Coconut Butter: History, Flavor, Benefits, Uses

Coconut butter is a product made with the fruit of the coconut tree. The meat of the coconut fruit contains a lot of oil, which is what accounts for coconut butter’s spreadable consistency. Coconut oil is the main component of coconut butter and has been used for food for thousands of years. It has been used in Ayurvedic medicine since at least 1500 BCE. Coconut oil is heavily used in parts of India, Sri Lanka, and Polynesia.

In the past, the term coconut butter was used when referring to pure coconut oil. Right after World War II, coconut oil was sold in the US as coconut butter. The product sold as coconut butter today is different, though it is still mostly coconut oil. Modern coconut butter is a product similar to nut butters in that it includes both the meat of the coconut as well as the oil. Pure coconut oil contains none of the coconut meat.

Coconut butter flavor profile

Because it is made from the oil and meat of the coconut, coconut butter has its sweetness and nuttiness. The coconut flavor is more intense than in unrefined coconut oil. Because coconut oil has a high melting point and is solid at low room temperatures (below 78 degrees Fahrenheit (25.56 °C)) coconut butter can have a similar creamy mouthfeel to nut butters like peanut butter. Peanut butter is often stabilized with palm oil, which is similar to coconut butter and is also semisolid at room temperature.

Health benefits

Like nut butters, coconut butter is renowned for its extensive health benefits. Coconut butter can boost health by providing nutrients like:

  • Minerals: Coconut butter is a good source of various minerals, including iron and calcium.
  • Fiber: Because it includes the meat of the coconut, coconut butter is a good source of fiber.

By eating coconut butter, you can help to treat or prevent health problems like:

  • Obesity: Because coconut butter is largely made up of coconut oil (a medium-chain fatty acid), your body burns it as fuel before using long-chain fatty acids. As a result, it is less likely to contribute to weight gain compared to other fats like olive oil.
  • Poor immunity: Researchers believe that the lauric acid in coconut butter can help to strengthen your immune system.
  • Viral infections: Coconut butter’s lauric acid can help to fight viral infections like those caused by herpes and influenza viruses.
  • High cholesterol: Coconut butter is believed to help raise levels of good cholesterol, contrary to older studies claiming that its saturated fat content made it bad for heart health.
  • Diabetes: The fiber in coconut butter can help to prevent blood sugar spikes, which can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.

Health concerns

While coconut butter can help you lose weight, remember that it is a calorie-dense food with about the same number of calories as peanut butter. Consume it in moderation.

Common Uses

Use coconut butter as a spread for bread and crackers, as a topping for waffles or pancakes, and as a way to make your vegan smoothies creamier. Coconut butter can be used to make vegan ice cream. It pairs very well with chocolate, so you can make vegan fudge with it.

It is also a great addition to other dessert recipes, where it can stand in for nut butters and dairy butter. Some people use it in coffee as an alternative to cream. Supposedly, it allows the energy from caffeine to last longer by slowing digestion.

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