Coconut seems to be all the rave right now. Stores are stocked with coconut flakes, coconut milk, coconut water, coconut oil, coconut flour and an array of coconut beauty products. It’s everywhere! Many people are asking the same question: Why is this tropical fruit getting so much attention in both cosmetics and nutrition? It all comes down to coconut’s impressive versatility.
Let’s start with the composition of a coconut which is actually not a “nut,” but a drupe. This type of fruit is characterized by an interior liquid endosperm encased by a solid endosperm. When a young, green coconut is cracked open, you’ll find a clear pool of coconut water that can be whipped up into a salad dressing or a tasty smoothie. The water of a coconut is rich in potassium and is naturally sweetened with simple sugars that are easily digested. It’s a favorite among athletes because the drink is not only hydrating but also packed with electrolytes.
Coconut milk, on the other hand, is a mixture of coconut cream and coconut water. It’s taken from the mature coconut fruit. This coconut variation is significantly higher in fatty acids, specifically saturated fat. But wait, don’t let this scare you off. Consuming a moderate amount of fat is part of a well-balanced diet and for those who typically consume 2,000 calories per day, 44 to 78 grams should come from fat. So, just like all food or drink, moderation is key.
When it comes to oil de la coconut, unrefined coconut oil has the highest antioxidant levels. Many refined coconut oils are bleached and heated, and fractionated oil (or MCT oil) doesn’t possess as many nutritional benefits as unrefined coconut oil, which proves to be the gold standard.
So go ahead… throw some unrefined organic coconut oil into a pan to fry an egg or mix a moderate amount of coconut milk into your chicken curry. Have fun with coconut but don’t get too nutty because like I said earlier, moderation is key!
Today's blog post comes from Nutrition Intern Solee Meidus.