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COCONUTS: HEALTHY OR HYPE?

Updated: Apr 9, 2022

No single food has been as glorified or as vilified as coconuts and all its variations. What to make of whole coconuts, coconut water, coconut milk or coconut oil? Some swear by their mystical healing powers, while others avoid it like the plague. Who to believe? Are coconuts healthy? Let’s examine coconuts through scientific lenses and analyze the nutrients in whole coconuts, coconut milk and coconut oil and I'll try to get to the bottom of this superfood mystery. As a personal disclaimer, I like coconuts. Although I don’t consume them often, I do enjoy them occasionally as a whole food, and I enjoy the occasional coconut milk chickpea curry and have been known to eat coconut based ice cream here and there, although very rarely, but not because I’m scared of them. I have simply found healthier alternatives that make coconuts unnecessary in my routine.



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Whole coconut is the edible fruit of the coconut palm tree. Its flesh can be consumed whole or dried. It can also be processed into milk or oil. Its liquid can be used as coconut water to be consumed directly or added to other beverages. Since coconuts have long been used in cosmetics, medicine, religious rituals and as food, many assume they're automatically health promoting, while others recommend avoiding them due to their high saturated fat content.


Fans of coconut oils and milks will often cite studies that have looked at populations that consume the highest amounts of coconuts in order to support their views. At first glance, these populations don't appear particularly unhealthy and some even have reduced rates of certain chronic diseases. Just so happens that these population’s dietary patterns were also mostly plant-based, meaning they ate mostly unprocessed, whole plants with minimal amounts of animal foods. Was it really the coconuts? Keep in mind that for the most part, these populations were consuming whole coconuts, not coconut oil. Coconut milk and o