Dried coconut (copra) has many benefits, but one should be on the lookout for additives such as sodium, sugar, and sulfites that many commercial brands use.
Dried coconut, also known as copra, is coconut meat that has been grated and then dried with heat of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit. It is important that dried coconut be made using this temperature (or higher) so that pathogens are killed. Fresh coconut has a short shelf life (lasting about 1-2 days after harvest) and is a very likely breeding ground for Salmonella. Not properly following industrial practice (such as "raw" dried coconut that some sellers try to peddle) can lead to the product being contaminated.
In and of itself, copra is good for you and your health. It contains a large amount of manganese, copper, and selenium. Manganese (along with zinc) helps copper do its duties of promoting iron absorption, producing collagen and red blood cells, and working as an antioxidant. Manganese is important for calcium absorption, energy metabolism, and regulating blood sugar levels. Selenium is a key component of selenoproteins, enzymes which support thyroid and immune system function.
While it's true that dried coconut has a lot of saturated fat (80% or more per ounce), it should be remembered that not only has saturated fat been cleared of much of its previous implication in causing cardiovascular disease, but much of the danger that it does pose is mitigated by dried coconut's high amount of fiber - nearly 50% per ounce in some brands.
While fresh dried coconut is good for you, the saturated fat content can catch up when excessively consumed, leading to obesity and increasing the risk of obesity-related diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Furthermore, if your diet is not normally high in fiber, the sudden influx of large amounts of fiber can lead to bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Lastly, it is important to keep in mind that many brands contain added sugars, sodium, and sulfites, which can quickly diminish many of the said benefits.
Possible short-term side effects
Possible long-term side effects
- type 2 diabetes
- heart disease
Ingredients to be aware of
- increases immunity and thyroid function
- increases calcium absorption
- helps regulate blood sugar
- promotes colon and digestive health
- promotes healthy red blood cell count
Trusted brands (what is this?)
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Written by Jeff Volling | 03-11-2016
Written by Jeff Volling
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