Coconut Nutrition Facts
There is no doubt that coconut is a great source of oil, milk and juice that is used widely in Asian and tropical cuisines and it is rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. But it is also very high in saturated fats, so how would it affect your cholesterol and heart?
• Coconut received the name from the Portuguese sailors of Vasco da Gama in India, who first brought them to Europe.
• The biggest coconut producers in the world are Philippines, Indonesia and India.
• It is claimed that 150 people are killed per year by falling coconuts.
• Coconut oil was the world’s leading vegetable oil up until 1960s.
• Every part of the coconut palms has some human uses and they have a high yield of 75 fruits per year.
• Coconut water or juice is naturally found in coconuts and should not be confused with coconut milk, which is made by processing grated coconut with hot milk or water.
Is Coconut Good or Bad?
Coconut and its coconut oil are high in saturated fats, even higher than butter and margarine. Several studies prove that it greatly elevates theLDL- bad cholesterol. However coconut oil is also tested as a replacement for hydrogenated vegetable oils. Although they both increase the bad cholesterol levels, coconut oil seems to also have a powerfulHDL- good cholesterol boosting effect. Myristic acid found in coconuts that causes the increase in LDL and HDL accounts for about 19% of the fat in coconut.
Based on the number of carbon molecules they have, fats are classified as short-medium- or long chain and most of the molecules found in coconut oil is medium-chain. This means that these fatty acids are absorbed directly through the portal vein to the liver, and can be used by the body immediately. It is easily digestible and can be transformed into energy very quickly. Well at least, this is what some studies that favor coconut oil suggest.
Pro-coconut advocates claim that coconut oil is used as the main type of oil in many tropical countries and they don’t tend to have a higher heart disease rate than other parts of the world. What about the other foods they eat? Are they as fatty and processed as what is eaten on a daily basis in the US or UK?
The types of fatty acid in coconut- lauric, myristic and palmitic suggest that coconut oil does increase the risk of heart disease. Other conflicting study results may be because every individual responds to diet differently. Evidence still remains controversial and more research is needed to clarify the role coconut plays in heart disease.
The bottom line is it is wise to reduce the saturated fats in your diet to reduce the risk of heart disease but there is also no need to take the coconut completely out of your diet as according to some studies, fat structure in coconuts is different than other saturated fats and they arehigh in other nutrients…
Coconut Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits:
• Fatty acids in coconut may play an anti-inflammatory role in a similar way to fish oils.
• Protein found in coconut may have antioxidant properties.
• Coconut oil has been shown to contain saturated fatty acids withantiviral and antibacterial properties.
• The fresh coconut water is a safe and useful rehydration drink for sickness and diarrhoea.
• Coconut is not all about fat as it also contains a good amount of fiberand protein.
• Coconut may help you with weight loss, by increasing the metabolic rate and help the body burn fat more effectively.
Coconut, Its Role in Health, Coconut Nutrition: Literature Review by Wendy Snowdon (Lifestyle Health Section, SPC). Contributing Authors: Tom Osborn (Agricultural Adviser, SPC),Dr Bill Aarlbersberg (Professor of Chemistry, University of the South Pacific), Jimaima Schultz (Lifestyle Health Section, SPC), 2002.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Coconut Nutrition Facts .