Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Coconuts: A Peculiar Fruit

Well there I go again, taking another couple week hiatus from typing my articles.  I'm sorry folks, summer is just a busy time for me.  I just got back from the trip of a lifetime to Kauai, Hawaii.  That's right, for 8 days I was immersed in the warm Pacific ocean, the constant cool Hawaiian winds, and more sunshine than my skin knew what to do with.  And there were fruits everywhere!!!  Trees with papayas, mangos, bananas, and of course, coconuts.  I'll let you in on a little secret:  Coconut is probably my favorite fruit of all time.  Something about the taste of it is just so incredible, and so heartily satisfying.  Getting some fresh coconut meat in Hawaii was a dream come true.  But the coconut isn't like your average fruit.  It's nutritional properties are quite unique, and while its still an extremely healthy food, its healthy in a different way than most other fruits.  In fact, the coconut is composed mostly of a substance you wouldn't think sounds very fruity: 

FAT!!!  

That's right, coconuts are composed of mostly fat. And not just any old fat, but that super scary crazy spine tingling SATURATED FAT!!!  OMG!!!  Crazy right?  Now stop freaking out for a second and let me explain something.  This saturated fat is very, very, VERY good for you.  I've said a million times and I'll say it again:  fat doesn't make you fat.  The fat in coconuts not only gives the fruit an amazing taste, but it also does many positive things for your body.  The saturated fats in coconuts (or specifically the oil in coconuts) isn't a long chain fatty acid like we find so often in products made with hydrogenated oils, but instead are medium chain fatty acids which behave quite differently.  These fatty acids have been shown to have anti-oxidant properties, as well as the ability to speed up your metabolism.  That's right, eat fat to burn fat, sounds great doesn't it?



Now you may be remembering all those times you've heard that saturated fat will destroy your heart, clog up your veins, and in general destroy your circulatory system.  I'll say this right now:  there is no proof that the saturated fats in coconuts will cause any harm on bad cholesterol levels or overall heart health, and in fact there is much evidence to suggest the contrary.  Trans fats from hydrogenated oils are the real killers out there, not the natural saturated fats in coconuts.  In fact, by consuming the fats in coconuts, you're actually encouraging your body to use fat as an energy source, which may help you shed a few pounds.  And to all who are still in the dark about the powers of fat, it's an EXCELLENT energy source.  It's actually better than any carbohydrate, because it has more energy per unit of mass.  Cool, right?

But coconuts don't just stop at the fat benefits.  They're also rich with vitamins C, B1, B2, and B3.  This convenient vitamin package will help boost immune system health and support a fast burning metabolism which will keep you energized, strong, and of course, lean.  Coconuts are actually quite low in sugar compared to most fruits as well, which is a welcome change from the normal enormous insulin spike you get when eating apples, grapes, or bananas.  In terms of overall calories, coconuts are actually a very calorie dense food, and I bet you can guess why:  the fat of course!  This means they're an AWESOME energy source, but make sure you plan your daily diet accordingly, because a coconut could bump you over your daily caloric goals quite easily.  Here's the nutritional information for a coconut:

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 cup of shredded
 
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 241
Calories 283
 
% Daily Values*
Total Fat 26.79g41%
 Saturated Fat 23.758g119%
 Polyunsaturated Fat 0.293g 
 Monounsaturated Fat 1.14g 
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 16mg1%
Potassium 285mg 
Total Carbohydrate 12.18g4%
 Dietary Fiber 7.2g29%
 Sugars 4.98g 
Protein 2.66g 
 
Vitamin A 0%Vitamin C 4%
Calcium 1%Iron 11%
*
That's a bunch of calories, eh?  But don't be afraid, believe me it's worth it to fit coconut into your diet.  It's extremely good for you and tastes absolutely delicious.  It's definitely one of the most interesting fruits out there, and will always be one of my favorites.  But remember though, if you ever travel to Hawaii, or another place where coconuts grow rampant, that more people are killed each year by a coconut to the head than are killed by sharks.



And with that, I say, GOOD LUCK!

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1 comment:

  1. Confused in making choices? This blog is a must read for you! Will definitely help you to decide for yourself. Include coconut in your diet and stay fit and healthy.

    ReplyDelete