Can you eat coconut flour raw?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “Can you eat coconut flour raw?” with an in-depth analysis of coconut flour, the nutritional value of coconut flour, ways to use coconut flour, along with the health benefits and risks of eating coconut flour. 

Can you eat coconut flour raw?

Yes, you can eat coconut flour raw. It is one of the best ingredients to thicken any recipe. The coconut meat used to make coconut flour is blanched, dried and heated beyond 170 degrees Fahrenheit, thus, killing all bacteria, such as Salmonella, present in the flour (2). 

However, you must know that coconut flour is high in fibre and absorbs a lot of moisture. So, if you consume it raw, it may lead to constipation, also it will not taste pleasant when eaten raw. 

Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) is a tropical crop which is considered as one of the world’s most versatile natural products. India, Indonesia, and the Philippines are the largest coconut producers. The Philippines and Indonesia produce about 56% of the total world coconut production, followed by India and Brazil (1).

What is coconut flour?

Coconut flour is made from coconut residue which is the by-product of coconut oil production. Although the amount of fat is removed through the production of oil, coconut flour still has fat components, which are mostly medium chain saturated fatty acids such as lauric acid and myristic acid. Coconut flour contains globulin amino acids, the highest fraction of protein, and 60 g of dietary fiber like hemicellulose, cellulose, and lignin, which consist of approximately 56% insoluble dietary fiber and 4% soluble dietary fiber (1).

Coconut flour is considered a low-carbohydrate gluten-free flour mostly used in raw vegan dessert recipes to add texture. It is made of dried coconut meat crushed into an ultra-fine powder. It contains good amounts of protein and is normally used for baking goods.

How to use raw coconut flour?

You can consider the following ways for using raw coconut flour:

  • Sprinkle some amount of coconut flour into the smoothies for the extra fibre and protein content and the nice tropical taste. It works especially well in smoothies containing tropical fruits such as pineapple or mango.
  • Sprinkle over the cakes for a nice finish. 
  • Use coconut flour for rolling sticky protein balls for better storage as it will prevent them from sticking together in the box.
  • Mix it into a bowl of oatmeal cereal. It will provide a naturally sweet taste as well as, it will help to thicken it slightly and add additional fibre to the breakfast.
  • Spatter some in hot soups as a solidifying agent.
  • Use coconut flour to make an instant dessert.

The nutritional profile of coconut flour

In comparison to wheat flour, coconut flour has a higher amount of fat, protein, and fibre. 

Coconut flour has a good amount of fibre, making it a suitable choice for people on vegan or vegetarian diets who are concerned about taking adequate iron.

Coconut flour contains 7.6–13.41% protein, 14% oil, 17–19.3% crude fiber, and 2.8–5% moisture (1). A 2 tablespoon serving of coconut flour provides, according to the USDA

  • Calories: 60
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 8 g
  • Fibre: 5 g
  • Sugar: 1 g
  • Iron: 10 per cent of the daily value (DV)

Although many coconut products consist of a high amount of saturated fats, coconut flour is prepared in a way that separates these fats, making it safer to have them frequently.

The health benefits of eating coconut flour

Control blood sugar. Because of its lower glycemic index, using coconut flour in baked goods in place of wheat flour could help control blood sugar levels (1).

Avoid gluten. Coconut flour can help people cure illnesses that respond positively to a gluten-free diet. Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten, is not the only disease that benefits from a gluten-free diet. Coconut flour contains no gluten and has the highest dietary fiber among any flour, therefore dietary fiber prevents the complete formation of the gluten network in dough (1).

Going gluten-free could also help people with other autoimmune disorders, such as Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Gluten may be also a triggering factor in various clinical conditions, such as ataxia, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, and fibromyalgia, which have been all associated with gluten consumption, even in the absence of an established celiac disease (3).

Promotes healthy digestion. Coconut flour might help promote digestion due to its high fibre content. It is significantly higher in fibre than wheat flour and consists of both soluble and insoluble fibre (4). 

Diets rich in fibre encourage good digestion and the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. This helps keep bowel movements regular and defends against diseases.

coconut flour boasts small amounts of soluble and other fermentable fibres, which feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut.

In turn, these bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids such as acetate, propionate, and butyrate, all of which nourish your gut cells.

Short-chain fatty acids may also decrease swelling and symptoms linked to gut disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) (5). 

Lose weight. Naturally occurring dietary fibre to promote weight loss. The high content of fibre in coconut flour can help you feel full for longer, boost your energy levels, and reduce your appetite. 

People who suffer from obesity might experience an even greater effect when eating more fibre.

Promotes heart health. An increase in fibre intake is beneficial for heart health as it lowers blood pressure and serum cholesterol levels thus reducing the risk of stroke and hypertension. Coconut meal was shown to lower the serum cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels thus reducing the risk of coronary heart diseases (4).

Coconut flour consists of lauric acid, a type of fat that helps kill the bacteria accountable for plaque accumulation in the arteries. This plaque is linked with heart disease. 

Risks associated with eating coconut flour 

Although coconut flour consists of many healthy nutrients, it is also rich in salicylates, which are natural compounds also found in citrus fruits and berries. However, coconut contains a small amount of salicylates (6).

Some people may have sensitivitymay sensitivitybe allergic to salicylates resulting in headaches or skin conditions. So while coconut in any form is harmless for most people, those who are susceptible to salicylates should not consume it.

Other FAQs about Flour that you may be interested in.

What can I substitute for lupin flour?

What can I substitute for quinoa flour?

What can I substitute for rice flour?

Conclusion 

In this brief guide, we have answered the question, “Can you eat coconut flour raw?” with an in-depth analysis of coconut flour, the nutritional value of coconut flour, ways to use coconut flour, along with the health benefits and risks of eating coconut flour. 

References

  1. Jiamjariyatam, Rossaporn, Piyanuch Roskhrua, and Suriya Attiwittayaporn. Effect of Coconut Flour on Biscuit Quality. J Culinary Sci Technol, 2022, 20, 278-292.
  2. Bawalan, Divina D. The economics of production, utilization and marketing of coconut flour from coconut milk residue. CORD, 2000, 16, 34-34.  
  3. Bruzzese, V., P. Scolieri, and J. Pepe. Efficacy of gluten-free diet in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Reumat, 2020, 72, 213-217.
  4. Karandeep, Kaur, et al. Coconut meal: Nutraceutical importance and food industry application. Foods Raw mat, 2019, 7, 419-427.  
  5. Parada Venegas, Daniela, et al. Short chain fatty acids (SCFAs)-mediated gut epithelial and immune regulation and its relevance for inflammatory bowel diseases. Front immunol, 2019,: 277.
  6. Swain, Anne R., Stephen P. Dutton, and A. Stewart Truswell. Salicylates in foods. J Am Diet Assoc, 1985, 85, 950-960.