In recent years, coconut has stolen the spotlight. We all know the benefits of its oil, milk, and water. But what about coconut flour? This health food is made from coconut meat. When the oil is extracted, the leftover residue is milled into a powder. The result is coconut meal, also known as coconut flour.
It’s typically used in animal feed. However, it’s so nutritious that coconut flour has made its way into human diets.1
What makes it so great? Here are five benefits of coconut flour, and how to use it.
5 Benefits Of Coconut Flour
1. Promotes Healthy Bowel Movements
If you’re prone to constipation, eat more coconut flour. It’s a rich source of dietary fiber.2 This nutrient will bulk up your stools, making it easier to pass the bowel.
Two tablespoons of coconut flour contain 6 grams of fiber.3 For such a small serving, it’s a decent chunk of the recommended 20 to 30 grams a day.
Other fiber-rich foods include whole grains, beans, nuts, fruits, and veggies. But make sure to increase your fiber intake slowly. Eating too much too fast will cause constipation.4
2. Reduces Blood Cholesterol
Is your cholesterol too high? The fiber in coconut flour can help. It works by trapping bile – a digestive liquid that’s partly made of cholesterol. When you excrete stool, both fiber and bile leave the body.
Yet, your body needs bile for digestion, so it breaks down “bad” LDL cholesterol to make more. In turn, LDL and total cholesterol levels improve.5
By lowering your cholesterol, you’ll protect yourself against heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. In fact, your risk for heart disease will be cut in half.6
3. Prevents And Manages Diabetes
The fiber content of coconut flour may prevent diabetes. When added to baked goods, it lowers the glycemic index of the food.7 Plus, the body doesn’t break down fiber, so your blood glucose won’t spike.
And if you already have type-1 or type-2 diabetes? Coconut flour can still help. Remember, it doesn’t affect blood sugar. This means it’ll keep your levels within a normal range – the main goal of diabetes management.8
4. Decreases Colon Cancer Risk
Coconut flour might even ward off colon cancer. It’s all thanks to the fiber, of course! With healthy bowel movements, you’ll have a healthier digestive system. The fiber will keep the wastes and toxins moving out.
In the gut, fiber also protects bacterial balance. It’s basically your immune system’s first line of defense.9
Oxidative stress encourages the cancer cell growth, but lauric acid will save the day. This fat has the ability to kill colon cancer cells induced by oxidative stress.10 Luckily, more than half of the coconut flour’s fat is lauric acid.11
5. Reduces Breast Cancer Risk
To top it off, coconut flour may also combat breast cancer. The fiber works by reducing C-reactive protein – a biomarker of inflammation. With lower CRP levels, inflammation takes a back seat.
Patients with breast cancer will also benefit. Fiber prevents recurrence and improves mortality, offering an amazing dose of protection.12
How To Use
Coconut flour works well in batters for fish, chicken, or tofu. Simply dip the protein in coconut flour, egg, and breadcrumbs – in that order. Cook as usual.
In baked goods, you’ll need a little more mental work. There’s a right way to mix it in.
Take your favorite recipe and replace 10 to 20 percent of the original flour with coconut flour. Don’t substitute all of it. Add the remaining dry ingredients to the flour, and mix well.
In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Double the eggs or water – not both.
To be safe, try recipes that specifically need coconut flour. This is a great way to learn how coconut flour works. Over time, you’ll be able to add it to your own recipes.
|↑1, ↑2, ↑11||Srivastava, Yashi, and Anil Dutt Semwal. “Effect of virgin coconut meal (VCM) on the rheological, micro-structure and baking properties of cake and batter.” Journal of food science and technology 52, no. 12 (2015): 8122-8130.|
|↑3||45039325, KING ARTHUR FLOUR, COCONUT FLOUR, UPC: 071012107025. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑4||Fiber. Harvard T.H. Chan, School of Public Health.|
|↑5||Lambeau, Kellen V., and Johnson W. McRorie. “Fiber supplements and clinically proven health benefits: How to recognize and recommend an effective fiber therapy.” Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (2017).|
|↑6||High Cholesterol Facts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑7||Trinidad, Trinidad P., Divinagracia H. Valdez, Anacleta S. Loyola, Aida C. Mallillin, Faridah C. Askali, Joan C. Castillo, and Dina B. Masa. “Glycaemic index of different coconut (Cocos nucifera)-flour products in normal and diabetic subjects.” British Journal of Nutrition 90, no. 03 (2003): 551-556.|
|↑8||How Does Fiber Affect Blood Glucose Levels? Joslin Diabetes Center.|
|↑9||Birt, Diane F., and Gregory J. Phillips. “Diet, genes, and microbes: complexities of colon cancer prevention.” Toxicologic pathology 42, no. 1 (2014): 182-188.|
|↑10||Fauser, J. K., G. M. Matthews, A. G. Cummins, and G. S. Howarth. “Induction of apoptosis by the medium-chain length fatty acid lauric acid in colon cancer cells due to induction of oxidative stress.” Chemotherapy 59, no. 3 (2013): 214-224.|
|↑12||Villaseñor, Adriana, Anita Ambs, Rachel Ballard-Barbash, Kathy B. Baumgartner, Anne McTiernan, Cornelia M. Ulrich, and Marian L. Neuhouser. “Dietary fiber is associated with circulating concentrations of C-reactive protein in breast cancer survivors: the HEAL study.” Breast cancer research and treatment 129, no. 2 (2011): 485-494.|