Digging for Minerals: Is Coconut High in Potassium

October 3, 2023

Coconut meat isn't all that high in potassium, but coconut water is.

Over the years, I have found that many of my patients struggle with maintaining a balanced diet. As a result, they don’t always get the potassium that they need. If I do find that their levels are on the lower side, I do recommend coconut water as a quick fix sometimes.

If you want to a more complete answer to is coconut high in potassium and learn why coconut meat shouldn’t be your go-to option in such situations, check out this post:

Potassium in Coconut Meat

As mentioned, coconut meat doesn’t have too much of potassium. One cup or 80 grams has just 6% of the daily recommended dose. What's more, a cup of coconut has 283 calories and has 27 grams of fat, much of which is saturated. Thus, it isn't exactly the ideal option for boosting your potassium levels.

This doesn’t mean that you should skip coconut meat altogether. It is still quite high in other minerals like manganese and copper. However, you shouldn’t rely on it alone to help you get the potassium that you need.

fresh coconut meat

Potassium in Coconut Water

Coconut water, on the other hand, is an excellent candidate. A single cup contains 600mg of potassium – 17% of your daily value. And, in case you don’t think that’s impressive, this is more than what a banana contains.

One medium-sized banana only has around 425g of potassium. Thus, you can consider coconut water to be a suitable alternative. Not to mention, coconut water may contain more of this mineral than most sports drinks as well.

Now, does this mean that you should start chugging coconut water? Well, not exactly. There are a few things to consider before adding it to your diet. First, coconut water does contain 252mg of sodium and it is recommended that you only consume around 2,300mg a day – which amounts to just a teaspoon of salt.

Due to this, it is important to balance out your sodium intake from other foods and drinks when incorporating coconut water into your diet. Furthermore, the beverage does contain 6.3g of sugar and 45 calories per cup. Although this may not sound like much, these numbers can quickly add up if you drink a lot of coconut water.

Due to this, don’t use coconut water as your main source of potassium. Instead, mix it up with other foods like spinach, lima beans, broccoli, kidney beans, tuna, sweet potatoes, halibut, peas, cucumbers, and zucchini.

Can You Get Too Much Potassium from Coconut Water?

Even when it comes to nutrients, too much of a good thing can be bad for you. This is certainly true in the case of coconut water. Drinking too much can cause too-high potassium levels. In turn, this can lead to heart or kidney issues.

Now, just how much is too much? Well, this is a tricky thing to decide as there are no set guidelines. Nevertheless, most healthcare practitioners would advise you to drink more than one small or medium glass of coconut water each day.

Keep in mind that it is important to adjust this rule of thumb for yourself. For instance, that amount works well if you are moderately active and will lose some minerals through exercise. This is also the estimate for someone who is of average size and weight.

However, if you are smaller, aren't as active, or it is during cooler weather, then you may want to limit yourself to just one cup. After all, it is better to be safe than sorry. Always start off with smaller amounts and increase the quantity.

Make sure to stop and lower the amount if you begin to feel sick or experience gastrointestinal issues.

coconut water in a glass jar

Is Coconut Good for Kidney Patients?

If you have chronic kidney disease or similar kidney issues, then you are aware that your kidney function is compromised. Therefore, it is important to limit your consumption of coconut water. You may want to restrict yourself to a cup or less. Even then, don’t drink it on a regular basis.

As coconut water is high in potassium, your kidneys may not be able to process this as well as it should. In turn, this can lead to a state known as hyperkalemia which can be quite dangerous, particularly for kidney patients. Therefore, moderation is key.

Choosing the Right Coconut Water

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The best way to get a good dose of calcium, while limiting any side effects associated with coconut water is to select the right drink.

If possible, always look for fresh coconut water – the kind that comes straight out of a coconut. This way, you can guarantee that there are no added sugars. Not to mention, the fresh water tastes pretty great as well.

In case you don’t have access to fresh coconut water, make it a point to compare the brands that are available to you. First, make sure that there isn't any added sugar or sodium. Then, check just how much of each nutrient there is for each of the brands.

Related Reading
A Guide to Finding the Best Coconut Water Brands

Ideally, you should be looking for coconut water that is low in sodium and sugar – unless you are looking for an alternative to a sports drink. In this instance, a higher sugar and sodium content is actually good as you need something that can replenish lost electrolytes.

You should also pay attention to the serving size. If the potassium, sodium, or sugar levels for any brand are quite high, make it a point to drink less of it. You can dilute it with water if you wish, but this will change the taste of the beverage.

As you can see, coconut water is high in potassium, but coconut doesn’t have as much. Therefore, coconut water can be a good source of potassium as long as you moderate your intake to avoid any side effects.

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An Important Disclaimer
The information on this page should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Consult a doctor if you wish to consume any kind of tea regularly for the purpose of treating any condition or illness.
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