The coconut is the fruit of the coconut palm, which is mostly grown in tropical regions. The tree itself can grow up to 100 feet, and each one can bear fruits in clusters of 10 to 20 coconuts. There can also be several clusters of fruits in a single tree.
Coconuts have an oval or a spherical shape, and are about 30 cm in length. The weight of a single fruit can vary depending on the size, but is usually more than 1 kg or 2.2 lbs. This isn’t all meat though, as most of the weight can be attributed to the husk, inner shell and a good amount of coconut water.
Coconut Nutritional Value
|Coconut Water, fresh
|Coconut Meat, raw
|Coconut Milk, raw
|Energy||19 kcal||354 kcal||230 kcal|
|Carbohydrates||3.71 g||24.23 g||5.54 g|
|Sugars||2.61 g||6.23 g||3.34 g|
|Dietary Fibre||1.1 g||9 g||2.2 g|
|Fat||0.2 g||33.49 g||23.84 mg|
|Protein||0.72 g||3.33 g||2.29 g|
|B1||0.03 mg||0.066 mg||0.026 mg|
|B2||0.057 mg||0.02 mg||0 mg|
|B3||0.08 mg||0.54 mg||0.76 mg|
|B6||0.032 mg||0.05 mg||0.033 mg|
|Vitamin C||2.4 mg||3.3 mg||2.8 mg|
|Calcium||24 mg||14 mg||16 mg|
|Iron||0.29 mg||2.43 mg||1.64 mg|
|Magnesium||25 mg||32 mg||37 mg|
|Phosphorus||20 mg||113 mg||100 mg|
|Potassium||250 mg||356 mg||263 mg|
|Zinc||0.1 mg||1.1 mg||0.67 mg|
Data from USDA
Health Benefits of Coconut
It’s no wonder why coconut is an all-around superfood – everything inside the thick, fibrous husk is a treat! Its meat is tasty and the water is deliciously refreshing. In tropical regions, the meat is scraped off, mixed with the coconut water and enjoyed as a summer beverage. Coconuts (and its related products) are also a main ingredient in traditional dishes in many countries.
But there’s more to coconuts than just being a food source, because not only is it flavoursome, it is also packed with nutrients. Other than the fleshy meat and water, other products derived from the fruit are coconut milk and coconut oil.
- Coconuts are high in dietary fibre, which helps improve digestion, regulate blood sugar and reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Although coconuts are high in fat, these are mostly medium-chain fatty acids, which are different from long-chain fatty acids that are commonly found in other foods. The medium-chain fatty acids can even have a positive effect on the levels of good cholesterol.
- The low glycaemic index in coconuts helps keep the blood sugar balanced, which is helpful against diabetes.
- Coconut water is great for hydration during 30-minute exercises and physical activities where you are not sweating a lot. It contains electrolytes and minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium and sodium.
- Coconut oil contains plenty of antioxidants that can slow down the signs of ageing.
- Coconut oil is one of the healthiest types of oil. It contains lauric acid, a type of fatty acid which is easily broken down in the body. Lauric acid is also found in mother’s milk.
- According to The Coconut Research Center, consuming coconut is also found to be effective against viruses and disease-causing bacteria.
There are many ways to enjoy coconuts. You can eat the meat or drink the water on its own, or add them to dishes. Food Network has an extensive list of yummy coconut recipes. It is worth noting, however, that coconut is quite high in calories, so unless you are able to burn off as much calories as you take in, you should only consume coconuts in moderation.
How to Make Coconut Milk
How to Make Coconut Oil