Coconut meat is the rich white lining that is contained within the shell of a coconut. Coconut meat can be juicy and tender, or slightly thick and crunchy, to tough and fibrous depending on how long the kernel has been stored. Though coconut only grows in tropical regions of the world, it is now widely available.. And this is a fortunate thing as eating food products derived from coconut like coconut oil and coconut meat on a regular basis has profound positive effects to your overall health.
Coconut meat is so versatile that it can be eaten raw, cooked, or as a preserve. You can top your usual salads with shredded or grated and then lightly toasted coconut meat. You can use a blender to make it into smoothies as well, mixed with organic full-fat yogurt and fruits like bananas and berries.
Coconut is also a great source of iron, especially for a fruit. Two tablespoons of raw coconut butter contain 6 percent of your iron needs, while 1/2 cup of fresh meat contains 11 percent. Iron is needed to ensure optimal blood flow to the muscles and for optimal energy needed for exercise. It’s completely possible to eat a vegan diet and get enough iron; the important thing is to eat a variety of sources.
Folate is a B vitamin we need for healthy metabolism and red blood cell function. It’s also essential for healthy brain development in infants. Coconut meat contains 20 percent of your daily folate needs in a 1/2 cup of fresh meat.
Potassium is an incredibly important mineral for our health. It reduces high blood pressure and aids in water balance in the body to counteract too much sodium (bye-bye bloat!). We need 4,700 milligrams of potassium a day. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best source, and coconut is a great option. The tropical fruit contains 285 milligrams of potassium in 1/2 cup of fresh meat. Coconut water is even higher, while coconut flour and butter are a bit lower.
To add to the list of benefits, coconut is even a fantastic source of dietary fiber. Fiber keeps you regular which improves your energy, takes care of your heart, and can even help whittle your waistline too. Coconut meat contains more fiber than wheat bran or any other grain per serving!
Coconut meat is high in the trace mineral manganese, with one cup providing 67 percent of the recommended daily amount for women and 52 percent for men. Manganese helps you metabolize both fat and protein. It also supports both the immune and nervous systems and promotes stable blood sugar levels. Manganese also helps your body use other nutrients such as iron, thiamine and vitamin E.
Coconut meat provides a significant amount of two other minerals: potassium and copper. One cup provides 14 percent of the recommended amount of potassium and 39 percent of copper. Potassium, along with sodium, is essential for proper fluid balance within your cells. It is also necessary for proper heart function and muscle growth. Copper is important for the production of red blood cells and assists with your sense of taste.