7 Ways You Should Be Eating Coconut

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Here's the truth behind this red-hot food and the many ways to use it.

Coconut oil

What it is: the natural liquid from coconut “meat” via heating or cold pressing. It can be cooked at high temperatures (unlike other oils) and is a great butter substitute. Don’t worry about the high saturated fat content (more than 90 percent), coconut oil is composed of good fats that can actually lower bad cholesterol.

Coconut water

What it is: juice from immature, green coconuts. Coconut water contains as much potassium as a banana. Its five electrolytes—sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorous—help replenish what’s lost through sweat and keeps you hydrated. Check the label beforehand because some brands add sugar.

Coconut butter

What it is: dried coconut meat churned or crushed into a creamy paste. Coconut butter may be easier to digest than other butters because there is no dairy and it can immediately be absorbed by the body without having to be broken down first. It has the same benefits as coconut oil and can also be used externally and internally.

Coconut milk

What it is: coconut water pureed with coconut chunks. Coconut milk joins the pack of alternative non-dairy milks. Magnesium and phosphorus found in coconut milk are good for bone and dental health. It’s also high in iron and zinc. However, use coconut milk in moderation because it’s high in calories—one cup is about 550 calories.

Coconut chips

What it is: dried chunks or slices of coconut meat. These chips are way better than potato chips. They maintain all the nutrients of a fresh coconut, such as improving immune and bone health, and contain anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.

Coconut flour

What it is: a byproduct of coconut milk or meat made from its residue. Not only is coconut flour a terrific gluten-free option, it also is high in fiber and low in carbohydrates.

Coconut vinegar

What it is: sap of a coconut tree. Thanks to the mineral-rich soil coconut trees grow in, coconut vinegar is full of nutrients like potassium, sulfur, and manganese. Coconut sap contains over a dozen amino acids, vitamin C, and the prebiotic FOS. Plus, its low glycemic index means it’s diabetic-friendly.