Francis J., Paul M. Vanhoutte, and Michel Feletou. “Role of potassium in regulating blood flow and blood pressure.” American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 290, no. 3 (2006): R546-R552.
6. Saat, Mohamed, Rabindarjeet Singh, Roland Gamini Sirisinghe, and Mohd Nawawi. “Rehydration after exercise with fresh young coconut water, carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage and plain water.” Journal of physiological anthropology and applied human science 21, no. 2 (2002): 93-104.
7. Alyaqoubi, Saif, Aminah Abdullah, Muhamad Samudi, Norrakiah Abdullah, Zuhair Radhi Addai, and Khalid Hamid Musa. “Study of antioxidant activity and physicochemical properties of coconut milk (Pati santan) in Malaysia.” Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research 7, no. 4 (2015): 967-973.
8. Ekanayaka, R. A. I., N. K. Ekanayaka, B. Perera, and P. G. S. M. De Silva. “Impact of a traditional dietary supplement with coconut milk and soya milk on the lipid profile in normal free living subjects.” Journal of nutrition and metabolism 2013 (2013).

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.