All About Coconut

 

Coconut is all the rage these days. From coconut water, coconut oil and coconut flour, this tropical fruit has become the latest buzz-worthy addition in recipes. Claims of coconuts being nutrient-rich, paleo-friendly and just all around “good for you” has been floating around the internet. The dietitians at Nourished are constantly asked about including coconut in the diet, so we wanted to provide you a breakdown.

 

Health Claims The Nutrient Facts The Verdict
Coconut Oil Cancer prevention, protection from contracting HIV, weight loss, lower cholesterol, improve absorption of nutrients, prevention of multiple diseases and “all-natural” energy booster. [1,2] Serving: 1 Tbsp

calories 117
Total Fat

Saturated Fat

14 gm

12 gm

Protein 0 gm
Carbohydrates 0 gm
Fiber 0 gm
There is no supporting research for any of these “proven” health claims.

Be good to your heart and use olive oil or vegetable oil instead.

Coconut Flour High-protein, gluten-free, low in carbohydrates, aids in metabolism, high fiber [3] Serving: 2 Tbsp

Calories 60
Fat 2 gm
Protein 2 gm
Carbohydrates 8 gm
Fiber 5 gm
Could be a flour substitute for our Celiac friends. Otherwise, stick to whole wheat or oat flour.
Coconut Water “Naturally refreshing”, “hydrating”, low in carbohydrates, low sodium and high in potassium, “the ideal sports drink”, can give you a clearer complexion, and aid in digestion [4,5] Serving: 8 ounces

Calories 133
Total Fat 1 gm
Protein 2 gm
Carbohydrates 30 gm
Fiber 4 gm
Regular H2O will hydrate you just as well without the added calories.
Coconut Milk Made from the grated flesh of the coconut mixed with the water of the coconut, has similar claimed benefits of coconut oil due to the high presence in the milk.

Aid in building muscle, weight loss, improves digestion [6]

Serving: 8 oz

Calories 552
Total fat

Saturated Fat

57 gm

51 gm

Protein 5 gm
Carbohydrates 13 gm
Fiber 5 gm
Stick to almond or soy milk as an alternative to dairy milk. Use sparingly in recipes as needed.

 

In summary, these “claimed” benefits do not outweigh the researched fact that high saturated fat intake increases your risk of heart disease. There is no proven research to support these claimed benefits, but rather are used as marketing claims.

Sources:

  1. http://www.doctoroz.com/gallery/99-amazing-uses-coconut-oil
  2. https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/oils/health-benefits-of-coconut-oil.html
  3. http://draxe.com/coconut-flour-nutrition/
  4. http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/truth-about-coconut-water
  5. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/8-benefits-coconut-water-you-didnt-know-about.html
  6. http://draxe.com/coconut-milk-nutrition/