Coconut meat, the flesh that you find inside the coconut shell, has several health benefits and is rich in minerals.
The coconut meat inside a tender coconut will be juicy and soft, and inside a mature coconut will be solid and crunchy. It becomes tougher as the coconut becomes more mature. Coconut oil is extracted from mature coconut.
Coconut is found in tropical regions, and people who live in such regions include coconut in anything and everything they cook.
People around the world have come to realise the innumerable health benefits of eating coconut meat and coconut oil. Doctors have started advising to eat them both daily as they have many positive effects on your overall health.
Coconut and the products derived from it like coconut meat were once considered unhealthy because of its high saturated fat content. Coconut meat contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), an essential fatty acid that is absorbed into the small intestine.
The MCTs in the coconut meat are straight away converted into fuel. So the MCTs are not getting deposited as fat in fat tissues in the body. Those who are trying to reduce weight should include coconut products in their diet as they will only aid weight loss.
By eating coconut meat your body gets energy and it also helps brain development. The brain makes use of glucose as energy source.
When the brain’s ability to make use of glucose is severely impaired, it leads to neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s. You need medium-chain triglycerides to alleviate the symptoms of such neurological disorders and for that you must eat coconut meat.
Cardiologists were dead against including coconut in your diet a few years ago as they thought it will cause heart disease. Studies have proved that coconut meat can prevent heart disease and stroke as well.
Coconut meat is rich in minerals like manganese and copper. Managanese supports the function of enzymes and metabolising fat while copper is good for heart health and forming bones.
Coconut meat also contains potassium, iron, zinc, phosphorus and selenium.
Coconut meat can help the body absorb fat soluble nutrients such as Vitamins A,E, D and K.
The polyphenols and phytosterols in coconut meat will help to lower bad cholesterol in your body. LDL cholesterol or bad cholesterol are fats that stay in the blood and skin tissues.
If LDL cholesterol is high in our body it can lead to cardiovascular diseases. It has even been found that people who include coconut in their food have lower incidence of stroke and heart diseases.
It is easy to include coconut meat in your diet. You can even eat it in its raw form or you can grind it and use the milk that you get from the meat to prepare curries.
Shredded coconut meat is used to make sweets and even salads. By including it in any dish you can make it really tasty. Nothing can beat the taste of freshly made coconut chutney with raw mango and green chilly.
The downside of coconut meat is that it is high in saturated fat and calories. Saturated fat is controversial as it may be harmful consumed in high amounts.
Most people don’t consume coconut meat in large amounts, though.
Many dried and packaged coconut meat products are heavily sweetened, which adds to the calories. Look for coconut meat with no added sweetener and consume raw if possible.
One cup of raw coconut meat contains only 5 grams of sugar but it does have 283 calories, yikes!
Bottom line – coconut meat is healthy for you, but don’t eat too much at a time.
Using it in small amounts, perhaps added to a curry with herbs and spices, is the best way.