We’re a little nuts we’re well aware, but this week’s Make our Meals has got us coco!
Coconuts are part of the latest health ‘trend’ with coconut water and coconut oil gracing 9/10 supermarket shelves across the country. But it’s time we got a little wiser, and opened are eyes to all they offer.
Coconuts are actually one big seed, also classified as a fruit. One thing they are not are a nut? Harder to say or harder to understand? We’ll leave that one with you!
For this week’s #MakeMyMeals I turned my attention to creamy coconut milk and shredded or as the proudly literate say, desiccated coconut.
Coconut milk is made by grating up the white flesh from the inside and soaking it in hot water. The coconut cream is skimmed off the top and the remaining liquid is squeezed though muslin cloth. This is the coconut nut milk, and can only be bought in cans in the UK, not fresh.
Desiccated coconut is also made from the white flesh of the coconut, but it is shredded and then dried to remove as much moisture as possible. When buying desiccated coconut look at the ingredient list. Ideally it should just be coconut meat, avoid any with added sugar and sweeteners.
On the whole coconuts are a rich source of fibre, vitamins C, E, B1 (thiamin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid) and B6, and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous.
Coconut milk is high in saturated fat but don’t fear, the type of saturated fat that it contains is easily metabolised (short and medium chain). It is suggested that it isn’t consumed more than twice a week for a healthy balanced lifestyle, due to its high calorie and fat content.
The main saturated fat that is found in coconut milk is called lauric acid and has been linked to improved bone health and brain development.
Vitamins C and E found in coconut milk can help to boost the immune system, while B vitamins improve the supply of energy to the cells by increasing the metabolism rate.
Desiccated coconut is made from the same part of the coconut meaning they have very similar health benefits. It is an excellent source of manganese, which has been linked with increased metabolism, improved regulation of blood sugar levels and higher rate of calcium absorption. These properties can help reduce weight gain and the risk of diabetes and osteoporosis.
Unlike coconut milk, desiccated coconut is high in dietary fibre. There are many studies to show that diets high in dietary fibre can lead to a reduced risk in stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, high cholesterol, and digestive disorders.
The reason that coconuts are such health wonders is that it is a seed that contains enough energy and resources to grown an entire palm tree (with a little help from the sun and rain). All that goodness and nutrients to provide new life are trapped inside waiting to be eaten!
So go on, I dare you. Delve a little deeper into the latest health craze and let me know what YOU find…