Is Creamed Coconut Paleo?

creamed-coconut-e1458667618365-291x300.jpgCreamed coconut is a semi-solid block of coconut paste made from ground, dehydrated coconut meat. It differs from coconut cream in that it has no added water and is highly concentrated.  A block of creamed coconut can be broken up into pieces and used to thicken and flavor to curries, sauces, stir-frys, soups, desserts, blended drinks and smoothies.  Should you eat creamed coconut?  Is creamed coconut Paleo?

Nutritional Value of Creamed Coconut

Serving Size: 1 Tablespoon (28g)

  • Calories: 190
  • Total Fat: 18g
  • Saturated Fat: 16g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: .8g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: .2 g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Lauric Acid: 4g
  • Carbohydrate: 7g
  • Protein: 2g
  • Sodium: 10mg
  • Fiber: 5g

Health Benefits of Creamed Coconut

Creamed coconut has all the nutritional components of coconut meat and therefore, all the health benefits. An excellent source of minerals, namely manganese, iron, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, potassium and zinc canned coconut cream also contains B-vitamins including folate, thiamin, vitamin B6, niacin, and pantothenic acid.

Ninety percent of coconut fat is saturated the majority of which is in the form of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs). MCFAs are associated with many health benefits:

  • Increased HDL cholesterol
  • Immediate source of energy
  • Increased satiety
  • Increased metabolic rate
  • Easily digestible
  • Improved memory in Alzheimer’s patients via ketones
  • Improvement of uncontrolled seizures in children via ketones

Special MCFAs in coconut namely lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid are antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal. Additionally, phenolic compounds in coconut act as antioxidants.

Are there any downsides to creamed coconut?

Some people definitely react negatively to coconut products. The ability of MCFAs to form ketones might actually be problematic for those sensitive to yeast or prone to yeast infections.  Yeasts have a high affinity for ketones, even higher than for sugar and a high intake of MCFAs may aggravate symptoms.

Furthermore, some people have difficulty fully absorbing fructose and although the amount of fructose in creamed coconut is very small it may cause symptoms of GI distress in those with IBS, IBD, SIBO or FODMAP intolerance.

creamed-coconut1-300x225.jpgWhere To Buy Creamed Coconut

You’re most likely to find creamed coconut in natural foods stores and in ethnic groceries that cater to Cuban, Jamaican, Indian and Southeast Asian cuisine. Creamed coconut is also available online.

Is Creamed Coconut Paleo?

Paleo emphases the sourcing of fresh, whole foods that remain in their natural state, or as close to it as possible, on their journey from farm to table. When a food is known to have nutritional benefits but some processing is required, Paleo emphasizes that it be minimal.  Look for brands of creamed coconut that contain dehydrated coconut and nothing else in the ingredients.  Buy organic creamed coconut for highest quality.

Sally Barden Johnson

Sally Johnson, RDN, LD is a registered and licensed dietitian and health coach. She is an avid CrossFitter and enjoys working with clients to find the best nutritional solutions within a Paleo/Primal framework to solve their health issues. She also enjoys spending time with her family. She can be found on Instagram at instagram.com/sallyjohnsonrd.