The three indentations characteristic to coconuts represent the eyes and nose, and as such the coconut derived its name from the Portugese word for ‘head’. Coconuts are part of the drupe family like apricots, olives and plums. Coconut meat is high in fibre, rich in minerals, and is high in healthy fats such as medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
The various health benefits of coconut meat include reducing the risk of heart disease by modulating cholesterol profiles, improving satiety and supporting weight loss, supporting a healthy microbiome, enhancing brain function and stabilising blood glucose levels. It's easy to underestimate the protective effects of this humble dried fruit.
Coconut flakes are different to desiccated or shredded coconut, in that they are larger pieces of shaved coconut meat that have been naturally dried. They can be great as a stand-alone snack, used to make your own bounty bars or to decorate a coconut cake.
When eaten raw they have a slightly chewy and firm texture, yet when roasted their coconutty-ness is amplified! Yes - they can be added to smoothie bowls, homemade muesli bars and a trail mix. Also yes - they can be chopped up and added to a coconut curry or an Asian salad. Wherever you might use chopped nuts, you could use coconut flakes.
I didn’t think there’d be any published data on coconut flakes, but sure enough I found it. Trinidad et al. (2004) conducted a double-blind randomised study, in which 21 people with moderately high cholesterol levels participated. They assessed the health benefits of coconut dietary fibre from coconut flakes.
Interestingly, both LDL cholesterol and serum triglyceride levels were reduced following coconut flake consumption. The researchers suggest this may be due to the soluble and insoluble fibre contained within dried coconut,
making it a healthful addition to the diet, supporting cardiovascular health.
Here’s a little snack idea that I’m sure everyone in your neighbourhood, wherever that may be - will love!
Spiced Savoury Coconut Flakes
- 1 cup unsweetened raw Coconut Flakes
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. paprika
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 tsps. melted coconut oil
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and line a baking sheet with baking paper
- Put the coconut flakes in a ziplock bag, add seasonings, seal and shake
- Add coconut oil and shake again, ensuring flakes are evenly coated.
- Spread coconut flakes onto the baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, mix once
with spatula to bake evenly.
- Once baked remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
- Store in an airtight container, or enjoy immediately.
Adkins S.W., M. Foale and Y.M.S. Samosir (eds.) (2006). Coconut revival – new possibilities
for the ‘tree of life’. Proceedings of the International Coconut Forum held in Cairns,
Australia, November 22–24, 2005. ACIAR Proceedings No. 125. ISBN 1-86320-515-2
Lew, Christopher. "Tracing the origin of the coconut (Cocos nucifera L.)" (PDF). Prized Writing
2018-2019. University of California, Davis: 143–157,
Trinidad, T. P., Loyola, A. S., Mallillin, A. C., Valdez, D. H., Askali, F. C., Castillo, J. C., Resaba, R.
L., & Masa, D. B. (2004). The cholesterol-lowering effect of coconut flakes in humans with
moderately raised serum cholesterol. Journal of medicinal food, 7(2), 136–140.
Coco, Origin and meaning of coco by Online Etymology Dictionary, viewed 30 April 2021,