From their oil to the refreshing water inside, coconuts have rightfully earned their reputation as a nutritional treasure. They offer several nutritional and medicinal properties that have been cherished for centuries around the world.
What is a coconut?
Coconuts, scientifically known as Cocos Nucifera, is actually a drupe, a fruit with a hard outer layer, which is famous for adding a tropical flavor to dishes like rice bowls and smoothies.
The outermost layer of the coconut, which is hard and green, is the exocarp. The next layer is the mesocarp, which is brown, hairy and husky. Once you open up the seed, you get to the coconut meat, known as kernel and coconut water.
Coconuts can be found in mostly warm and tropical climates worldwide, including India, Southeast Asia and parts of Africa and is a versatile fruit used in several industries to make products like coconut oil, milk and coconut cream.
Nutritional value of a coconut
Here is a detailed list of the nutritional value of 100 grams of raw and dried coconut:
|Raw coconut||Dried coconut|
|Protein||3 grams||7 grams|
|Fat||9 grams||26 grams|
|Carbohydrate||15 grams||24 grams|
|Manganese||65% of the daily value||119% of the daily value|
|Copper||48% of the daily value||88% of the daily value|
|Iron||14% of daily value||18% of the daily value|
While a coconut may have a lot of fat, it also has medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), a type of fat found primarily in coconut oil. MCTs are very easily transported and absorbed by your stomach and the intestines. MCTs can be consumed if you want an instant source of energy, or they can be converted into ketones (a secondary source of energy when you eat less carbs). In addition, ketones can reduce inflammation and increase your focus and energy levels. Coconut water calories for 245 grams is just 44 Kcal, which is why you should drink coconut water at least 4 times a week.
The amazing health benefits of coconut
Coconut health benefits are plenty. Incorporate this fruit into your diet to reap the following advantages –
Promotes heart health
The presence of lauric acid, an antioxidant in coconut milk, can help maintain healthy (HDL) cholesterol levels, which can further prevent strokes and heart complications. However, coconut oil can also increase your LDL cholesterol levels leading to an increased risk of heart conditions. So, while you can consume coconut oil in small amounts, use more olive oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil, which contains healthy fats.
Supports weight management
Just add 2-3 tablespoons of coconut milk to yogurt or oatmeal to reap the benefits of coconut as a calorie booster for those looking to gain weight. But, the MCTs in the fruit can also satiate your appetite and promote fat burning, thus helping you manage your weight So, add coconut to your diet accordingly.
Regulates blood sugar
Coconuts are rich in fiber and fat and low in carb content, which can be useful to control your blood sugar levels. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties may benefit your blood Sugar levels.
Improves your oral health
The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut meat feature antimicrobial properties that may help prevent oral complications like root canals and streps (red sore throat). While eating coconut does not replace dental hygiene, it can fight harmful bacteria in your mouth and protect it against oral infections and cavities.
While coconut health benefits are many, it is always advisable to consume it in moderation.