Coconut: Is it a fruit, a nut or a seed? As a child growing up in Australia, fresh coconut (from Queensland) was a sweet treat instead of sugar candy and I have happy memories of breaking the outside shell on the concrete driveway of our home, trying not to lose any of the coconut milk. Recently we purchased a fresh coconut and the ever sweet "meat" helped me take a walk down memory lane. Here's some fun facts about coconut and how it stacks up in the nutrition department:
"Botanically speaking, a coconut is a fibrous one-seeded drupe, also known as a dry drupe. However, when using loose definitions, the coconut can be all three:
a fruit, a nut, and a seed."
Coconut "The Tree of Life" Nutrition:
Per 1 cup of raw coconut:
- Nutrition: Calories 283: Carbohydrates 12 grams: Fibre 7 grams: Sugar 5 grams: Protein 3 grams
- Vitamins: Folate, Vitamin C, Thiamin, Vitamin E, Niacin, Riboflavin, Pantothenic Acid
- Minerals: coconut contains the following:
- Manganese - a whopping 60% of DV, benefits of manganese
- Benefits of Copper 17% of DV
- Selenium benefits, 12% of DV and,
- Iron nutrition benefits, 11% of DV as well as magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium zinc
- That's a lot of nutrition in 1 cup of coconut!
"Every bit of the coconut is used.
As a result, coconuts are called the “Tree of Life”
and can produce drink, fiber, food, fuel, utensils, musical instruments,
and much more. "
Coconut: History, Facts & Fiction:
- The origin of the coconut is still a mystery and there are questions about where it came from and how long ago
- Many species of coconuts are grown all over the world in tropical countries
- The main countries growing coconuts are Philipines, Indonesia, India and Brazil
- India (3rd top ranking) alone produces almost 11 million tons of coconut per annum
- Main coconut products are coconut oil, flour, milk or water
- "The global production volume of coconut oil amounted to 3.42 million metric tons in 2017
- Statistics: Coconut production worldwide 2000 - 2016
"When intra-venous (IV) solution was in short supply, doctors during
World War II and Vietnam
used coconut water in substitution of IV solutions."
A few ideas on how to use coconut in your diet: apart from smoothies, hot and cold drinks and roasted homemade granola type snacks with nuts, etc:
The Coconut & Your Health
Coconut meat and milk have been a diet staple for millions of healthy people in many countries over the centuries. As stated in the introduction, coconut meat was my candy as a child and we still enjoy fresh coconut from time to time. We use coconut milk daily in our coffee and in recent years switched to using coconut flour in baking. Coconut oil has a delightful fragrance and taste when used in cooking and for us, is a positive addition to our diet. Currently, in my opinion, more up to date independent scientific research is required on health benefits of this amazing nut.
As a two-time primary cancer survivor, I am extremely cautious about my own, and my family's diet and lifestyle and you should be as well. Have fun trying new recipes ...
Be the best you can be,
whatever your age and in spite of your challenges
Links & References:
- Study: Coconut Oil May Reduce Risk of Heart Disease 2018
- Coconut Oil an answer for Alzheimer's? 2018
- Saturated Fat Does Not Clog the Arteries - Dr. Aseem Malhotra, Cardiologist, BM Journal, 2017
- The Truth on What Really Causes Heart Disease by Dr. Aseem Malhotra, Cardiologist (podcast)
- Processed Food an Experiment that Failed - Robert H. Lustig MD, 2017
- Is Coconut Oil Bad for Your Cholesterol (2016), Dr. Mark Hyman (plus 7 minute video)
- Reversing T2 Diabetes with Dr. Sarah Hallberg a TED talk from 2015
- Review: Coconut Oil, Research Gate, 2014
- Cancer & coconut oil. The effects of virgin coconut oil (VCO) as supplementation on quality of life (QOL) among breast cancer patients, 2014
- See for more fun facts on coconuts. All quotes from ~ Everyday Mysteries
- Coconut Nutrition Data
- CAP recipe: Creamy Cauliflower & Coconut Soup
- CAP recipe: Coconut Flour Pancakes
- CAP recipe: Mum's Christmas Truffles - a no bake treat
Coconut flakes are a super snack just as they are. Nutrition for ¼ cup of "unsweetened organic coconut chips with absolutely nothing added ..." Trader Joes:
Calories 200: Total fat 18 gram: Carbohydrate 8 gram: Fiber 2 gram: Sugar 2 gram: protein 2 gram