Top 6 Health Benefits of Coconut Meat

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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There are a wealth of coconut meat benefits that can be enjoyed when you add this specialty food to your diet. Coconut is one of the most beloved and versatile foods on the planet. It is used as a flavoring, an oil, a drink, and even an ingredient in many cosmetic products. However, while many people will extol the virtues of coconut oil, eating coconut meat is actually the best way to directly access the highest nutritional value from this valuable nut.

What is Coconut Meat?

Coconut meat is the fresh raw meat of the coconut. Once a fresh coconut is cracked open, you can drink the coconut water and scoop out with the meat with a spoon or a knife, depending on how tender it is. Ripe coconuts have thicker, fleshier meat whereas the younger coconuts have tender flesh, which can be scraped very easily with a spoon or even the inside of the coconut husk. The white meat is highly nutritious, aids in digestion, and helps in skincare. In grocery stores, pureed coconut meat is commonly sold as coconut butter. You can also make fresh coconut milk by pureeing raw coconut flesh and water (according to the desired consistency you need).

A coconut shell bowl with fresh coconut meat sprinkled with roasted peanuts on a wooden table, decorated with a tropical leaf

Coconut Meat Benefits

Let us look at the most important health benefits of fresh coconut meat.

Fiber

Coconut meat is a great source of dietary fiber, which is essential for healthy metabolism and heart health. A half-cup serving of coconut meat contains 10g of fiber, more than wheat or bran. This can also help digestive issues and improve the regularity of your bowel movements (Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research March 2015).

Potassium

According to one study published in Food Chemistry by Dr. Umar Santoso et al., most types of coconuts contain impressive levels of potassiumPotassium is an essential mineral for a healthy body. Not only does it reduce high blood pressure, but it also helps balance water and sodium regulation in your body. That’s one reason why potassium is considered especially important before or after working out. A half-cup serving of coconut meat contains 285mg of potassium.

Protein

Coconut is not just a source of healthy fat; it’s also a protein source. While it does not supply complete proteins, it is a great source of amino acids, containing 17 of the 20 essential amino acids that we need to function. It is a particularly good source of threonine, containing 97mg in each half cup of coconut meat, making it the second-highest plant source of this substance in the world. Threonine supports the formation of collagen in the body, helping to build connective tissue and joints. It also provides liver and cardiovascular support, strong tooth enamel, and skin healing.

Iron

Nobody thinks of coconut as a good source of iron, but a half cup serving of coconut meat contains 11% of your daily recommended iron intake. Iron helps oxygenate your blood and bring oxygen to the rest of the body, boosting your energy levels and helping build healthy muscles. Regularly eating fresh meat can help to prevent the various symptoms of anemia.

Folate

A B vitamin needed for healthy red blood cell function, mental development, and metabolism, folate is often found in foods like bananas, asparagus, and spinach. However, one half-cup serving of coconut meat contains 20%, nearly a quarter, of your recommended daily folate intake.

Healthy Fats

The medium chain triglyceride fats in coconut meat help to reduce and regulate insulin surges in the body, helping to prevent fat storage, particularly in the abdomen. Aside from metabolism support, those same fats are used by your liver for energy, and when digested, create a thermogenic effect that helps you actually burn more calories.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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