Is coconut really a healthy food?
Should we succumb to the craziness of the coconut? Pulp, oil, cream, milk … This exotic fruit is the new star of healthy food. Is she really a healthy ally or an umpteenth culinary trend? What about his caloric intake? How to cook it? Let’s decrypt coconut in all its forms.
Coconut and its derivatives (flour, oil, milk …) are everywhere, thanks in large part to the explosion of gluten-free, lactose-free and sugar-free diets and the trend of exotic products.
Yet, “we have long demonized the coconut because of its high saturated fatty acids deemed harmful for the cardiovascular system, notes Dr. Corinne Chicheportiche-Ayache, nutritionist. However, it has recently been discovered that there are different types of saturated fatty acids and that not all of them have the same impact on health, especially those that it contains in a majority way. It also helped to rehabilitate her. “Beware, however, of fashion phenomena! “If this fruit has undeniable health qualities, it is not a miracle food either! It must, therefore, be consumed in moderation and as part of a balanced diet, “says the nutritionist.
Coconut water is remineralizing
It comes from young coconut: the greener the nut, the more it contains. The more it matures and browns, the more it dries up. Sold in bricks or cans, coconut water has a cloudy appearance and has a slightly fruity and sweet flavor.
With only 20 calories per 100 g, it is a refreshing drink with little energy and particularly remineralizing: potassium, manganese, magnesium, calcium, iron …
How to cook coconut water? Light and thirst-quenching smoothies by combining it with juices and purees of fresh fruit.
The fresh coconut pulp is energetic
Under the brown shell is this very white and semi-dry flesh, and it usually stays a little water with it. Even very watery (approximately 45% water), this pulp is energetic (360 kcal / 100 g) and rich in lipids (33%), composed of 90% saturated fatty acids, those which are found mainly in animal products (fatty meat, butter, cheese …) and which are known to increase the cardiovascular risk.
It is moderately sweet (7%), but ultra-high in fiber (9g / 100g). Finally, it contains vitamins E (antioxidant) and B, minerals (magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron …) and trace elements (selenium, manganese, copper).
How to cook fresh coconut pulp? In pieces in fresh fruit salads or salty-salty, mixed, cakes or macaroons and a condiment to make dishes with Indian accents.
The dry pulp of coconut is satiating
From the fresh pulp dried, it comes in the form of chips or powder. It is more concentrated: energy (690 kcal / 100 g), lots of fat (66%), fiber (14 g / 100 g), vitamins and minerals, a highly nutritious food, but which should not be abused
How to cook the dry pulp of coconut? With the chips, a garnish to decorate salads and sweet and savory dishes (fried vegetables, soups …); with grated coconut, pastry (soft cakes and biscuits, Congolese, financial, pastry …), meatballs or fish, tajines …
Coconut milk is digestible
It is obtained from fresh pulp crushed, pressed and mixed with water. This gives a liquid which resembles rather thick milk which, if it is not stirred, separates into an aqueous part, above, and a creamy part, close to a cream, underneath. Warning! With 170 calories per 100 g, it is more energetic than all animal and plant milk. It can not replace cow’s milk in everyday use because it does not contain calcium and contains little protein. In addition, it contains 17% fat, which brings it closer to a cream than milk and therefore should be consumed sparingly.
How to cook coconut milk? A culinary aid designed to bring a touch of exoticism into salty and sweet preparations: soups, curry, desserts, desserts, ice creams …
Coconut cream is a good vegetable substitute
It is obtained in the same way as milk, but by adding less water. It is, therefore, thicker and unctuous. It is caloric (330 kcal / 100 g) and high in fat (35%), almost exclusively saturated fatty acids with the same profile as coconut, so without negative effects on the cardiovascular system.
How to cook coconut cream? A culinary aid to bring smoothness and exoticism to sauces, soups, creams … And a delicious vegetal chantilly!
Coconut oil, to cook at high temperature
It is obtained from the pressed coconut pulp. Rich in saturated fatty acids, it is in solid form at room temperature. Like all oils, it contains 100% lipids and therefore should be used sparingly. The advantage is that it tolerates high temperatures, unlike butter or cream, and does not have a negative impact on the cardiovascular system.
How to cook coconut oil? It is ideal for browning chicken, shrimps, and vegetables because it brings a touch of exoticism, and advantageously replaces butter in cakes and biscuits.
Coconut flour, vegetarian and diabetics ally
It is made from coconut meat, which is dried, defatted and crushed. This flour, gluten-free, is distinguished by its high protein content (about 18 g / 100 g or twice as much as conventional wheat flour) containing all the essential amino acids: a boon for vegetarians. It also displays an impressive fiber content (40 to 50 g per 100 g) interesting for transit. Less rich in carbohydrates but more concentrated in fat than ordinary flour, it contains as many calories but has a lower glycemic index (30-40), interesting when you have diabetes or diet.
How to cook coconut flour? It does not rise, hence the need to combine with other flours (1/3 to 1/5 of the mixture). She brings to pastries lightness and a pleasant exotic flavor.
Coconut sugar has a good sweetening power
It comes from the flowers of a coconut tree. Once removed, the sap of these flowers is heated until almost complete evaporation of water. It remains a 100% natural sugar, brown color. While table sugar is composed of 100% sucrose, it contains 70 to 80% sucrose, the rest being fructose and glucose in varying proportions. As a result, it tends to lower blood sugar levels. It is also slightly less caloric: 360 to 380 kcal / 100 g against 400 for white sugar. Finally, it contains antioxidant substances, and small amounts of vitamins (C, B), minerals and fibers beneficial to the intestinal flora. However, it remains a simple sugar with its harmful effects on health when consumed in excess.
How to cook coconut sugar? Cocktails with or without alcohol, fruit salads, sweet and savory preparations to which it brings an exotic flavor, slightly caramelized. As a result, a smaller quantity than that indicated in white sugar is often enough to perfume and soften the preparations.