Coconut pulp: uses, benefits and disadvantages on health

The coconut is a fruit of tropical climate that comes from the coconut palm Cocos nucifera. It has a fibrous brown skin and inside a white meat or pulp that can be eaten in different ways. Know what uses, benefits and disadvantages can have the consumption of coconut pulp.

In general, its intake has increased in recent times due to the fact that this fruit is attributed supposed bactericidal, antioxidant, antiparasitic and blood glucose regulating properties. But is all this true?

While there are scientific studies that support that consuming coconut pulp can be beneficial to health, we also know that its free or excess intake can have disadvantages. Keep reading more below.

What is the nutritional content of coconut pulp?

Unlike other fruits, coconuts contain fat as the main nutrient. These are composed of 90% saturated fatty acids, in which the short chain and medium chain predominate.

One of the main differences with other foods rich in fats is that they are absorbed by the small intestine without having to be metabolized in the liver to be used as an energy source, as stated in the research "The role of coconut oil and palm in nutrition, health and national development: a review ”.

They also contain carbohydrates, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals such as manganese, copper, and zinc. According to the data expressed in Food Data Central, in 100 grams of fresh and grated coconut pulp there is the following:

  • Calories: 354.
  • Protein: 3 grams.
  • Carbohydrates: 15 grams.
  • Grease: 33 grams.
  • Sugar: 5 grams.
  • Fiber: 9 grams.
  • Manganese: 60% Daily Value (DV)
  • Selenium: 14% of the DV.
  • Copper: 22% of the DV.
  • Match: 11% of the DV.
  • Potassium: 10% of the DV.
  • Iron: 13% of the DV.
  • Zinc: 10% of the DV.
  • Calcium: 14% of the DV.

Coconut contains fibers, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, as well as fats.

What are the possible benefits of coconut pulp?

It is thanks to its nutritional composition that coconut can be useful to treat or improve certain conditions. Let's see what it can influence.

Can prevent cell damage and oxidation

In addition to the significant contribution of nutrients that this fruit has, there are also phenolic compounds in coconut pulp. These have antioxidant functions and are protective against cell damage against toxic substances or free radicals. Those that predominate in this fruit are gallic acid, caffeic acid, salicylic acid and coumaric acid.

Specifically, they prevent the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol and reduce the likelihood of plaques forming in the arteries, thereby helping to maintain cardiovascular health. Also, animal studies showed that these compounds protect cells from damage caused by chemotherapy.

May help digestive health

Coconuts stand out for their fiber content. This component helps to increase the volume of the stool and thanks to this it maintains intestinal health, avoiding constipation. For this reason, it is considered an ally.

Likewise, the scientific study "Gut microbiota and metabolic health: the possible beneficial effects of a medium chain triglyceride diet in obese people" states that the medium-chain fatty acids it contains strengthen the bacteria that live in the intestine, so they are also positive for preventing inflammation and conditions such as metabolic syndrome.

Can keep blood sugar control

Another benefit of coconut, thanks to its fiber content, is that can keep blood sugar levels stable. What this compound does is capture glucose from food and reduce its absorption percentage.

May help improve immunity

Manganese, zinc and antioxidants stimulate the proper functioning of the immune system. This maintains the integrity of the body against inflammation. Also, as mentioned, fatty acids have antibacterial and antiviral properties.

It may interest you: Does vitamin D help the immune system?

Possible risks and contraindications of coconut pulp consumption

Because this fruit has fat as its main component, it is also a caloric food. Let's see what effects it can cause.

May induce weight gain

Eating large amounts of any fat-predominant food is likely to be reflected in weight gain. Of course they have to do with other factors, such as the quality of the diet, the level of physical activity and the frequency with which they are consumed. But it is an aspect that must be considered.

Excess fats affect vascular health

At this point there is a lot of controversy, since coconut provides fiber and antioxidant compounds that are capable of reducing cholesterol, but it also contains saturated fat in significant amounts. In relation to this, the study "Coconut oil consumption and cardiovascular risk factors in humans" indicates that high intake of the latter is associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease.

To avoid this, it is advisable to replace them with oils, such as olive or seeds. You have to be careful and not fall into an excessive consumption of this fruit or any food rich in fat.

May cause allergy

By last, there are people who can react severely to coconut And this is not always associated with other cases of food allergy. In any case, according to the study "Coconut allergy review", the appearance of it is rare.

Cardiovascular health is in a debate versus coconut. In any case, it is advisable to moderate its consumption due to the fat content.

Recommended amount and when to include it in the diet

Coconut pulp can be consumed in a variety of ways, either cubed, grated or flaked. You can even buy the fruit and eat it fresh or choose to have it dried.

In the latter case, you have to drill from one of its ends with a hammer and a nail, drain the liquid it contains (it is not advisable to throw it away, since it is also nutritious) and finally finish breaking to access its pulp.

Thus, coconut is frequently used in sweet dishes or in baking because it has a flavor that is appreciated, but it is not the only way in which it can be used. It can be included in the following preparations:

  • Sweet cookies: grated coconut is better.
  • Decoration of Pancakes or saucers: the coconut flake is the most attractive.
  • Add to fruit salads: using fresh or flaked coconut.
  • Coconut-based vegetable milk: for which grated coconut is used.
  • Incorporation into yogurt, milk and infusions: either grated or flaked.

Benefits and Disadvantages of Coconut Pulp

As you will see, This food contains a remarkable contribution of saturated fat, but also fiber and antioxidants. Therefore, if the coconut pulp is consumed, nutrients that are necessary for the normal functioning of the body would be incorporated. It should not be forgotten that excessive intake of it can lead to weight gain, although other factors also influence this.