Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Trends
Coconut Manna™ – healthy choice?
Visit any natural food store today, and there probably will be an explosion of coconut-based products on the shelves. Companies are cashing in on early research that indicates that coconuts may have anti-inflammatory properties.
Coconut Manna is a trademarked product sold under the Nutiva brand line. Coconut Manna is to coconuts what peanut butter is to peanuts: It’s milled coconut mixed with coconut oil. On the surface, coconut butter is similar to peanut butter as it relates to calories, total fat and fiber content per serving, but the difference lies in the type of fat coconut butter provides
“Peanut butter is low in saturated fat and high in mono and polyunsaturated fats – making it a great choice to boost a healthy diet. Coconut butter, on the other hand, is high in saturated fats, and the American Heart Association (AHA) cautions all of us to limit our consumption of saturated fats,” says Susan Mills-Gray, nutrition and health specialist with University of Missouri Extension. The AHA recommends limiting saturated fat to less than 7 percent of a person’s total daily calories – that’s about 16 grams per day for the average person.
Coconut Manna is so high in saturated fat that it has to be warm to be able to spread it. Mills-Gray adds, “One tablespoon contains eight grams of saturated fat – and that’s a lot!” If people stick with AHA guidelines of limiting saturated fat, one tablespoon of Coconut Manna would provide about one-half of your daily allotment. If someone enjoys coconut butter, it’s best to use it in small and less frequent amounts.
“Claims that coconut butter products prevent cancer and diabetes are unfounded,” Mills-Gray says, “and this product tends to be expensive, almost $9.00 for 15 ounces.”
For more information, contact your local MU Extension Center or Mills-Gray directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
American Heart Association
Environmental Nutrition, August 2011
Last update: Wednesday, March 21, 2012