The Coconut (Nature’s multi-tasker)


 

20150227_095738by Tia Kamaris

Coconut

The hard, brown coconut found in the produce section of the supermarket is actually the stone of a mature coconut fruit, similar to a peach stone. When the coconut is cracked open, there’s a thin coating surrounds the inner flesh, then the white, coconut meat. This fiber-rich coconut meat aids in digestion and provides iron and other minerals to your diet, but be aware that it is high in fat.

 

One medium-sized coconut weighing about 397 grams (little less than one pound) has 1,405 calories. For a 2-inch piece, the calorie count is 159 per piece. The total fat in one coconut is about 133 grams. One 2-inch piece has approximately 15 grams of total fat with 13 grams of saturated fat. According to the American Heart Association, if you follow a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet, you can eat up to 78 grams of total fat each day, but no more than 16 grams of these fats should be saturated fat.

Iron and Other Minerals

A serving of coconut adds almost 2 milligrams of iron to your diet, which is about 11 percent of the recommended daily intake. Your metabolism uses iron to help carry oxygen through your bloodstream to all parts of your body. Coconut also provides 160 milligrams of potassium, which helps regulate your heartbeat, and 51 milligrams of phosphorus for strengthening your teeth and skeletal system.

Coconut Oil

Both expeller-pressed and cold-pressed coconut oil are good options for your health, but the one that’s best for you depends on what you’re using it for. Cold-pressed coconut oil is made in a heat-controlled environment and processed at temperatures that never exceed 120 degrees, according to “Coconut Oil for Beginners” by Rockridge Press. This results in a high-quality oil. Expeller-pressed coconut oil is also good quality but is processed at higher temperatures, typically around 210 degrees. By comparison, refined coconut oils are processed at upward of 400 degrees, which degrades the quality of the oil and requires further processing methods such as bleaching and deodorizing.

There are also slight differences in nutritional value of the oils. Coconut oil is comprised mostly saturated fat, along with some unsaturated fat and trace amounts of vitamins E and K, as well as iron. It also contains phenolic compounds, which are antioxidant substances that neutralize potentially harmful chemicals called free radicals. Because cold-pressed coconut oil is processed at lower temperatures, it contains a higher phenolic and nutrient content than expeller-pressed oil, according to “Coconut Oil for Beginners.”

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Make Your Own Cold Pressed Coconut Oil

As an alternative to mechanical pressing in an expeller press, you can first shred fresh coconut copra straight from the shell with the testa removed. While this is not a very efficient method of extraction, it is simple. Place the shredded coconut into a large piece of cheese cloth. Twist the cheese cloth to press the shredded coconut. Gather the liquid in a clean bowl. Pour the liquid into a jar and allow the oil to separate from the coconut milk. Place the jar in the freezer and allow the milk to freeze completely. Then, simply pour the coconut oil off into a bottle for storage.

coconut-oil

 

 

 

 

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Posted on 03/11/2015, in Nutrition, Paleo Living. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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