Coconut Meat

When it comes to health benefits of coconut water, the nutritional value doesn’t end with water itself. When you’re done drinking, ask the vendor from whom you bought the coconut to cut it in half for you. If the coconut water you were drinking came from a young and fresh drupe, slicing it in half will reveal the jello like substance commonly known as Coconut Meat.

Photo: Coconut Meat Eaten with Improvised Spoon Sliced Off Nut's Skin
Photo: Coconut Meat Eaten with Improvised Spoon Sliced Off Nut's Skin

Coconut Meat is basically the gel covering the walls of the coconut insides. To eat coconut meat like a native to tropical regions, slice a narrow strip of nut’s skin to serve as spoon and scrape the meat off with this improvised, disposable tool.

The younger the coconut, the softer the meat will be. Older coconuts will have the meat harder and sometimes so hard it’s virtually impossible to scrape it off. The gel like meat of very young coconuts is my favorite. I don’t particularly enjoy the taste of that hardened mass. Unless the meat is very hard, you should not pass up on eating it. Health benefits of this gel are undeniable.

If young coconuts are not harvested, the drupe will continue to ripen and the water inside harden with white flesh of the coconut gaining on volume. Eventually, green coat will peel off and the water inside will become meat.

Coconut Meat – Good News

Coconut meat is very low in Sodium and Cholesterol but rich in Manganese.

Coconut Meat – Bad News

Coconut meat is high in Saturate Fat.

Well, that’s a bummer. Unfortunately it is true. There is some good news to come with the bad news, though. While coconut meat IS high in saturated fat, it’s also high in medium chain triglycerides, which is also a type of fat, but this type of fat reduces appetite and may help to eliminate abdominal fat deposits. Early studies of medium chain triglycerides suggest that these fats are more likely to be burnt off as fuel, instead of being stored as fat and may boost metabolism enabling the body to burn excessive fat on its own.

Coconut Meat and Cholesterol Levels

Early studies of coconut oil showed increase in LDL (Low Density Lipoproteins aka bad cholesterol) levels however this theory was negated with newer studies which attributed the differing results from the old studies to the use hydrogenated coconut oil which is known to contain trans fats (commonly associated with heart disease). Newer studies showed that coconut oil helped to reduce LDL cholesterol levels. The studies are ongoing but initial research suggests that the ability of coconut oil to reduce bad cholesterol could be attributed to high concentration of L-Arginine, an amino acid known for its protective properties against heart disease. More studies are needed to back up these theories, though.

Coconut Meat as Protection Against Bacteria and Viruses

Just as is the case with coconut water, coconut meat is also rich in Lauric Acid and Monolaurin, the components known for their bacteria and virus killing properties. Monolaurin is of particular interest because it’s shown the ability to eliminate the growth of the HIV virus which is responsible for dreadful AIDS.

Lauric Acid, the same acid which is found if milk of breastfeeding mothers is the component which helps boost newborns’ immunity and protects them against infections.

Despite its high Saturated Fat content, coconut meat has significant health benefits and is rich in nutrients that help maintain good health and protect against bacteria and viruses. I eat coconut meat each time I am done drinking coconut water, unless the nut is already too old and meat too hard. If I get young and fresh coconut with jello like meat, I won’t pass on the opportunity to munch on this yummy substance which further benefits my body and allows me to stay healthy on my travels.