Coconut is not only good for you; it’s also extremely versatile, having many uses! Most people know coconuts in their mature brown hairy state but they are just as good for you in their young baby form as well. Mature coconuts have less water and firmer “meat” with a higher fat content (but this isn’t a bad thing!), whereas young coconuts have more water with a sweeter taste and a softer jelly like meat.
What about the high saturated fat content?
As I said in my last blog on eggs, we do need some saturated fat in our diet. The best thing about saturated fat from coconut is that it’s GOOD fat. Saturated fats come in different chain lengths, in coconuts they are MEDIUM chains – this means they are easily digested by the body and are readily available as energy. Dietary fats are not the problem, it’s unused carbohydrates and sugars that get converted into fats by the liver INSIDE the body that are the issue. Coconut fat actually gets converted into unsaturated fats within the body and are essential for many bodily functions! Check out this article for more info about how good saturated fat is for us.
Aside from the coconut water, which is high in potassium and other important electrolytes, coconuts also provide us with fleshy meat, milk (man made using the meat), flour and oil.
Now I’m sure you’re asking yourself… “all this from one food? THAT’S AMAZING!”
Yes it is, and that’s why we should have more coconut in our everyday eating.
How can I use coconut in my diet?
Coconut water is a great post workout drink that will rehydrate you much better than any of those sugary sports drinks but you’re better drinking it straight from a baby coconut rather than a company that has put it in a bottle with a label… much more refreshing and exotic!
Coconut milk is an awesome alternative to dairy in a smoothie and can be used in curries, soup or even to make your own ice cream. Check out Kat’s ice cream recipe.
Coconut meat is perfect as a snack or with breakfast. Just crack open (have a look at how to open a coconut here) a mature coconut and keep the meat in a container in the fridge for the week. The pieces of meat can be used the same way you would use nuts. 50g of coconut meat will provide about 19g of fat, so just have a few small pieces at a time - no need to go overboard, just because something is good for us doesn’t mean we need to eat ONLY this food.
Coconut flour is made by shredding coconut meat and can be used to replace other flours in baking and the thickening of sauces. Also known as desiccated coconut and can be used to coat chicken breast as a yummy meal with some veggies.
Coconut oil can be used for cooking in place of olive oil. It is much more stable and so doesn’t produce nasty free radicals when heated. Make sure to get the unrefined virgin oil and keep it at room temperature. It looks pretty solid but will soften when heated.
How do I pick a good coconut?
Only buy coconuts stored in an air conditioned area, and give them a good shake. A good coconut will be heavy and have more liquid in it. With mature coconuts have a look at the 3 “eyes” on it’s bum and make sure you can clearly see a seam running along the middle of the coconut – only buy a coconut that has no discolouration.
So, in a coconutshell: COCONUT IS GOOD FOR US! Enjoy it in all it’s glorious different forms and have fun cracking them open! Just remember my favourite saying… EVERYTHING IN MODERATION.