Many people, especially those who don’t live in regions with easy access to tropical fruits, think that coconut milk and coconut water are different. But in reality, they are entirely other liquids.

Coconut water is the transparent liquid inside the coconut — if you take a young coconut and shake it gently, you can hear the water inside. So you can break the coconut and immediately drink the water.

On the other hand, coconut milk is produced from coconut pulp, which we should cut, ground, filter, and liquefy to obtain a thick and rich liquid, white and similar to a cream. 

Coconut milk is widely utilized in cooking in many countries to make soups, main courses, and beverages. Both have significant differences, highlighted below, though coming from the same source. 

Table of Contents

1. Definition

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is a processed coconut by-product. It is made by grinding the pulp of ripe coconuts and boiling them in hot water.

The blend is then strained to remove any solid residue. The amount of water used to prepare the milk determines its consistency.

Liquid coconut milk is most often used to substitute cow’s milk. On the other hand, thick coconut milk is often a thickener for traditional sauces or recipes in many Indian and Southeastern dishes.

Coconut Water

Coconut water is a sweet, translucent liquid that you can drink straight from the coconut. It occurs naturally in fruits and is known as a liquid endosperm. When the young coconuts ripen, the coconut water hardens, forming a pulp.

However, the ripening process does not fill the entire coconut cavity with pulp, so you can still find some coconut water in the ripe coconuts.

Coconut water is a popular refreshing drink for its health-promoting effects.

2. Nutrient Value

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is naturally rich in potassium, iron, and lauric acid. The latter even improves cholesterol and helps protect the body against viruses and bacteria.

Also, coconut milk is rich in saturated fat. This type of fat is considered good, as it is quickly digested and transformed into energy. Therefore, you must include coconut milk in your daily life.

This milk does not have lactose, so when it comes to having an intolerance, there is no problem consuming it. In addition, it is a perfect option for those who follow a vegan regimen.

Coconut Water

Coconut water contains numerous minerals, such as potassium, magnesium, copper, iron; vitamins, such as folic acid and the B complex that help maintain our health; and vitamin C that helps cleanse the body of bacteria and strengthens the immune system.

Although it is liquid, it contains considerable fiber, stimulating intestinal transit, preventing constipation, and eliminating fermented substances from the intestines that cause severe health problems.

100% natural coconut water contains more electrolytes than sports drinks. Its high content of potassium and other electrolytes promotes adequate blood pressure, helping to prevent heart disease.

Here’s a comparison between the primary nutrients of coconut milk and coconut water per 100g.

Nutrients Coconut MilkCoconut Water
Water67.6 g94.99 g 
Calories230 kcal19 kcal
Fat24 g0.20 g
Cholesterol0 mg0 mg
Sodium15 mg105 mg
Potassium263 mg250 mg
Carbohydrates6 g3.71 g
Fiber2.2 g1.1 g
Sugar3.3 g2.6 g
Protein2.3 g0.72 g
Calcium16 mg24 mg
Viamin C2.8 mg2.4 mg
Vitamin B60 mg0.03 mg
Vitamin B10.03 mg0.03 mg
Vitamin B20 mg0.057 mg
Vitamin B50.18 mg0.043 mg
Vitamin B30.76 mg0.080 mg
Magnesium37 mg25 mg
Phosphorus100 mg20 mg
Iron1.6 mg0.29 mg
Zinc0.67 mg0.10 mg

3. History

Coconut Milk

Coconuts grow in abundance in Malaysia, South Asia, the Philippines, India, and Sri Lanka. Their name “cocos” means “grinning face.” 

Coconuts got such a funny name because of their holes in the base. They are somewhat similar to the face of a monkey. 

The drink first appeared in Thailand to replace regular cow’s milk. Then the product spread outside the country, becoming part of many oriental dishes. 

In Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia, it is called Santan; in the Philippines, coconut milk is called gata; and in Thailand, it is called Kathi.

This drink is trendy among those who have given up on cow and goat milk for one reason or another.

Coconut Water

Researchers say that the ancient man, having seen how the tropical monkeys cleverly split the coconut, began to repeat after them! And later, coconut began to be used as food, a building material, and a medicine.

In addition, it is believed by many to be closely resembling human blood lymph, but it is not. British and Japanese doctors used it as a saline solution during World War II. 

But this use is due only to its sterility and the lack of a better means that doctors could safely use for intravenous administration with significant losses of military blood. But even this fact makes this water unique in its composition.

4. Benefits

Coconut Milk

Milk contains many essential substances for the human body: iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, selenium, zinc, sodium, and vitamins B, C, A, PP. 

It allows coconut milk to saturate the body with valuable microelements, provide energy, and tone it up. 

It is believed that the coconut milk product can improve digestion, normalize hormones, lower cholesterol levels, and enhance metabolism, which is especially important for dietary nutrition. 

Phosphorus, which is part of the drink, makes bones stronger. Recent studies have shown that coconut milk inhibits the development of tooth decay by neutralizing harmful bacteria and strengthening tooth enamel. 

Magnesium positively affects the nervous system, helps endure stressful situations more quickly, and normalizes blood pressure. 

It is far from all the benefits of coconut milk: the antioxidant selenium, which is in its composition, fights against inflammatory processes in the joints and helps with arthritis, and retinol is necessary for skin health. 

Cytokines strengthen blood vessels and prevent blood clots. Also, the product is rich in tocopherol, which slows down the aging process.

Coconut Water

Coconut water, of course, differs from coconut milk in composition, but it is a rich source of minerals and nutrients. Thus, coconut water contains:

  • B vitamins.
  • Eight essential amino acids for human health.
  • Substances cytokinins and enzymes preserve the integrity and well-being of cell membranes.
  • Coconut water also contains antioxidants that boost immunity. 

Coconut water can be considered a genuinely feminine drink. It has a positive effect on the skin, hair, and nail condition. 

The fact is that coconut water relieves the body of harmful toxins, in particular, from heavy metals. In addition, the valuable property of coconut water is its ability to lower acidity in the body.

It is vital to prevent peel formation on the thighs and buttocks. It is worth paying attention to coconut water and athletes as it is an excellent natural rehydrate. 

It can maintain an optimal balance of fluid in the body and in the best way to replace the lost energy. Those losing weight must know that regular consumption of coconut water helps control appetite. 

5. Contraindication

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk has few but very strong contraindications. We should not give coconut milk to children under two years of age and people with digestive disorders suffering from diarrhea and constipation due to its high fiber. 

Experts advise against drinking coconut milk for hypertension and stomach ulcers. Excessive consumption can cause weight gain due to its high fat and high-calorie content.

You have to be sure you are not allergic to nuts. Although coconut is not a nut, it does have a common allergen and can cause a reaction.

Coconut Water

People prone to allergies should use this drink with caution. People with allergies to coconut and other types of nuts and those who have a high potassium content in the body are contraindicated due to the development of possible side effects. 

It is also essential to consider the digestive tract and intestines; in the acute stage, use coconut water wisely.

In case of kidney disease and disruption of their work, you should consult your doctor about the possibility of drinking coconut water, whether it will harm your health since the kidneys may not cope. 

It is imperative that if a person is scheduled for any operation, he should refrain from drinking water from a coconut.

As noted earlier, it affects blood pressure, which may not have a good effect directly during the operation; a jump or decrease in pressure may occur. 

However, in the absence of the above-described contraindications, coconut water is safe for children, nursing mothers, pregnant women, and retirees.

6. Medicinal Application

Coconut Milk

Due to its beneficial qualities, coconut milk is actively used in medicine. It is believed to help remove mucus from the lungs and thus relieve coughing and also helps with chronic diseases of the respiratory system. 

The drink improves overall well-being by supplying the body with vital vitamins and minerals. Experts recommend using it after prolonged physical activity to restore strength and stock up on energy. 

In addition, some of the substances in coconut milk have anti-cancer properties.

Coconut Water

Coconut water is the perfect sports drink. At least three confirmatory studies are available on the suitability of coconut water as a sports drink.

One from the Science University Malaysia in the Kuban, the second from the Institute for Sports Medicine in Vienna, and the third from scientists in Bangkok found the same result. 

They unanimously agreed that the ingredients of coconut water are absorbed by the blood remarkably quickly and efficiently due to its isotonic properties, without putting any strain on the body. 

Coconut water can quickly compensate for the loss of electrolytes and fluids caused by excessive sweating. 

It is no wonder that the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has called coconut water the “sports drink of the 21st century”.

Because of its isotonic properties, coconut water is often used in tropical developing countries to treat diarrhea, dehydration, and acute overheating of the body (hyperthermia).

In addition, scientists at Airlangga University in Indonesia found that coconut water is an excellent means of accompanying treatment and supplying electrolytes in cholera.

In another study published in the West Indian Medical Journal, scientists found that coconut water has an antihypertensive effect. 

Scientists also found that 1 to 2 glasses of coconut water per day lowered systolic blood pressure in over 70 percent of participants and diastolic blood pressure in almost 30 percent.

7. Storage

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk on store shelves can usually be seen in a tetra-pack and less often in a tin can. Before buying coconut milk, you need to pay attention to the product’s shelf life and its composition. 

It should indicate only coconut pulp and water in the ingredients of a quality drink. You can store milk at temperatures from + 2 ° to + 30 °.

After opening the package, the shelf life is reduced to 2-3 days. You can freeze the milk to keep it fresh for longer.

Coconut Water

It is important to remember that coconut water is afraid of sunlight and oxygen. Based on this, we must store it in a closed container – glass or plastic. 

It is best if the container is dark and does not allow light to pass through or in a dark place. Temperature conditions for coconut water are not necessary.

We can store it in the refrigerator and simply at room temperature; the main thing is to observe the conditions described above. 

You can sometimes see the resulting cream when using coconut water, which is also very useful and stored the same way as the water itself.

The shelf life of coconut water is short; after opening the package or the coconut itself, it is stored for a maximum of a week. It can be frozen to increase the shelf life to two to three months. 

8. Usage

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk can be consumed in the same way as cow’s milk and can be used pure or in preparations such as latte, smoothies, pastries, cookies, and cakes. 

There is no ideal amount to consume, but those who want to lose weight should only drink 1 or 2 glasses a day.

It is used to prepare traditional Thai soups, for example, tom yam or tom Kha added to sauces for fish, seafood, and meat. 

It goes well with exotic curries, ginger, chili, and more. You can add it to cereals and coffee, prepare delicious milk and fruit shakes or chia puddings, ice cream, and any desserts. 

Feel free to replace regular milk or cream with coconut milk in any dish and enjoy the fantastic aroma. 

Coconut Water

Healthy and tasty drinks and very unusual dishes – coconut water allows you to create miniature masterpieces in the kitchen. And most importantly, coconut water is an essential part of a healthy diet.

Coconut water is often used in drinks, both in pure form and as an additive; it is used in various cocktails, smoothies, and even coffee. 

In Asian countries, coconut water is also used for making soups, hot seafood garnishes, and various baked goods.

The most popular recipes for healthy smoothies are for youth and vigor. Its preparation is straightforward – green apple, grated ginger, and 120 ml of coconut juice are mixed. 

For active people, including athletes, smoothies made from coconut water with pineapple, melon, green apples are good. Both cocktails taste amazing and have a beneficial effect on the entire body.

9. Optimal Dose

Coconut Milk

Drinking coconut milk every day is not a good idea. The optimal dose is 200-500 ml per week for adults, including lactating and pregnant women. 

Everything is much more complicated about children and depends on the individual reaction. 

However, we should not include this product in the diet for children older than three years old. It is best to limit yourself to 50-75 ml of milk per week until adolescence.

Coconut Water

The optimal dosage for consuming coconut water is 500-600 milliliters per day. 

It will help you nourish your body with valuable substances, restore water balance, maintain strength and protect yourself from many diseases. 

The dose can be increased if you are actively involved in sports or have chosen the coconut mono diet.

Comparison Between Coconut Milk and Coconut Water in Table

Difference inCoconut MilkCoconut Water
FormationCoconut milk is formed after grating and pressing the meat with water.Coconut water is the natural juice inside a coconut.
PreparationCoconut Milk needs to be made before consumption.Coconut water is a refreshing drink that we can consume straight from the fruit.
AppearanceCoconut milk is thicker and whiter.Coconut water is runny and clear.
CalorieA cup of coconut milk provides 550 calories.Coconut water is shallow in calories.
Fat ContentCoconut milk is creamy and high in fat.Coconut water is fat-free.
TasteThe taste of coconut milk is very strong.The taste of water is softer.
DigestionCoconut milk can be challenging to digest, as it contains between 20 and 22% fat. Coconut water is absorbed readily in our blood.
UsageCoconut milk is often used for cooking desserts or curry dishes. Coconut water is intended for recipes containing refreshing beverages or its sole use as a soft drink.


Coconut milk and coconut water are frequently confused because they are popular coconut drinks.

However, they are two different beverages, as coconut water occurs naturally in the fruit, while coconut milk is a processed beverage. Both drinks also have other nutritional profiles and culinary uses.

While both offer multiple health benefits, people with kidney disease may want to avoid drinking coconut water, while people with diarrhea should limit coconut milk depending on their sensitivities.

If you choose to buy coconut water or coconut milk, avoid brands with added sugar to enjoy their benefits. If you don’t like both, you can always try maple water.

(Last Updated on December 31, 2021 by Sadrish Dabadi)

Ankur Pradhan holds a bachelor’s degree in education and health and three years of content writing experience. Addicted to online creative writing, she puts some of what she feels inside her stormy heart on paper. She loves nature, so she is trying to motivate people to switch to alternative energy sources through her articles.