Coconut cream is a thick, creamy and luscious ingredient commonly used in traditional dishes around the world. It is made from the flesh of mature coconuts which are grated and then blended with water to form a smooth, velvety liquid that can be added to your favorite recipes.
One of the most common questions that people ask about coconut cream is whether it is healthy or not. In this article, we will explore all aspects of coconut cream nutritionally and help you determine if it’s a good fit for your diet.
What Is Coconut Cream?
Coconut cream is similar to coconut milk but has a much thicker consistency due to its higher fat content. Pure coconut cream contains approximately 25% fat while commercial brands sometimes add various thickeners such as carrageenan or guar gum which can increase this percentage up to 70%.
It’s worth noting that there are differences between unsweetened and sweetened varieties of coconut cream. The latter may contain sugar or other sweeteners making them less desirable for those monitoring their sugar intake.
Nutritional Content And Calories
A single cup (240 ml) serving size contains roughly:
– Calories: Approximately 445 kcal
– Fat: Around 48 grams (77% saturated)
– Protein: Around two grams
– Carbohydrates (including fiber): Three grams
– Potassium: About 630mg
– Vitamin C: Roughly three percent daily recommended amount
As you can see, the primary macronutrient in coconut cream comprises fats – including large quantities of saturated fatty acids which have long been deemed unhealthy by certain health organizations worldwide due to links with heart disease.
The majority of calories in one serving come from fat with essential nutrients relatively scarce; thus, heavy consumption could lead to excess energy intake thereby increasing body weight when compared with lower-fat alternatives like skimmed milk available at just twenty-five calories per serving without compromising on protein intake levels significantly.
It’s also essential to consider how dense in calories this type of cream is when deciding on portion sizes as a small amount could quickly increase your caloric intake.
Potential Health Benefits
Coconut cream contains high levels of saturated fats, mostly lauric acid, which has been resoundingly shown to raise HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) – this could have a protective effect on heart health. Interestingly though, it’s important to note that some experts disagree and claim that these fats may still contribute negatively to cardiovascular disease risk despite potential benefits like increasing satiety.
Coconut cream is well known for its antimicrobial properties which result from the presence of medium-chain fatty acids such as caprylic acid and capric acid. These attributes may help combat the growth of harmful bacteria within your digestive system if consumed regularly over time.
Blood Sugar Regulation
Due to its low glycemic index score; consuming meals containing coconut products can help stabilize blood sugar levels preventing spikes or crashes. This attribute makes it an excellent alternative ingredient for people living with diabetes.
However, it should be kept in mind that many store-bought brands often contain added sugars making them less beneficial for diabetes control than unsweetened homemade variations or those labeled without added sweeteners.
Possible Side Effects And Health Risks
As previously mentioned, coconut creams are particularly high in fat content which can lead to excess calorie consumption causing weight gain/obesity if not monitored appropriately. Additionally, despite preliminary research showing the beneficial effects linked with Lauric Acid found abundantly within Coconut Creams as discussed above there is evidence also pointing towards an increased risk factor across several studies associating higher intakes of long chain (~14-16 carbon atoms) Saturated Fatty Acids commonly present within tropical oils including coconut – with Cardiovascular Disease-related outcomes like elevated LDL-cholesterol levels-circa 9%.
Furthermore, since coconut cream is not suitable for people with allergies to coconuts, it’s essential always to check the label when purchasing products and consult your healthcare specialist before adding any new food component especially if there are preexisting health conditions.
Coconut cream can be used in a variety of dishes, ranging from sweet to savory. It’s packed full of beneficial nutrients like fiber-boosting potassium whilst also containing medium-chain fatty acids that promote weight loss/blood sugar control alongside positively impacting good cholesterol levels (HDL) however consumption should still be kept within moderation/due diligence research using reputable sources.
Consider unsweetened homemade coconut creams or alternatively view labels of all store-bought brands thoroughly before consuming/cooking with them as many additives could negate some health benefits associated with this product such as increased sugar quantities triggering blood glucose fluctuations making it less favourable for those managing diabetes-like conditions. As with most things concerning diet; balance and variety are key elements maintaining healthy eating habits long-term ensure a balanced intake approach inclusive of other protein alternates too!