Traditional yogurt, made with cow's milk, is off-limits to those with milk allergies or lactose intolerance. Coconut yogurt is a healthy alternative that's made with coconut milk instead. In addition to being dairy free, coconut yogurt also supplies several key vitamins and minerals and can have live and active cultures just like milk-based yogurts.
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Calories and Fat
A 6-ounce serving of unsweetened coconut yogurt contains 75 calories and 6 grams of fat, of which about 5 are saturated. Flavored coconut yogurts contain more calories and fat. For example, 6 ounces of the chocolate flavor contains 170 calories and 7 grams of fat, of which 5 are saturated, while the mango flavor has 130 calories and 6 grams of saturated fat. Much of the saturated fat in coconut yogurt is in the form of medium-chain triglycerides, which can help control weight, reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and boost immunity, according to a 2013 article in "Nutrition Review."
Six ounces of unsweetened coconut yogurt has 6 grams of fiber, which is 24 percent of the 25 grams women need each day and 16 percent of the 38 grams men require. The chocolate variety has 3 grams of fiber and mango has 2 grams. Some types of Greek coconut yogurt, which is strained to make it thicker and creamier than regular yogurt, contain more fiber with 8 grams per 6-ounce serving. Fiber promotes normal digestion and can cut the risk of constipation.
Compared to cow's milk yogurt, coconut yogurt contains less protein per serving. A 6-ounce serving of unsweetened coconut yogurt doesn't have any protein while the flavored varieties contain about 1 gram per serving. The exception is Greek coconut yogurt, which contains about 2 grams of protein per 6-ounce serving. That's about 4 percent of the 46 grams of protein women need each day and about 3.5 percent of the 56 grams men require.
Sugar and Sodium
Unsweetened coconut yogurt doesn't contain added sugar, and the amount in flavored coconut yogurt can vary. A 6-ounce serving of chocolate coconut yogurt has 23 grams of sugar, and the same amount of strawberry has 18 grams. Keeping your sugar intake low is one way to prevent unhealthy weight gain and reduce your risk for diseases, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Coconut yogurt is low in sodium, with the exception of Greek varieties, which can contain as much as 140 milligrams of sodium per 6-ounce serving. That's about 9 percent of the 1,500 milligrams the American Heart Association recommends as a daily upper limit.
Vitamins and Minerals
Coconut yogurt is a good source of bone-building calcium with between 25 and 30 percent of the daily value in each 6-ounce serving. You'll also get between 25 and 30 percent of the daily value for magnesium, a mineral essential for muscle function. A serving of coconut yogurt supplies between 25 and 30 percent of the daily value for vitamin B-12, crucial for red blood cell production, and vitamin D, vital for calcium absorption.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- So Delicious Dairy Free: Cultured Coconut Milk
- American Heart Association: Knowing Your Fats
- USDA: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010
- American Heart Association: Sugar 101
- American Heart Association: Sodium and Salt
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Calcium
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin D
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B-12
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Magnesium
- Nutrition Review: Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Protein