The idea of sipping coconut water from the actual shell with a straw while walking on a beach is a wonderful summer dream. Coconut water has also become popular as a healthy beverage. The coconut itself, though, offers more health benefits than from just its water.
Until the coconut started being used as a raw material of industry in the 19th century, it was a staple food of indigenous island societies.
Since then, products made from the inner meat of the coconut as well as coconut water and oil have gained popularity as both scientific evidence and anecdotal stories have touted coconut’s many health benefits.1
Coconut meat is rich in iron and good source of potassium and coconut oil, while high in saturated fat, has been shown to enhance your immune system, improve digestion and improve your overall cholesterol ratio.2 Coconut flour, a soft flour from dried, ground coconut meat and a natural by-product of coconut milk production, is gluten-free and offers a protein rich alternative to traditional grain-based flours.3
Perhaps the most common use of coconut meat is as an ingredient in cakes and other sweet foods, including some stir-fry vegetables as well as fish and other meat dishes.1 Dried, shredded coconut meat, also called desiccated coconut, can be used as a topping for cakes and cookies, breading for fish or poultry and an ingredient to granolas, snack bars and candies. As an energy-concentrated food containing fiber and protein, it can fill you up while offering a sweet fix.1
Coconut and Warfarin
If you are someone who enjoys treats such as coconut macaroons or coconut cream pie, you’re in luck: coconut is reported to be low in vitamin K in all its common forms.4 Raw coconut meat, straight from an opened coconut, ranges from 0.1 micrograms (one piece around 45 grams) to about 0.2 micrograms (one cup shredded). When coconut is dried, shredded and toasted, it contains no vitamin K at all. If the dried coconut has been sweetened, flaked and packaged, one ounce contains Vitamin K levels at less than 0.1 micrograms. Even a serving of two coconut macaroons (about 36 grams) contains only around 0.4 micrograms of vitamin K.4
Enjoy your favorite coconut treats and recipes and remember that when it comes to diet, consistency in intake is the best way to make sure your health remains stable.
- 1. Foale, Mike. The Coconut Odyssey – The Bounteous Possibilities of the Tree of Life. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. Canberra, 2003.
- 2. Chang, Diane. 10 Ways to Cook and Bake with Coconut. Bon Appetit. Published May 13, 2010. Retrieved from website: http://www.bonappetit.com/uncategorized/article/10-ways-to-cook-and-bake-with-coconut.
- 3. McGruther, J. How to Bake with Coconut Flour: Tips and Tricks for Using this Gluten-Free Flour. Nourished Kitchen. Published December 15, 2011. Retrieved from website: http://nourishedkitchen.com/baking-with-coconut-flour/.
- 4. USDA. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 27. USDA Agricultural Research Service. Retrieved July 21, 2015 from website: http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search.