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Cholesterol-Lowering Coconuts

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Cholesterol-Lowering Coconuts

Who can resist a coconut, with its creamy, tropical flavor? For too long, many Americans have done just that.

Thankfully, that misguided coconut era is over. The coconut is receiving long-overdue accolades as a highly nutritious food. In fact, research has shown that it’s the saturated fat in coconuts that not only helps our bodies absorb nutrients and fight viruses, but also reduce cholesterol levels. Traditional American uses of coconut are sugar-laden affairs — think baked goods like pies, cakes and macaroons — that mask its health-promoting properties. But now cooks everywhere are incorporating coconut into a wide range of flavorful recipes that support good health. (For more on why saturated fat is good for you, search for “A Big Fat Mistake.”) And many people are going even further, using coconut milk as a wholesale replacement for dairy.

When coconut is fresh, it has a sweet, rich aroma. Before it reaches the grocery store, the coconut’s smooth outer shell has usually been removed, revealing a rough husk with three indented “eyes” at one end. Inside is the seed; it consists of a layer of creamy, white meat surrounding a center filled with refreshing, mildly flavored coconut water.

Whatever form of coconut you choose — shredded coconut; or coconut milk, cream and oil — it is sure to add an exotic twist of flavor to an otherwise ordinary meal.

Quick and Easy

Intimidated by coconuts? Don’t be. Here are easy ways to integrate coconut meat, milk and water into everyday snacks and meals.

Mix shaved or shredded coconut with nuts, seeds and berries in a bowl as a healthy alternative to breakfast cereal (just add your choice of yogurt or milk and a spoon). Thanks to the healthy fats and fiber, you’ll feel satisfied longer.

• Make coconut mango salsa by combining chopped mango, chopped red chili, coconut chunks, fresh mint and lime juice in a bowl. Use it to top grilled fish, chicken or tempeh. Or simply serve it with some whole-grain chips.

• When cooking rice, substitute half of the water with coconut milk. When rice is cooked, sprinkle in some sliced green onions, sesame seeds or toasted nuts, if desired. Coconut milk can also be used in place of milk in many recipes.

• Use coconut water in place of water in your favorite smoothie recipe. You’ll get a hint of tropical flavor and a boost of extra electrolytes. Coconut water also makes a nice beverage or midworkout refresher all on its own.

Next: Surprising nutritional benefits, cooking tips and more

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Megan, selected from Experience Life

Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit experiencelife.com to learn more and to sign up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe to the print or digital version.

65 comments

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3:06AM PDT on May 20, 2013

yummmmmmy eat food that's good for you :)

10:07AM PDT on Jun 20, 2012

I love all the good information about coconuts in this article. The salad recipe sounds delicious!

8:09PM PST on Jan 19, 2012

It is amazing to see coconut can lower cholesterol, because it is rich in coconut oil. I think it is rich in hdl cholesterol that helps to lower cholesterol level.

Also cholesterol can be lowered by; low carb diet, cod liver oil, fiber rich foods, and with increased physical activity. For further information on lowering cholesterol you can visit http://healthy-ojas.com/cholesterol/cholesterol-details.html

12:30PM PDT on Aug 14, 2011

Oh the fabulous coconut oil. I use it every morning in my oatmeal - yummy - and sure helps health and skin. Just make sure it is the pure cold-pressed type.

5:39AM PDT on Jul 25, 2011

ty

9:21AM PDT on Jul 23, 2011

Thanks for this great info...

6:14PM PDT on Jul 22, 2011

I am glad to read your article,I love anything coconutty.TY.

10:48AM PDT on Jul 22, 2011

Thx for sharing

6:27AM PDT on Jul 22, 2011

Thanks.

3:51AM PDT on Jul 22, 2011

Fantastic, I love coconut curries

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