Coconut Anyone?

Coconut Anyone?

Do you need something tropical to help you survive the chilly temperatures of the winter season?

If you answered “Yes,” how about adding some coconut to your diet?

Coconut has long been feared for its high saturated fat content and the widely held belief that a diet high in saturated fat increases LDL cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”) thus increasing risk of cardiovascular disease.

Recent research has questioned the role that saturated fat plays in cardiovascular disease. In fact, some forms of saturated fat may have health benefits such as improving blood lipids; especially if saturated fats are taking the place of refined/processed carbohydrates.

Research on Fat and Health

The following is a brief list of take-a-way points from my own research on fat and health:

  • According to researchers Volek and Phinney, if you follow a low carbohydrate ketogenic diet (typically 50 grams of carbohydrate or less per day) your body switches from using glucose as its primary fuel to fat as its primary fuel.
  • Research published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism found that during a 8-week study comparing coconut milk to soy milk, LDL (“bad cholesterol”) levels decreased and HDL (good cholesterol) levels increased.
    • The explanation for this is likely multifactorial; however, one explanation is the type of saturated fat found in coconut fat. Lauric acid (a type of saturated fat) makes up over 45 percent of the saturated fatty acid composition in coconut fat.
      • Lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid. Medium chain fatty acids are metabolized differently than long chain fatty acids (which are more commonly found in the foods we eat).
      • According to researcher Mary Brown, medium chain fatty acids have a shorter chain length (they are made up of 12 carbon atoms or less in comparison to 13 carbon atoms or more for long chain fatty acids); as a result they are rapidly broken down and absorbed into the body. Medium chain fatty acids go straight to the liver and can therefore be used as an instant energy source or turned into ketones.

Recipe

Are you interested in trying some coconut? Check out the following recipe:

Coconut-Crusted Chicken Breast

Ingredients:

  • 5-ounce chicken breast
  • ¼ cup Shredded Coconut
  • ¼ cup Coconut Milk
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Tenderize chicken using a meat mallet
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper
  • Dip chicken into coconut milk
  • Dip chicken into coconut
  • Place chicken into baking dish
  • Sprinkle any remaining shredded coconut on top of chicken
  • Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes (until there is no pink in the middle of chicken)

Nutrition Information:

  • Calories: 325
  • Carb: 7 grams
  • Sugar: 3 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Protein: 34 grams
  • Fat: 18 grams

Do you have a favorite recipe that uses coconut? Please share your creations with the type2diabetes.com community.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Type2Diabetes.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.
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