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50 Foods That Are Healthier Than You Think: #23 - Coconuts

Friday, November 30, 2012

From pasta and cheese to mayo and beer, ivillage.com asked nutrition experts to share what some may consider as unhealthy foods that may actually be better for the body than we realize. Read on for the good news from www.ivillage.com/foods-a


Rich in antioxidants similar to those in berries, grapes and dark chocolate, coconuts are a nutritional powerhouse, Sass says. And while coconuts (and the oil they contain) are rich in fat, it's a fat that is beneficial to the body. "It's been shown to help reduce waist circumference, boost 'good' HDL cholesterol (which helps clear cholesterol deposits from arteries) and lower 'bad' LDL (which ups heart disease risk)," says Sass.

Some interesting coconut trivia thanks to

- The coconut most likely originated somewhere around New Guinea in the Pacific Ocean, but long ago became distributed throughout the Pacific from Southeast Asia to Africa. It may have reached the Pacific coast of Central or South America before Columbus reached America, but was introduced to the Caribbean from Africa by Europeans.

Note: There are some botanists who believe that the coconut originated in the American tropics. There is no definitive proof for either origin.

- Near Port Royal, Jamaica a stone monument on the Palisadoes commemorates the planting of the first coconut tree on the island on March 4, 1869 by John Norton, the Superintendent of the General Penitentiary. Over the next 20 years, 20,000 coconut trees had been planted. Disease eventually destroyed all of the Palisadoes coconut trees.
Jamaica Tourist Board (visitjamaica.com)

- Falling coconuts kill 150 people every year - 10 times the number of people killed by sharks.

- Coconut oil was the world's leading vegetable oil until soybean oil took over in the 1960s.

- There are more than 20 billion coconuts produced each year.

- Coconut juice or coconut water is the liquid inside a coconut. Coconut milk is produced by steeping grated coconut in hot water then straining; coconut cream is coconut milk cooked down until it thickens, or grated coconut steeped in hot milk instead of water.

- One cup of unsweetened shredded coconut has about 25 grams fat and 280 calories.

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