coconut adds flavor to a variety of foods such as teas ,pies, cookies, soups and shrimp dishes, and it supplies key vitamins and minerals. Shredded coconut also contains 33 grams of fat and 40 grams of sugar per 1-cup serving, which significantly decreases the nutritional value of the food. While you'll reap some nutritional benefits when you eat shredded coconut, it shouldn't be part of your regular diet.
Protein and Fiber
A 1-cup serving of shredded coconut contains 2.68 grams of protein toward the daily goal of 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men. Protein rebuilds cells and helps you maintain healthy tissues and muscles. The same serving of shredded coconut provides 4.2 grams of dietary fiber. The American Heart Association recommends that you consume at least 25 grams of fiber each day. Fiber reduces your risk of constipation and hemorrhoids by encouraging proper digestion and regular bowel movements. The nutrient might lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer as well.
Coconut is a good source of iron, and a 1-cup serving supplies 1.79 milligrams of the 8 milligrams men need each day and the 18 milligrams women require. Iron is crucial for the formation of hemoglobin, which is the protein in red blood cells that is responsible for getting oxygen to each part of your body. Without enough iron, your cells don't get sufficient oxygen, which can lead to weakness and fatigue. You also need adequate amounts of iron to support your immune system.
One cup of shredded coconut provides 1.69 milligrams of zinc toward the daily goal of 8 milligrams for women and 11 milligrams for men. Zinc is a mineral crucial to the strength and health of your immune system, and it also plays a critical role in wound healing. The mineral supports normal cell division and enables you to taste, see and smell properly as well.
Considerations and Tips
Because 29.2 grams of the total fat in a serving of shredded coconut are saturated, the food should be viewed as an occasional treat. Regularly consuming too much saturated fat can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes. Limit yourself to a small sprinkle of shredded coconut to enhance the flavor of foods such as low-fat plain yogurt or a bowl of oatmeal. Cut the amount of shredded coconut in your favorite recipes by half. You'll still get the flavor of the coconut, but you'll reduce the overall fat, calorie and sugar content of the food.