Is Coconut a Fruit or a Nut?


Is Coconut a Fruit or a Nut?


Is coconut a fruit or a nut? Fresh young coconuts are popular on a raw food diet. They alkalize you (increase your pH) and are natural electrolytes (it re-mineralizes you – a natural Gatorade).

To me fresh young coconuts are a special treat, my kids love them, they go very well in smoothies and the white meat is great in many raw food desert recipes. Coconut milk is a great alternative to dairy – a must have for vegans or for the growing group of people that is allergic to milk.

But what is a coconut? For a food that I like so much, I realized I didn’t know much about it. And I was wondering:

Is coconut a fruit or a nut?

Coconut is a large palm, growing to 30 m tall. The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit.

Botanically the coconut fruit is a drupe, not a true nut. A drupe is a fruit in which an outer fleshy part surrounds a pit of hardened endocarp with a seed inside.

Coconuts sold in the shops of non-tropical countries often have their husk removed. Thus the coconut as you know it in non-tropical countries is the pit or seed of the coconut fruit. The white flesh and water are the insides of the seed.

Other Drupes

Other drupes are coffee, mango, olive, date, pistachio, almonds, apricot, cherry, nectarine, peach, and plum.

So, is coconut a fruit or a nut?

Almonds, peaches and mango are in the same drupe family as coconuts? I always considered almonds nuts and peaches and mangoes fruits. So for me (clearly not a botanic) it seems that coconuts are somewhat of a crossing between a fruit and a nut. And we are eating the flesh and drinking the water of a huge seed.



Esme Stevens is the president of Raw Food Europe and has the number 1 website for starters of a raw food diet:


This article appears in ISSUE 14 of Healthy Juicing Magazine.
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