Edible parts of coconut include coconut water, milk, meat and coconut oil.
Mature coconut water (MCW) is a low calorie, low-fat drink with minerals and antioxidants.
Animal studies have shown that MCW consumption leads to improvement in blood glucose levels, lipid profile, and liver and kidney function parameters.
Although human studies are still pending, there is no controversy regarding the beneficial effects of MCW.
- Coconut milk is made by grating the meat of the mature coconut and then simmering in hot water.
- Coconut meat is the hardened portion (kernel), and it can be consumed in fresh or dried form.
- Coconut oil is of two types, copra oil and virgin coconut oil (VCO).
- Copra oil is made from the dried kernel and is mostly devoid of polyphenols and vitamin E (removed in purification).
- VCO is made from coconut milk and rich in former antioxidants.
Coconut milk, meat and oil (VCO and Copra) contain very high (>90%) amounts of saturated fatty acids which lead to increased LDL (bad) cholesterol and subsequently cardiovascular events (heart attacks, strokes etc.).
- The American heart association recommends limiting saturated fat to <10% of total fat intake.
- Recent animal studies have revealed that VCO may lead to weight loss, improve insulin sensitivity, lipid profile, and its constituents like polyphenols and vitamins might be cardioprotective.
- Human trials are lacking, and these findings contradict epidemiological studies; hence health authorities are still sceptical endorsing coconut oil for daily usage.