The coconut is a unique fruit because it contains a rich source of fiber and fat -- and is composed of meaty flesh and a liquid referred to as coconut water. You can purchase a whole coconut and enjoy it a variety of ways, or you can try the dried or shredded flesh. coconut contains a number of vitamins and minerals, some in significant amounts, as well as fiber. You can certainly add coconut to your grocery list as part of a healthy diet.
Where it Shines
Because coconut is rich in fat, it's higher in calories than most fruits. Keep this in mind when planning meals and snacks to meet your daily calorie goals. One cup of shredded coconut contains 283 calories, 12 carbohydrates and 26 grams of fat. It's rich in vitamins, including vitamin C and folate, as well as minerals such as potassium, iron, phosphorus and magnesium. In fact, one medium coconut contains more than 30 percent of the recommended daily intake of magnesium.
Coconut is particularly rich in fiber, with 1 cup of shredded meat containing 7.2 grams. Coconut provides a significant chunk of the recommended 25 grams of fiber that the American Heart Association recommends you get each day. Fiber plays an important role in digestive help, adds bulk to stool and prevents constipation. It also promotes healthy cholesterol levels and is linked to a decreased risk of heart disease.
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Janet Renee is a clinical dietitian with a special interest in weight management, sports dietetics, medical nutrition therapy and diet trends. She earned her Master of Science in nutrition from the University of Chicago and has contributed to health and wellness magazines, including Prevention, Self, Shape and Cooking Light.