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Health benefits of coconut water for people with diabetes

Health benefits of coconut water for people with diabetes

Apart from having a low glycemic index, coconut water is dense with electrolytes and nutrients, including magnesium and manganese
Water from one tender coconut a day is considered ideal for people with diabetes.
Photo by Anantha Subramanyam K/Happiest Health

Fresh coconut water is considered one of the best naturally refreshing drinks. It also has a low glycemic index; therefore, it does not cause sudden spikes in blood glucose levels. Experts recommend that people with diabetes can reach out for a glass of fresh coconut water when they crave a refreshing beverage instead of a packaged high-sugar energy drink.

“Coconut water is a good beverage for people with diabetes if consumed in moderation,” says Dr Aditya G Hegde, consultant, diabetes and endocrinology, Manipal Hospital, Old Airport Road, Bengaluru. It is a healthy drink that’s beneficial for people with diabetes because of its high nutrient and electrolyte content.

Improving glucose metabolism and flushing out toxins

Dr Subrata Das, senior consultant, internal medicine and diabetology, Sakra World Hospital, Bengaluru, shares, “Coconut water is rich in antioxidants, including vitamin C and magnesium, making it a good choice for those with diabetes”. He adds that vitamin C-rich food is great for controlling both high blood glucose and obesity in people with metabolic syndrome.

Dr Das also points out that coconut water has minerals, which play a crucial role in regulating and improving glucose metabolism. This includes magnesium, which is involved in carbohydrate metabolism as well as the uptake of glucose to various cells in the body. Additionally, it has potassium. This mineral aids in blood pressure regulation and reduces the risk of cardiovascular complications often associated with diabetes. It also contains manganese, which improves insulin sensitivity and helps in better diabetes management, informs Dr Hegde.

Further, those with diabetes are more susceptible to urinary tract infections and bladder issues. High blood sugar can lead to sugar in the urine, which allows bacteria to breed easily. Dr Das shares that coconut water helps improve hydration and remove toxins through the urine. This makes it beneficial for those with diabetes.

Mindful consumption of coconut water is the key

Delhi-based nutritionist Avni Kaul shares that coconut water contains natural sugars, primarily glucose and fructose. However, its glycemic index is relatively low, which doesn’t spike your blood sugar level immediately as compared to high-sugar beverages. She suggests that though coconut water has a low GI, people with diabetes should be mindful of their overall carbohydrate intake. To quantify it better, Dr Hegde adds, “Around 240 ml of coconut water has 60 kilocalories, and approximately 15 g carbohydrates.”

Dr Hegde also pointed out that people with diabetic nephropathy, or diabetic kidney disease, should avoid coconut water due to its high potassium content. However, he highlights that coconut water is the perfect post-workout drink for people with well-controlled blood glucose levels. Further, Dr Das cautions that its excess consumption might cause diarrhea in some people.

Always opt for natural coconut water

Bhuvaneswari Vidyashankar, a Chennai-based dietician, recommends fresh coconut water over canned or bottled versions as the latter contains added preservatives and extra sugars. Also, canned versions of coconut water may alter the nutrient content and may not be as beneficial.

Further, according to Vidyashankar, coconut meat (the white part) contains essential minerals like magnesium and selenium and is high in healthy fat. Hence, those with diabetes should be mindful while consuming it.

Dr Das shares that the ideal quantity of coconut water for consumption will depend on whether the patient has any fluid restrictions. Generally, water from one tender coconut a day is considered ideal for people with diabetes, he adds.


Coconut water is one of the healthiest beverages for people with diabetes. Apart from having a low glycemic index, it is dense with electrolytes and nutrients. This includes magnesium and manganese, which are involved in glucose metabolism. It also has a moderate amount of natural sugar in it. While it is a good energy drink, experts point out that people with uncontrolled blood glucose levels should consume coconut water in moderation.

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