Toasted Coconut: Potential Health Benefits and Nutrition Facts
Coco Nucifera, better known as coconut, is the fruit of the palm tree species. They are commonly harvested for their white tasty meat, juices, and oils. Coconuts are a great source of fiber and minerals, however, they are also rich in saturated fat. In western countries, coconut is recognized as an exotic fruit and is mostly eaten by health enthusiasts. However, in other parts of the world , coconuts make up a considerable portion of people’s diets.
Toasted coconut is shredded coconut meat that is toasted to an ideal crisp. Coconut in this form is a lot like toasted nuts in the sense that it boosts depth of flavor and draws out a pleasant texture to any food you combine it with.
What Is a Coconut?
Coconuts are categorized as a fibrous drupe. A drupe is a variety of fruit in which the outer part encompasses a shell with a seed inside. Some examples of drupes include:
The coconut you purchase at your local store is not the same coconut you find naturally on a coconut palm tree. An unblemished, raw coconut contains three layers: the exocarp; the mesocarp; and the endocarpThe smooth greenish external layer is called the ‘exocarp,’ whereas the fibrous husk layer is called the ‘mesocarp.’Lastly,the innermost thick and hard layer that surrounds the seed is called the ‘endocarp.’ Most of the time, coconuts found in stores don’t have the exocarp and the mesocarp.
Coconuts are abundant in medium-chain triglycerides, which aren’t stored in your body and are rather converted into energy.. The medium-chain fatty acids commonly found in coconuts are caprylic acid, lauric acid, and capric acid.
There are many ways to consume coconuts, some of which include:
- Coconut milk
- Coconut water
- Coconut sugar
- Coconut shreds
- Coconut oil
- Coconut powder/flour
Is Coconut Good for You?
Unlike many other fruits, coconuts are incredibly high in fat. In addition, they also contain high amounts of protein as well as many essential vitamins and minerals. Coconuts are particularly rich in manganese, which is crucial for bone health. They’re also high in iron and copper, which helps to promote the formation of red blood cells, and selenium(an essential antioxidant that preserves your cells).
As aforementioned, coconut is rich in fat as well as calories but is balanced in protein and carbs. The nutrition facts for one cup of shredded coconut are:
- Sugar: 5 grams
- Fiber: 7 grams
- Calories: 283
- Protein: 3 grams
- Carbs: 10 grams
- Fat: 27 grams
- Iron: 11% DV
- Zinc: 10% DV
- Potassium: 6% DV
- Manganese: 60% DV
- Phosphorus: 13% DV
- Selenium: 15% DV
- Copper: 44% DV
Health Benefits of Coconut
Like many other fruits, coconuts have several health benefits. Coconuts may promote weight loss, heart health, and may also help to regulate blood sugar levels. Here are four health benefits of coconuts:
Promotes Weight Loss
The fatty acids in coconuts contain potent antioxidants that supports the immune system and reduces inflammation in the body. Furthermore, these antioxidants can help reduce age-related illnesses by eradicating free radicals that are responsible for damaging cells.
In addition, the medium-chain triglycerides contained in coconuts may help to increase the rate of metabolism by at least 5% and therefore burn fat more effectively and promote overall weight loss.
May Reduce Risk of Heart Disease
There are several claims suggesting that coconuts can prevent heart disease. A 2016 study suggests that coconut consumption can indirectly lower chances of heart disease by reducing high cholesterol levels and fat content.
Contains Potent Antioxidants
Coconuts contain phenolic compounds, which are antioxidants that may help preserve cells from oxidative stress. These phenolic compounds include:
- Caffeic acid
- P-coumaric acid
- Salicylic acid
- Gallic acid
Lab tests have confirmed that coconuts indeed have an antioxidant and free-radical relationship. Furthermore, the compounds found in the fruit can inhibit the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, making it less prone to develop plaques in arteries that can escalate the risk of heart disease.
Promotes Digestive Health
Coconuts are rich in fiber, which promotes bowel steadiness and therefore helps to keep your digestive system healthy and operational. Since coconuts are also high in fat, they can improve your body’s absorption of fat-soluble nutrients, such as vitamins A, K, D, and E.
Furthermore, the medium-chain triglycerides in coconuts have been confirmed to fortify gut bacteria, which may help protect against inflammation and illnesses such as metabolic syndrome. Last but not least, coconut may decrease the germination of harmful yeasts, which can induce severe infections.
There are no apparent side effects linked to coconuts. While consuming coconut in moderation is likely harmless, some people may be allergic to them. Besides allergic reactions, there’s some concern that coconut might actually increase cholesterol levels rather than lower it.
Some studies suggest that individuals who consume large amounts of coconut have higher cholesterol levels than those who consume less coconut or eat none at all. On the contrary, some research suggests that consuming foods with coconut flour can lessen cholesterol.
The reason behind these mixed findings might link to the type and amount of coconut consumed. Coconut oil contains a high amount of saturated fat, so consuming high amounts of coconut oil may increase your cholesterol levels. However, eating coconut in adequate quantities has not been proven to be a concern.
If you are looking to add a splash of flavor and zest to your diet, toasted coconuts are a perfect choice. This tropical fruit is delightfully packed with essential nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants. In effect, coconut provide various potential health benefits, including improved digestion, decreased risk of heart disease, and lower blood sugar levels.
Due to it’s rich nutritional profile, we use toasted coconuts in our Roots of Health powders so that you can enjoy the many health benefits this fruit has to offer.