Green Coconut vs Brown Coconut

Green vs brown coconut is one debate that will rage until the end. Both are the same fruit, only at different stages of development, but come with certain similarities and differences.
Esther Bumpus, Health Writer

Written by Esther Bumpus, Health Writer. Updated on December 25, 2022.

Green coconut vs brown coconut is one debate that will rage until the end. Both are the same fruit, only at different stages of development.

Green coconuts have a light husk under their green coats. Stripping off the outer layer reveals a soft body that houses even more delicate meat without a distinct taste or flavor.

However, green coconuts make up for it with nutritious water that’s delicious with many amazing benefits.

Brown coconut is more mature and more difficult to process. It has a higher fat content than green coconut, with thicker and sweeter meat.

The water content is unremarkable, but the coconut flesh has exceptional qualities with various practical uses. Read on to find the benefits and distinctions between these two coconut types.

Green Coconut at a Glance

Immature coconuts worldwide all have something in common: they are all green. It doesn’t matter the variety, whether dwarf coconut or hybrid.

Still, it’s not unlikely to find some green coconuts with an orange or yellow outer covering. Green coconuts are young hence their color. This stage witnesses the highest water content, often the reason for their harvesting.

The harvest time for this coconut is seven months. The fruit isn’t at full maturity but has attained full size. Underneath the green cover is a white fibrous layer. The innards are soft and easily scoopable with a spoon.

Another name for green coconut is ‘water coconut’ because the watery contents inside are the main reason for its harvesting.

Shake the coconut around to confirm if there’s water in it. The sloshing sound indicates it has significant water content.

Brown Coconut at a Glance

All brown coconuts were once green but changed color upon full maturity. The brown color indicates it is ready for harvest. It is also possible for the coconut to fall off the tree.

Under the exocarp is a brown hairy shell containing the meat. During the maturation process, the flesh absorbs the water and grows larger and thicker in size.

There’s still water at this point, but not in large quantities and not as tasty as its green cousin.

Brown Coconut vs Green Coconut: Distinction

In addition to the water content, color, and meat texture, below are further distinctions between brown coconuts vs green coconuts.

Thicker Kernels

The water that gets into the brown coconut also gives it a harder kernel. The meat is white, firm, and crunchy, with a dark top cover that sticks between the teeth when you chew it.

Green coconuts are tender on the inside with a soft outer shell. The meat is white but lanky and bland.

Husk Color

The coconut husk is the layer beneath the brown or green covering.

Coconuts have multiple layers – not unlike an onion and the second layer is hairy, like soft padding. Green coconuts have white husks, while brown coconuts have a brown fibrous layer.


Brown coconuts often have a tapered head compared to green coconuts, which are round in nature. Finding a round brown coconut or an oval-shaped green coconut is not unusual.

Harvest Time

Green coconuts are often harvested around the 7-month mark when it has the highest coconut water content. Brown coconuts stay on the tree until they fall off or are gathered in a year when the fruit fully matures.


Green coconuts are simple to process; the only aim is to collect the watery contents, which makes a nutritious and delicious drink.

Brown coconuts have amazing benefits. You can crush the thick kernel to extract coconut oil and milk. However, if you want to reduce the intake of saturated fats, you might want to consider coconut milk alternatives as well.

Benefits of Green Coconut

Green coconut meat and water have numerous health benefits, as seen below.

Packed with Nutrients

The meat in a green coconut may not look like much. However, it still has significant amounts of micronutrients and electrolytes – much the same as the water content. Some of the vitamins and minerals in a green coconut include:

  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Carbs
  • Copper
  • Selenium
  • Manganese
  • Iron
  • Phosphorous
  • Sodium
  • Potassium

May Reduce Dehydration

Coconut water is exceptional for oral rehydration thanks to its electrolyte composition.

It has similar electrolyte content to oral solution and can help replenish fluid loss for individuals suffering from diarrhea.

Moreover, more athletes are tilting towards green coconut water as a natural rehydration drink and prefer it to branded sports drinks.

May Help Heart Health

Coconut water may enhance metabolic syndrome – a broad range of conditions that put you at higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Metabolic syndrome characteristics include excessive belly fat, triglyceride, high blood pressure, significant bad cholesterol levels, and low amounts of good cholesterol.

A study in rats indicated that green coconut water helped reduce metabolic syndrome by improving blood pressure, insulin, and blood sugar levels.

May Protect Against Oxidative Damage

Coconut water and flesh contain high amounts of phenolic compounds – antioxidants that help with inflammation while preventing cell oxidative damage.

Other critical micronutrients and vitamins like manganese, copper, zinc, and selenium bolster the body’s antioxidant defense.

May Fight Kidney Stones

Many men and women suffer kidney stones at least once in a lifetime.

According to a 2018 study, consuming coconut water can increase potassium removal, including citrate and chloride, thus preventing certain types of kidney stones.

May Promote Healthy Skin

Green coconut water may also improve certain skin conditions like acne because of its inherent antimicrobial agents.

Drinking coconut water may also help reduce free radical effects in the body.

Benefits of Brown Coconut

Brown coconut also has immense benefits for the body. However, it isn’t a superfood, and neither does it offer anything different from other vegetable fat sources.

It has a significant saturated fat content that connects to cardiovascular disease risk.

Still, brown coconut is healthy when you eat it in reasonable amounts and offers the following benefits:

Full of Nutrients and Vitamins

Like its green counterpart, brown coconut contains critical vitamins and micronutrients necessary for body function. Some of these minerals include:

  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Carbohydrates
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin C
  • Iron

It May Help With Weight Loss

Brown coconut contains a unique fat known as a medium-chain triglyceride. This property promotes energy through thermogenesis and may help:

  • reduce fat buildup, including bodyweight
  • individuals eat less by feeling full for extended periods
  • improve insulin sensitivity which may stimulate weight loss
  • improve exercise endurance

Insulin is a vital hormone that normalizes blood sugar and breaks down glucose. A 2020 research indicated that rats might have a higher chance of losing visceral fat and weight-consuming brown coconut milk than other milk types.

A protein-rich diet combined with brown coconut milk may regulate and control cholesterol levels, weight gain, food intake, and abdominal fat.

May Promote a Healthy Cardiovascular System

Little evidence may indicate that lauric acid found in brown coconut milk may reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Still, there is not overwhelming evidence to verify this claim because brown coconut oil has saturated fat which also increases cholesterol in the body.

The American Heart Association discourages brown coconut oil use because of direct links to LDL increase.

May Aid Digestion

Brown coconut has significant fiber amounts that are insoluble. The significance is that it does not add additional calories to your system. Instead, it helps to move food through the digestive tract, thus enhancing bowel health.

Green Coconut Use

Green coconut has significant water content and little meat, making it a poor choice for coconut milk production.

However, the water needs no introduction. Green coconut water is best for your health when you drink it straight from the nut.

Follow these steps to drink natural green coconut water:

  1. Shave the green exocarp to reveal the white fibrous layer
  2. Use a large knife or machete to hit the four sides of the top layer
  3. Take off the top, and the coconut water is ready to drink

Brown Coconut Use

Brown coconut has many practical uses for food. It is also useful for cosmetic purposes like making soaps, body creams, and conditioners.

Brown coconut is excellent for food and is an important ingredient in many Thai, Indian, Malaysian, and not forgetting vegan cuisine.

  • Cereal: Coconut milk is an excellent replacement for dairy milk when taking oatmeal
  • Smoothies: Coconut milk is also suitable for many vegan smoothies
  • Soups and Sources: Brown coconut milk is a fantastic ingredient in vegan soups
  • Ice cream: Brown coconut shavings are an excellent addition to ice creams

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have some questions about green coconuts vs brown coconuts, here are the answers to some FAQs.

Can I drink coconut water from brown coconut?

Brown coconut water is safe to drink but is not as fulfilling or delicious as green coconut water.

What happens if I drink coconut water each day?

Drinking coconut water each day is safe for most people. However, it might cause a stomachache in some individuals and high potassium levels in others.

Does coconut water increase blood sugar?

Green coconut water has minimal natural sugar and an even lesser glycemic index. Consequently, it will not spike your blood sugar level to cause diabetes.

Green Coconut vs Brown Coconut – Conclusion

It is still undecided whether coconut is a nut, fruit, or seed. However, this drupe sure has its uses in brown and in green.

Green coconut water is highly nutritious and an exceptional post-workout drink. Besides, brown coconut meat is high in fiber which helps digestion.

Whether as a dietary supplement or replacing bodily fluids, both coconuts benefit the body, especially when consumed in the most reasonable amounts.

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