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Is Coconut Water a Laxative? Does This Theory Hold Water?

August 20, 2021

Yes, coconut water can act as a laxative, but there are other factors at play here.

Some of my clients who drink coconut water to stay hydrated have reported a laxative effect, which made me curious. I did some research to discover is coconut a laxative and if so, why does this only happen to some people?

The following post tackles why coconut water may be considered a laxative and how to limit the negative effects of it. Let’s begin!

What Are The Side Effects of Coconut Water?

One of the main perks of coconut water is that it has a significant potassium content. Now, if you are lacking in certain electrolytes or if your diet doesn’t contain enough of potassium, this is a good thing. If you go overboard with how much coconut water you drink within a day, though, there are side effects.

Consuming too much potassium can lead to a condition known as hyperkalemia. One of the symptoms of hyperkalemia is watery stools or diarrhea. Even before you get to this stage, though, a higher than average amount of potassium can wreak havoc on your digestive system.

This is more likely to happen if you are consuming a lot of coconut water but aren’t losing it through sweat. Therefore, you do need to be a bit more careful about drinking coconut water on cold days or when you aren’t doing too much physical activity.

Now, there are some individuals that may be more prone to the laxative effects of coconut water than others.

Understand, coconut water is considered to be a high FODMAP food. This means that it contains small carbs that some individuals – especially those with gastrointestinal conditions such as IBS – can’t digest. This can lead to watery stools or having to go to the bathroom more often.

If you do have IBS, then you may find that coconut water is a trigger for you. Even drinking just a small amount could potentially cause a laxative effect.

The Addition of Other Ingredients

It should be noted that not all brands of coconut water contain just pure coconut water. There are some that will include additives in the beverage.

One of these added ingredients to watch out for is erythritol. It is a calorie-free sweetener and in high doses can have a laxative effect. Any other artificial flavorings or sweeteners may also have a similarly irritating effect on your digestive system.

Due to this, you should always be careful about the kind of coconut water that you are buying. This means checking the label to ensure that no other ingredients have been added to the beverage. There should only be coconut water.   

Split coconut with water

Figuring Out If Coconut Water Has a Laxative Effect for You

As mentioned, coconut water doesn’t necessarily have a negative impact on everyone. How can you know if it has an unfortunate effect on you?

Well, there is a bit of trial and error involved here.

To test whether it is causing a laxative effect on you, drink some coconut water first thing in the morning. It is a good idea to start with around 3 ounces. Try not to eat or drink anything else for a while as this can mess up the results of your experiment.

If you do notice that you have to go to the bathroom or that you are passing watery stools, then coconut water may be the culprit. In the event that you don’t notice any side effects, repeat the experiment the following day. This time around, increase the quantity of coconut water to about 6 to 8 ounces.

Don’t notice any difference? Then this probably means that coconut water doesn’t have a laxative effect on you. Of course, this could change if you drink coconut water every day.

How Much Coconut Water Should You Drink Every Day?

Well, there hasn’t been too much research done on how much coconut water you should be drinking in a day. However, most experts do have some suggestions.

Ideally, it is best to stick to no more than 6 to 8 ounces of coconut water a day. And, if your diet is naturally high in potassium, then you may not want to drink coconut water every day. Instead, drink it occasionally so that you don’t suffer from any side effects.

It is also important to listen to your own body’s cues. Do you notice that your gastrointestinal symptoms worsen after drinking a lot of coconut water? Then, try to limit your consumption to just 3 ounces a day. Once again, try not to drink it every day.

Woman drinking coconut water

Is Coconut Water Good for Diarrhea?

Sure, coconut water may cause loose stools in some people, but can it also be used to treat the condition?

Well, that just may be the case! There is some evidence to show that coconut water can help people with diarrhea to rehydrate. With this kind of gastrointestinal distress, you aren’t just losing water – your body is also automatically getting rid of important electrolytes.

While coconut water doesn’t have the most balanced electrolyte composition, it can definitely help you to gain some of those lost electrolytes. However, coconut water will only help in cases of mild dehydration as a result of diarrhea.

If you are suffering from severe dehydration or symptoms, then coconut water will not help. You will require a solution that has a much higher concentration of fluid and electrolytes.

Now, if coconut water does cause a laxative effect for you, it is best not to try to use it to treat your diarrhea. In this instance, you may find that coconut water does more harm than good. Therefore, keep this in mind before turning to coconut water as a remedy.

There you have it – coconut water can act as a laxative in certain instances. However, this isn’t always the case. Drinking too much coconut water or having IBS may make it more likely to experience side effects.

Did you like this post? Then go ahead and check out our Pinterest page! We have tons of other content on coconut water and all things related to coconut!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Riya Borah
Nutritionist Educator | Riya Borah is a nutritionist educator and her job involves guiding people towards a healthier lifestyle. Growing up in India, Riya was aware of just how much coconut was used on a daily basis. This encouraged her to research the properties of this versatile drupe. It opened her eyes to both the limitation and possibilities of coconut. Her aim is to now educate as many people as possible about the best ways to utilize coconut in their own lives.
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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