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Coconut

This article is part of a larger article titled "100+ Healthiest Foods On Planet Earth."  Read it here.

Coconut Nutritional Information (per 100g)

Water: 47 g
Calories: 354 kcal
Protein: 3.3 g
Carbohydrate: 15.2 g
Dietary fiber: 9 g
Sugars: 6.2 g
Fat: 33.5 g
Saturated fat: 29.7 g
Monounsaturated fat: 1.4 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.4 g
Vitamin C: 3.3 mg
Vitamin B1: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B3: 0.5 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B9: 26 μg
Vitamin E: 0.2 mg
Vitamin K: 0.2 μg
Calcium: 14 mg
Iron: 2.4 mg
Magnesium: 32 mg
Phosphorus: 113 mg
Potassium: 356 mg
Sodium: 20 mg
Zinc: 1.1 mg

Coconuts have a very distinctive taste, are quite exotic and for a long time now may have become more greatly associated with body butters than food. It’s time to add the coconut back into the diet, however, as the fruit is filled with loads of surprising health benefits!

It can help you to lose weight. Coconut oil has become increasingly popular as research shows that it can actually help to burn body fat, despite being a fat itself. It is extremely rich in saturated fats, but it is one of the best sources of Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs).

Other oils, such as sunflower oil and olive oil consist of Long Chain Fatty Acids (LCFAs), and this distinction can have a big impact on body weight. A meta-analysis by Bueno et al (2013) found that there is evidence that replacing LCFAs with MCFAs can lead to a significant reductions in body weight, body fat and waist circumference.

It can act as a sunscreen. Sun protection is extremely important, particularly as people take more foreign holidays to hot climates, and do not adequately protect themselves from sun damage. Coconut, however, has been proven to have some UV-fighting properties, and can actually protect the skin from damage.

Although it is no substitute for commercial suncreams, a study by Kaur and Saraf (2010) found that coconut oil has an SPF (Skin Protection Factor) of close to 8, and had the second highest SPF of all the products tested (beaten only by olive oil, which was just marginally higher).

An SPF of 8 means that theoretically you should be able to stay in the sun for 8 times longer without damage than you would without any protection. Commercial brands are still better as they are specifically formulated to block out both UVA and UVB rays, but coconut may make an excellent natural base for many of these products.

It can improve brain function in Alzheimer’s patients. Coconut contains a significant amount of saturated fat, which for a long time was off-putting for those trying to be healthy. Recent research, however, has suggested that coconuts contain medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) which are actually beneficial to the body, and help it to produce ketones, which are an important energy source for brain function.

A review by Fernando (2015) has found that there is a small amount of significant evidence suggesting that coconut leads to marked improvements in cognition for people with Alzheimer’s disease.