Nutritional Content of Fresh Coconut

Two halves of a coconut
Fresh coconuts are a challenge to open. (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Fresh coconut meat comes from the brown, fuzzy coconuts that the produce sections of some supermarkets sell. Once you manage to crack open the hard shell, you have access to the coconut milk and the meat, which you mist scrape off the sides of the shell. Use the fresh meat in fruit salads or shred it and add it to baked goods. Fresh coconut is not sweetened, so do not use it in recipes calling for sweetened, dried coconut. Fresh coconut meat is high in saturated fat and calories.

Calories and Macronutrients

A one-cup serving of coconut provides 283 calories and 27 g of fat. The 1-cup serving also contains 12 g of carbohydrates, with 7 g of fiber. Coconut provides just 3 g of protein in one cup.

Fat Considerations

Almost 90 percent of the fat in coconut meat is saturated. The American Heart Association warns against eating too much saturated fat in your diet because it can lead to an increased risk of heart disease. The saturated fat in coconut is a variety called medium-chained fatty acids, which some health advocates claim can protect the heart, encourage weight loss and offer other health benefits. In the June 2006 issue of the “Ceylon Medical Journal,” Sri Lankan researchers note that the body uses medium chain fatty acids directly to create energy, and are not bad for your health.

Vitamins

One cup of coconut provides 4 percent of the recommended dietary allowance for vitamin C, based on a 2,000-calorie diet. It also provides 4 percent of the RDA for thiamin, 1 percent for riboflavin, 5 percent for folate and 2 percent for niacin and pantothenic acid. Fresh coconut has a small amount of vitamin E, representing 1 percent of the RDA.

Minerals

Coconut is a source of nine different minerals. In one cup, it provides 9 percent of the RDA for phosphorus, 8 percent for potassium, 6 percent for magnesium and 1 percent for calcium. It also offers significant amounts of several trace minerals. One cup has 11 percent of the RDA for iron, 60 percent for manganese, 12 percent for selenium, 17 percent for copper and 6 percent for zinc.

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