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Health benefits of coconut flour

 Nelly Favis-Villafuerte

Nelly Favis-Villafuerte

Nowadays, people are talking about coconut flour. Especially health-conscious people.

Let me share with you some basic information about coconut flour. I got the information from “Coconut Philippines”, a 550-page full color reference guidebook (size 9” by 12” with 1,300 colored pictures and illustrations printed in Singapore) being marketed abroad and locally in various bookstores here in Metro Manila and in the provinces.

The author of the handbook-coffee table is Lalaine V. Abonal – my own daughter who earlier also authored Abaca Philippines, a 300-page full color reference guidebook on abaca plants, products and by-products.

• Do you know that coconut flour is produced from “sapal”, referred to as a coconut residue. “Sapal” is the state of the coconut meat after the coconut milk has been extracted out of it. After the coconut milk has been squeezed out of the coconut meat, the “wet sapal” or “coconut meat residue” is normally thrown away as waste. However, a technology was developed which promotes the waste minimization of the “sapal” by converting and utilizing the ‘coconut reside’ into a high-value coconut flour product.

• Do you know that coconut flour has a high fiber content compared with other flours – it contains the highest percentage of dietary fiber. Sixty-one percent (61%) of coconut flour consists of fiber with water, protein, fat and carbohydrate making up the remaining thirty-nine percent (39%). Coconut flour has 4 times (4x) as much fiber than oat bran or soy flour; more than twice (2x) as much fiber as wheat bran; about 20 times (20x) as much fiber compared with
enriched white flour. Coconut flour is an excellent source of calorie-free, health promoting dietary fiber.

• Do you know that numerous studies have shown that dietary fiber protects against heart attacks and strokes. Some forms of fiber such as those found in coconut flour helps reduce cholesterol. Modest increases in fiber intake can also result in a significant decrease in blood pressure. The United States Surgeon General and the Professional Health Association are widely advocating the daily consumption of 20 to 35 grams of dietary fiber to promote a healthier cardiovascular and digestive systems. John Hopkins Medical Center is one of those institutions that included the increase intake of dietary fiber in the diet as part of their cardiac rehabilitation protocol.

• Do you know that one of the consequences of not having enough fiber in the diet is constipation. The high insoluble fiber in coconut flour will be ideal in preventing constipation. One source of dietary fiber is the coconut flour. Fiber definitely promotes good health as it prevents and treats a host of other diseases.

• Do you know that the high fiber content of coconut flour is fermentable and produces high amounts of butyric acid which helps in inhibiting tumor formation. Not all seeds and grains contain butyric acid but coconut does. Butyric acid is a cancer fighter. Lab studies have shown that it can slow the growth of tumor cells and prompt all cells to develop more normally. Coconut fiber not only removes carcinogenic toxins out of the intestinal tract, it helps prevent conditions that promote cancer. Good bacteria flourish when we eat high-fiber foods.

• Do you know that coconut fiber has been shown to be very effective in moderating blood sugar and insulin levels. It was discovered in a research study conducted on normal and diabetic human subject spear-headed by Dr. Trinidad T. Trinidad of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Philippine Department of Science and Technology (in collaboration with the Philippine Coconut Authority) that increasing levels of coconut flour in the bakery products resulted in lowering the glycemic index of the food and keeps blood sugar levels under control. The fiber in coconut flour can have great significance in the proper control and management of diabetes mellitus and the maintenance of weight. Foods rich in dietary fiber are low glycemic index foods. Dietary fiber helps moderate swings in blood sugar by slowing down the absorption of sugar into the blood stream. People with diabetes are much more prone to heart disease than those without diabetes. Dietary fiber such as the fiber in coconut flour is known to increase insulin sensitivity, thus reducing symptoms associated with diabetes, and consequently, the risk of heart disease.

• Do you know that most if not all fibers made from seeds and grains (example – flax seed, soybeans, wheat, oats) contain phytic acid. Phytic acid binds to minerals which includes calcium, zinc and iron and pulls them out of the body, reducing mineral absorption which can lead to mineral deficiencies. Coconut fiber does not contain the mineral – robbing phytic acid and does not interfere with mineral absorption but on the contrary coconut fiber from the flour will improve mineral status. Coconut is a good source of many trace minerals as coconuts normally grow in mineral rich volcanic soils. These soils are enriched by minerals from sea water. Sea water contains a complete mixture of all the trace minerals needed by the human body. ( To be continued)

Have a joyful day!

(For comments/reactions please send to Ms. Villafuerte’s email:

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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