The coconut is a tropical fruit that is well-known for its nutritional benefits. Its meat, juice and oil are popular all over the world due to its delicious taste and abundance of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Coconut was used by primitive people to treat a number of ailments, and is still recognised today for its nutritious and healing properties.
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A 1 cup (80g) serving of shredded coconut contains 283 calories, of which 224 come from fat. There are 27g of fat in a serving of coconut, 24 of which are saturated fat and the rest consisting of monosaturated fat and Omega-6 fatty acids, which are extremely beneficial for the body. There is no cholesterol in coconut, and only 16 mg of sodium. A serving of coconut consists of 12g of carbohydrates and 3g of protein. It also contains 7g of fibre and 5g of sugar.
Vitamin and Mineral Content
Coconut is an excellent source of manganese, and contains 60 per cent of the recommended daily intake of that mineral. It is also contains 11 per cent of the recommended intake for iron, 9 per cent of phosphorus and 8 per cent of potassium. There are trace amounts of other nutrients in coconut, including zinc, calcium and magnesium.
Coconut is rich in protein. Because of its high calorie and fat content, coconut is a healthy food to consume for those who are trying to gain weight due to emaciation and for bodybuilders who need high-protein foods to help build muscle. Coconut provides quick and lasting boosts of energy. It also benefits the outward appearance of the body in a number of ways, including softening skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, controlling dandruff, and keeping the scalp and hair healthy.
Coconut meat contains lauric acid, which helps fight bacteria from intestinal parasites and wards off countless infections ranging from HIV to the common cold. Coconut water helps the kidney and bladder maintain proper functioning. Eating coconut helps fight gas, constipation, ulcers, and other digestive and stomach ailments. Coconut also supports thyroid function and can help prevent goitre (an enlarged thyroid) because it naturally contains iodine. Coconut has even been shown to protect the body from cancer and osteoporosis, dissolve kidney stones, reduce epileptic seizures, and reduce symptoms associated with pancreatic disorders.
Coconut contains a high amount of saturated fat, which tends to be less healthy than other types of fat. However, over 50 per cent of the fatty acids in coconut come from lauric acid, which is antiviral and antibacterial and is extremely beneficial in fighting off infection. For that reason, coconut is generally considered healthy in its natural form, but has serious drawbacks when it is processed in unnatural ways. For example, hydrogenated coconut oil is altered in a way that removes the lauric acid and has been proven to clog arteries and decrease heart health.
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