New Delhi: You probably have tried or eaten this popular Indian dessert – coconut barfi – especially if you are fond of coconuts. This delightful dessert makes for a perfect recipe when you want something that’s not just sweet and satisfying, but it is also healthy. Coconuts are a versatile and nutritious fruit that can offer major health benefits such as supporting weight loss and improving your cholesterol level.
Coconuts are increasingly popular because of their flavour, culinary uses, and potential health benefits. The ingredient is extensively used in South Indian cuisine – from chutneys, sauces, curries to desserts. Perhaps, the coconut hype is just increasing, whether it’s the water, milk, oil or cream. They might seem like the same to the uninformed, although they’re different in terms of how they’re used and health benefits. Learn more about coconut barfi as nutritionist and wellness coach Avni Kaul gives us deeper insight into the nutritional content of the popular Indian dessert.
What is coconut barfi? Nutrition facts
Coconut barfi is a popular Indian sweet made from grated coconut, cardamom, milk, and sugar or jaggery. It has three popular variants that are made either with jaggery or milk or condensed milk. Coconut contains a considerable amount of healthy minerals like manganese, copper, and iron. It is also a good source of proteins, fibre, and good fats.
What are the health benefits of coconut barfi?
Homemade coconut barfi is packed with many health benefits. Its main ingredient, coconut, is rich in dietary fibre, manganese, copper, iron, and healthy fats. Some health benefits of eating coconut barfi include:
- It may help treat anaemia: Coconut is rich in iron, which plays an important role in the production of haemoglobin. Hence, coconut barfi can prove beneficial for people with anaemic conditions.
- It can boost brain health: It is believed that coconut can boost the production of neurotransmitters as well as myelin, which helps in transmitting electrical signals that come from or to the brain more efficiently. Thus, adding coconut to your diet can boost brain health and help people suffering from neurological issues like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- It can improve bowel movement: This sweet dish can help people who are suffering from constipation and irregular bowel movement due to the rich fibre content in coconut. Coconut is low in carbs but high in fibre, so, it may help stabilise blood sugar levels.
Can you eat coconut barfi on a weight loss diet?
Yes, if the coconut barfi is made from home with freshly grated coconut and jaggery instead of refined sugar. Also, much of the fat in coconut comes in the form of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which may help you lose excess body fat. So, it is unlikely that having the sweet dish will impact your weight loss, if it’s taken in moderate quantity and occasionally.
The bottom line
The fact is, sweets are identified as a major factor for weight gain. They can cause a spike in sugar level in the body and increase bad cholesterol. This is especially true for a lot of sweets that are made with maida (refined flour), vanaspati, refined sugar and generally, are deep-fried and are soaked in sugar syrups. So, no matter how much you love sweet dishes, remember, moderation is the key here.
Always opt for homemade coconut barfi prepared using healthy ingredients like jaggery loaded with antioxidants and other nutrients, instead of commercially made barfi that may contain excess amounts of vanaspati and sugar. Also, people with certain health conditions like diabetes or obesity are advised to consult a medical expert prior to taking any sweet dish.