Why Does Coconut Water Turn Pink?

Pink coconut water

If you’re a big coconut water drinker, you may have noticed something funny going on with your coconut water… sometimes, it’s pink! I first came across this phenomenon after laying my hands on raw coconut water and have been wondering about it ever since. Today, I decided to do the research and find out what causes it, and if it’s still safe to drink…

What Causes Pink Coconut Water?

I first discovered pink coconut water after stashing a bottle of regular Rebel Kitchen coconut water* in my fridge for a few days, and came back to find that it had too reached a lovely pale pink colour. So, what causes this?

Coconut water turns pink due to a combination of the production process and natural maturity of the coconut water. Production has to be minimal for the living enzymes to remain in the water, so it’s likely that if your coconut water turns pink, it’s because it has been raw cold-pressed, or processed in a similar, very limited manner. No refining, no pasteurising, no treating. The coconut water must also come in a transparent bottle rather than a can or Tetra Pak for it to turn pink.

Is Pink Coconut Water Still Drinkable?

The second factor is the coconut’s maturity process. The more the coconut water turns pink, the more it has oxidised. This is true even for coconut water coming from the fruit itself, but if you find a coconut with pink flesh, it has gone past its best. So, is pink coconut water still drinkable? Yes!

So, Is Pink Coconut Water Better (Or Worse) Than Clear?

Looking purely at nutritional value, it appears that pink coconut water may be slightly higher in sugar content, but it also has a higher potassium content, which is usually the reason why coconut water is being consumed in the first place. Think of it like bananas – the more mature they get, the sweeter and blacker they are.

My best advice would be to drink pink coconut water as soon as you get it, so as to benefit from the higher potassium content but also to prevent it from oxidising further. It’s not to say that clear coconut water does not oxidise over time, but its pasteurisation process (or packaging) prevents it from being as pure and raw as possible, thus slowing the oxidisation process but also lowering the potassium value too.

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  1. Jimmy V.
    April 11, 2022 / 2:48 am

    So I’ve heard many reasons why coconut water is purple and most of them come from the marketing departments of coconut water companies.

    The most common that the purple ones are higher in antioxidants. This apparently only affects Thai coconuts.

    Well, having lived in Thailand for almost half my adult life (10 years) I can tell you that I have never once seen a fresh coconut with purple water I side.

    If you take the coconut water out of the coconut and leave it in a bottle or glass in the sun for 2 days, it will start to go purple. I recently did this experiment with a Thai coconut.

    So essentially, purple coconut water is simply coconut water that has been exposed to the sun for a long period of time allowing the polyphenol enzymes have become oxidized.

    Marketing departments around the world have convinced people this is a good thing, more antioxidants.

    But in truth, the truth is that coconuts is a very hard thing to preserve. I should know, I was part of a company they tried freezing them with luquid nitrogen to preserve them for the long trip to America.

    But sadly if you want coconut products in the US that haven’t been pasturized, preserved or otherwise tampered with, they will begin to spoil and oxidization of the polyphenols is just one of the side effects from transporting coconut water outside of their shells.

    Its not bad for you (that we know of) but it’s definitely any better for you (that we know of), it’s just marketing spin on what 7 day old coconut water is better for you than drinking it direct from the nut, here in sunny Thailand.

    • besma
      April 11, 2022 / 3:00 pm

      Hi Jimmy, thanks so much for this insight! I believe I noted that the colour came from oxidisation, although how that changes the nutrition of coconut water I’m not sure. Would definitely prefer fresh coconuts in Thailand though!

      B x

  2. Sonja
    April 24, 2021 / 1:09 pm

    What if the flesh is a dark pink?

    • besma
      April 28, 2021 / 4:21 pm

      Hi Sonja, sorry but I have no idea – I just wrote about pink coconut water here!

      B x

  3. May 22, 2019 / 8:28 pm

    I just grabbed a harmless harvest coconut water and it was pink. I was curios and wanted to know the reason – you nailed it!

    • May 23, 2019 / 2:02 pm

      I’m glad my little guide could help, Murrah! Enjoy your coconut water x

      • Subas Pradhan
        July 25, 2019 / 7:57 pm

        Very helpful!

        • July 26, 2019 / 4:30 pm

          Thanks Subas, glad you liked the post!

  4. ramakrishnan
    August 16, 2018 / 6:16 am

    Coconut water is very beneficial for skin and hair. Apart from this there are many health benefits of it. Thanks for sharing this information.

    • May 23, 2019 / 2:02 pm

      My pleasure Ramakrishnan! x

  5. Mari Makin
    May 18, 2018 / 1:22 am

    This site is absolutely fabulous!

  6. Hans Stage
    May 17, 2018 / 2:25 am

    Your site is so fantastic. I’m going to come back here again.

    • May 17, 2018 / 2:03 pm

      Thanks Hans, I hope you found the post useful! x

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