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Hill Country Health Blog

Are you crazy for coconuts?

Nov 15

Written by:
11/15/2016 3:42 PM  RssIcon

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From coconut oil to coconut water, this tropical fruit has been touted as a “miracle” food by many in the health

Fans should be aware, though, that coconut is high in saturated fat, which is detrimental for your heart and overall health. Some research suggests that the type of saturated fat in coconut, called lauric acid, can raise good cholesterol (HDL). The problem is that, along with raising the good cholesterol, lauric acid will raise bad cholesterol (LDL) as well.

Since the coconut oil’s saturated fat is made up of medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, the oils are processed
differently by the body and may actually raise your metabolism slightly because your body uses them for energy rather than storing them as fat. This is why many claim coconut oil can help with weight loss, but don’t expect to just add coconut oil to your diet and lose weight. It is high in calories (1Tbsp. has 120 calories), so it you add it into your diet, you should cut back elsewhere.

Coconut Water

One cup of coconut water provides around 10 percent of your daily potassium needs but is better used for a light workout and not if you are sweating heavily.

Our bodies need more sodium than potassium when breaking a sweat, and coconut water only has 30mg of sodium vs. the typical sports drink which has 110mg of sodium.

Coconut Flour

Coconut flour can be a good substitute for flours made with grains because it’s rich in fiber. When baking with coconut flour, keep in mind that you cannot substitute it at a 1:1 ratio for other grain-based flours. You need about ¼ cup of coconut flour per 1 cup of regular flour. Also, you will have to increase the number of eggs in the recipe.

Coconut Milk

A coconut’s milk is very rich, high in calories and saturated fat and should be used sparingly.

In a Nutshell

Until more research is available, you are better off using heart-healthy unsaturated fats like olive oil, canola oil and avocado in place of both butter and coconut oil.

CTMC Dietitians

Lauren Beller, RD, LD
Stephanie Burns, RD, LD

Call to learn more about healthy eating or attend one of our healthy cooking demos.

Coconut Graphic

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