7 Incredible Health Benefits of Coconut

If you want to learn everything about coconut, from how to use it to its health benefits, and get some bonus recipes, then start reading!

Coconut is an exotic fruit that has been really popular for the past few years. You’ve all heard and probably tasted coconut milk or coconut water. But do you know what are the health benefits of coconut?

There are plenty of dietary benefits of coconut. That’s right! By eating coconut flesh or drinking its milk or water, you’re actually strengthening your body and mind.

So keep on reading to learn everything about the amazing coconut, where it comes from, its health benefits and how to choose the perfect coconut at the supermarket.

Did you know that 150 people worldwide die each year from falling coconuts? So you better watch your head below palmtrees!

Once Upon a Time … Here Came the Coconut!

Let’s start from the beginning: coconut is from coconut tree, from the palmtree family. This amazing tree originates from South East Asia and Melanesia, which is located in the Pacific Ocean.

Coconut trees grow in tropical countries, such as Indonesia, Philippines, India, Sri-Lanka, Thailand, and Mexico – basically, everywhere you dream of a holidays ;). Therefore, they also are the main producers of coconuts. Note that you can find it either at the wild state or cultivated.

365 Ways to Use Coconut

Indonesians say that there are as many ways to use coconut as there are days in a year. We won’t go through all of them but here are some of the most popular ones:

  • The wood from the coconut tree is used for woodworking
  • Its huge leaves are used to produce baskets, carpet, and fabrics
  • Coconut shelf is perfect for a natural container
  • The sap is converted into alcohol
  • Finally, coconut milk and flesh are prime ingredients for tropical dishes

Basically, if you’re stuck in the jungle and find some coconuts, you’re saved 🙂

Focus on Coconut Tree & Fruit

Let’s focus on the coconut tree for a minute! It can be up to 30 meters and have huge leaves at the top. On one tree, there are 5 or 6 clusters that each contains about 10 to 12 coconuts. The coconut is covered of 15 cm fibrous envelope.

Underneath this layer, you’ll have a hard brown shell, really solid. No choice, you’ll have to break it to access to what matters: the flesh and coconut water, which is a fresh and sugary liquid. As the fruit gets mature, the more coconut water is being converted into flesh.

Note: coconut water is not to be confused with coconut milk, which is produced by crushing the flesh.

Coconut Nutrition Facts

Depending on what type of coconut you choose, the nutritive inputs are very different. You’ll find below a table summarizing them:

RawDried flesh, sweetened and shreddedDried flesh, unsweetened and shreddedCoconut milkCoconut water
Quantity50g250ml
Proteins1,71,73,54,61,8
Fats16,816,132,348,20,5
Carbs7,623,812,26,39,4
Fibers4,52,72,6


Note that around 92% of these fats are saturated fats, which are considered as the “bad” fats. However, these particular saturated fats contained in the coconut are medium chain fatty acids, whose are directly used in the body to produce energy. Hence, they are not as “bad” for your health as all saturated fats. 

That’s not all! Coconut is a very nutritious fruit, which:

  • Is an excellent source of potassium
  • Is full of iron, copper and magnesium
  • Also contains folic acid, zinc and phosphorus
  • Has lots of fibers

Coconut Top Health Benefits

  • Support your immune system health: it is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-parasite
  • Helps protect your body from cancers due to insulin reduction
  • Improves heart health and reduce the risk factors for cardiovascular disease
  • Provides a natural source of quick energy
  • Promotes weight loss thanks to its saturated medium chain fatty acids and helps to control appetite thanks to its high amount of fibers
  • Enhances digestion thanks to its fibers which is important for normal laxation
  • Keeps hair and skin healthy with a youthful looking

Tips to Buy, Store, and Cook Coconut

When you buy a coconut, be careful that it contains water inside. You can easily check that by simply shake it. Also, don’t choose a damaged or moldy one. You can choose between several types: the whole coconut, dried or shredded, and drinks such as coconut milk or water. Know that if you choose a sweetened one, it will have more calories. So be sure to prefer it unsweetened, you’ll have the full coconut taste without any added sugar.

You can store a coconut (not opened) for 2 to 4 months at room temperature. Once it’s open, you’ll have to eat it in 1 week if it’s in your fridge or in 9 months if it’s in your freezer. Both coconut flesh and milk should be kept in your fridge. It’s good to cover the flesh with water for not drying it out.

To use a coconut, you’ll first have to pierce it. Use a sharp instrument and drill it at the soft part at the top. A liquid will slowly flow from the whole, be sure to keep it as it’s the coconut water! Then hit the coconut approximately a third of the top using a hammer or a heavy knife, and slowly turning it the shell. As told above, the shell is pretty hard to break so continue to hit and turn slowly until the coconut breaks in 2 parts. Once it’s done, you simply need to use a spoon to remove the flesh from the shell. Small tip: if you don’t feel like hitting your coconut, put it in your oven at 180° Celsius once the coconut water is extracted. It will explode which will be much more easier to access to the flesh. There are many ways to use coconut:

  • You can use dried flesh in order to spice or decorate your desserts
  • Coconut milk is really famous in Indian cooking, for sauces or instead of water to cook rice

Homemade coconut milk:

Mix 100g of unsweetened shredded coconut flesh and 250ml of hot coconut water. Put the mixture in a pot, cover and let steep for 30 minutes. Then, drain it into cheesecloth by pressing hard with your hands to extract the more liquid as possible.  

  • Coconut oil is extracted from coconut flesh. It is perfect to replace other oils or butter for cooking.

Now that you’re a coconut expert, you can get some practice by using it in your meals or drinks. You can check some recipes below that will inspire you. If you try them, don’t forget to tag us on Instagram or leave a comment in the section below, we would love to hear that 🙂

3 Healthy Coconut-Based Recipes

Coco-Zucchini Bread

A super easy, quick and very creative bread recipe with a double hit of coconut: milk and oil. It's full of good nutrients and low in fat! 

Prep Time15 minsCook Time50 minsTotal Time1 hr 5 mins
Ingredients
 1 ½ cups shredded zucchini
 ¾ cup brown sugar
  cup light coconut milk
 ¼ cup coconut oil
 2 large eggs
 2 cups whole-wheat flour
 1 tsp baking soda
 ¾ tsp salt
 ¾ tsp cinnamon

Ingredients

Ingredients
 1 ½ cups shredded zucchini
 ¾ cup brown sugar
  cup light coconut milk
 ¼ cup coconut oil
 2 large eggs
 2 cups whole-wheat flour
 1 tsp baking soda
 ¾ tsp salt
 ¾ tsp cinnamon

Directions

1

A super easy, quick and very creative bread recipe with a double hit of coconut: milk and oil. It's full of good nutrients and low in fat! 

Coco-Zucchini Bread

Get the recipe here

Thai Coconut Soup

The best thai soup you can try with shrimps and coconut. It's loaded with proteins and full of vitamin A and magnesium! 

Prep Time35 minsCook Time30 minsTotal Time1 hr 5 mins
Ingredients
 1 tsp vegetable oil
 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
 1 stalk lemon grass, minced
 2 tsp red curry paste
 3 cups chicken broth
 3 cups cans of coconut milk
 1 tsp light brown sugar
 ½ pounds of fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
 1 pound medium shrimp - peeled and deveined
 2 tsp fresh lime juice
 ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Ingredients

Ingredients
 1 tsp vegetable oil
 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
 1 stalk lemon grass, minced
 2 tsp red curry paste
 3 cups chicken broth
 3 cups cans of coconut milk
 1 tsp light brown sugar
 ½ pounds of fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
 1 pound medium shrimp - peeled and deveined
 2 tsp fresh lime juice
 ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

1

The best thai soup you can try with shrimps and coconut. It's loaded with proteins and full of vitamin A and magnesium! 

Thai Coconut Soup

Get the recipe here

Coconut Fruit Balls

This no bake recipe is perfect for an afternoon snack. Packed with dried fruits and coconut, you'll get your energy level up in 2 minutes! Tested and approved 🙂 

Prep Time20 mins
Ingredients
 ½ cup dried apricot, finely chopped
 ½ cup dried dates, finely chopped
 ½ cup sultana, finely chopped
 ½ cup desiccated coconut
 1 tsp cinnamon
 1 tsp condensed milk

Ingredients

Ingredients
 ½ cup dried apricot, finely chopped
 ½ cup dried dates, finely chopped
 ½ cup sultana, finely chopped
 ½ cup desiccated coconut
 1 tsp cinnamon
 1 tsp condensed milk

Directions

1

This no bake recipe is perfect for an afternoon snack. Packed with dried fruits and coconut, you'll get your energy level up in 2 minutes! Tested and approved 🙂 

Coconut Fruit Balls

Get the recipe here