Many people have used coconut oil as a healthy source of fat, but surprisingly, many may have not tried coconut meat. What is coconut meat? Coconut meat is the flesh of the tropical coconut fruit—also called the cocos nucifera palm.
Coconut meat nutrition is packed full of vitamins and minerals. Coconut meat health benefits are seemingly endless, and people living up north should certainly consider coconut meat in your diet. Let me explain…
Coconuts grow on coconut palm trees from the family Palmaceae, which will thrive in tropical climates.
In fact, coconuts are a large part of the diet for many living in tropical regions, and it is a very versatile and indispensable food for millions living in the Pacific Islands, and South and Southeast Asia.
And yet, many living in colder regions may have never eaten raw coconut meat. Coconut meat is considered juicy and tender, tough and fibrous, or slightly thick and crunchy, depending on how long the kernel has been stored.
Nutrition Facts of Coconut Meat
Is coconut meat good for you? You bet it is. The coconut meat benefits are pretty great. First off, coconut meat is extremely nutritious and is sold in grocery stores with the shell removed. It can be eaten plain, shredded onto salads, added to smoothies, or sprinkled onto baked goods.
How about coconut meat calories? Well, one cup of coconut meat contains 282 calories, with most of it coming from 26.8 g of fat. That said, it contains the healthy saturated fats called medium-chain fatty acids.
Coconut contains the important saturated fatty acids, including lauric acid, caprylic acid, and capric acid. From these three, the monoglyceride of lauric acid called monolaurin has the most antiviral, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties.
Coconut meat is also a very good source of fiber, and contains 7.2 g per cup. Coconut meat is also an excellent of minerals, especially manganese, copper, iron, magnesium, selenium, and potassium. It also contains calcium, zinc, and phosphorus. As far as vitamins, coconut meat also contains choline, folate, vitamin B1, vitamin B3, and vitamin B5.
The following is a coconut meat nutrition chart that contains credible information for cup of shredded coconut.
* N/A—Not Applicable
8 Ways Coconut Meat Benefits Your Health
What are the benefits of eating coconut meat? There are many coconut meat benefits that should make this tropical fruit a top priority on your shopping list at the grocery store. The following are eight key coconut meat benefits you should keep in mind.
1. Helps Eliminate Parasites from the Body:
The fiber in coconut meat has therapeutic properties for treating parasite infestation. It can help expel and kill giardia, ringworms, tapeworms, and other parasites.
In a study published in the Journal of the Association of Physicians of India in 1985, researchers from India found that coconut meat was a more effective vermifuge, or parasite treatment, than most medications on the market, except for niclosamide. Coconut meat is considered non-toxic, while niclosamide side effects include constipation, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, and itchiness.
2. Regulates Bowel Activity:
The high-fiber content in raw coconut meat acts like a prebiotic. As a result, the coconut feeds the good bacteria in the intestines and also keeps you regular. A diet high in processed foods and low in non-digestible fiber leads to hard-to-pass stools.
The fiber in coconut will, therefore, help improve digestion and the absorption of key nutrients. It will also relieve digestive symptoms related to ulcerative colitis, stomach ulcers, and Crohn’s disease.
3. Can Balance Blood Sugar Levels:
Coconut meat is considered low on the glycemic index, and the insoluble fiber in the meat helps slow the rate where carbs get turned into sugars in the body. As a result, your insulin and blood sugar levels are kept in check.
4. Destroys Candida and Other Harmful Organisms:
Coconut meat will kill fungi and yeast that causes candidiasis, thrush, athlete’s foot, and other infections. The medium chain fatty acids in coconut meat have the ability to destroy candida and other pathogenic microorganisms.
5. Supports the Immune System:
The saturated fats in coconut meat help support a healthy immune system. Coconut meat also contains anti-bacterial, antiviral, anti-parasitic, and anti-fungal properties that help increase immunity.
6. Great for Bone Health:
Everyone knows calcium is for strong bones; however, saturated fat is actually necessary to help transport calcium to the bones. Some studies suggest that saturated fat is harmful for bones.
But coconut meat contains saturated fat in the form of healthy medium-chain fatty acids, which benefit the bones instead of harm them.
7. Good Weight Loss Aid:
At just 283 calories per cup, coconut meat is low in calories, yet high in fiber. The fiber in coconut meat allows people to feel fuller for longer. The fiber is also vital for digestion, which makes coconut meat a good food to have on hand for any weight loss journey.
8. Reduce Risk of Heart Disease:
High cholesterol levels in the blood is one of many risk factors associated with heart disease. The saturated fat in coconut meat is thought to reduce the bad cholesterol, or LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, and increase the good cholesterol, or the HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.