Coconuts – The Ultimate Super Food
Are Coconuts the Secret to Optimal Health?
Back in the day when I was young I didn’t like coconut.
Because I didn’t like bounty bars, the texture and flavour was just awful. So from then on I just decided that I hated coconut.
That truth stayed with me for 20 years until I was offered some fresh coconut after some scuba diving and never looked back.
Since then I have used it extensively because of how beneficial it is to our health and so I thought I would share this with you in this article.
Now coconut is available in many different products these days (oil, water, milk etc) and all of it is excellent for you.
In fact I would call it a food of the gods, a true super food with many many health properties.
So can this humble fruit really be a complete superfood that can help prevent heart disease and enhance restorative health? Lets find out…
So why is it so good for you?
It has a unique combination of fatty acids that can have some incredible benefits including
- fat loss
- improved brain function
- Stabilize Blood Sugar
- Regulate Hormones
- Increase thyroid production
- Fight infections
- Kill viruses
- Kill bacteria
- Help with brain development
and a whole host of other stuff having a positive impact on our health. It has even been used for blood transfusions as it closely mirrors the properties of our blood!
So I wanted to share with you why you shouldn’t be without it
For a long time coconuts were deemed bad for us by the anti-fat brigade as they contain saturated fat. The myth that fat makes you fat has long since been debunked, however to the uninitiated these rumours still linger on and so confusion still ensues.
The thing is, despite having almost 90% saturated fats they come in the form of medium chain Triglycerides or MCT’s. Unlike normal saturated fats from say meat, MCT’s are metabolised differently. They go straight to the liver where they can be used as a quick source of energy. That is why having a spoonful of coconut oil helps with carb cravings. Not only that but they can also have therapeutic effects on several brain disorders.
Health Benefits of Coconuts
Straight out of the gate. For those of you who are allergic to nuts and think you cannot eat coconut…
Coconuts ain’t nuts, they are a fruit!
Even though the western diet is just now embracing coconuts and all of its guises (coconut meat, coconut oil, coconut water, coconut milk, coconut flour etc), it has been used in some parts of the world as a staple of the diet for various civilisations for centuries and all report excellent health and no evidence of heart disease. In fact these populations have thrived!
Whether you’re eating the meat, drinking the juice, or consuming it as oil, coconuts are a delicious and nutritious source of fibre, vitamins (C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6) and minerals (iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous). This makes them excellent for all round health health.
Lets look at the various ways we can use coconuts and their properties and see why it is so beneficial…
Coconut oil is ideal for all sorts of cooking and baking, as it can withstand higher temperatures without being damaged. Many oils have a low ‘smoke point’ where they are damaged quickly by heat (vegetable oil, for example, should not be used for cooking for this reason).
Healthy Immune System.
Coconut oil is made up of healthy fats lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid which contain antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral properties to boost the immune system. Lauric acid contains the highest concentration of MCTs, approximately 75%. The body turns this fat into monolaurin, proven to be an effective antibacterial and antiviral agent, which is claimed to help treat some of the most resilient of illnesses such as influenza, cytomegalovirus, helicobacter pylori, urinary tract infections, bronchitis and candida.
Coconut oil therefore helps protect the body from infections, viruses and diseases
Coconut oil can also be applied in other ways that doesn’t even involve it being ingested.
The oil is excellent for protecting your skin and has antioxidant properties, slowing down free radical damage and aging and can be used to treat skin conditions including eczema, psoriasis and dermatosis. This provides an excellent alternative to using cosmetics full of chemicals.
Studies on individuals with dry skin show that coconut oil can improve the moisture of the skin, can be very protective against hair damage and studies have shown effectiveness as sunscreen, blocking about 20% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Better mineral absorption
Eating coconuts also supports the development of strong, healthy bones and teeth. It does this by improving the body’s ability to absorb calcium and magnesium. It also prevents osteoporosis, a condition which leaves bones thin and fragile and lose their density.
Coconut milk is made from a brew of coconut meat and water. Rich and thick and more like cream than milk. You can also get a thinner consistency version created to be used as a milk substitute too and as a refreshing drink.
Unlike cow’s milk, coconut milk is lactose free so can be used as a milk substitute by those with lactose intolerance. It is a popular choice with vegans and makes a great base for smoothies, milkshakes or as a dairy alternative in baking.
It is also a great alternative to human breast milk as it is high in fat and contains a lot of the same properties for babies to thrive on.
The great thing about coconut water is that it is an all-natural way to hydrate, reduce sodium, and add potassium to your diet. Dubbed nature’s sports drink, it gives all the benefits of a sports drink without the sugar and other often unnecessary ingredients.
It still has some carbohydrates which are completely natural and easily absorbed to replenish depleted stores after a training session as well as containing electrolytes to balance lost fluids.
Most people don’t get enough potassium in their diets because they don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, so coconut water can help fill in the nutritional gaps.
Coconut water is a nutritious and relatively low-calorie way to add potassium to your diet and keep you well-hydrated if your budget allows it.
Coconuts are a natural water filter and takes almost 9 months for a coconut to filter every quart of water stored within its shell. This makes the resulting coconut water completely pure and sterile, which is one reason why it can be used for blood transfusions.
Coconut flour is a healthy way to add coconut flavour to baked goods. It also gives you an alternative to wheat, which contains gluten. Gluten can be an intestinal irritant to a lot of people and so it is wise to substitute it.
Coconut flour provides a great alternative as it contains a lot of fibre and has health benefits for people with diabetes, too: adding coconut flour to baked goods lowers the glycaemic index.
Lastly, lets not forget the meat of the coconut.
Coconut meat is perfect for low carb diets and is crammed with fibre, needed for good digestion. On the flip side, coconut meat is the nutritional opposite of what you’d expect from a fruit: It has a higher fat content than carbs, but as mentioned before, these are good fats and essential for our health.
You can buy in several forms. From a fresh whole coconut to dried and flaked.
Why you should add Coconut to your Diet…
There are so many things coconuts can help with it is hard to justify why you shouldn’t have some form at least daily. Lets break down the benefits coconuts are to your health
- Prevents Obesity – It helps Prevent Obesity by speeding up your metabolism, providing an immediate source of energy with fewer calories than other fats. People who consistently use coconut products, report a stronger ability to go without eating for several hours with no effects of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar)
- Improves Heart Health – providing healthy medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s) that are essential to good health. Helps to lower the risk of atherosclerosis and protect against heart disease. Studies have shown that populations in Polynesia and Sri Lanka, where coconuts are a dietary staple, do not suffer from heart disease. Unlike other fats, the unique properties of coconut also contain a large amount of lauric acid, which is the predominant fatty acid found in a human mother’s milk.
- Improved Digestion– Many of the symptoms and inflammatory conditions associated with digestive and bowel disorders, by supporting absorption of other nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids while also providing beneficial dietary fibre.
- High in Dietary Fibre –rivalling other fibre sources. Coconut supplies an impressive 61% dietary fibre!
- Reduces Sweet Cravings –Coconuts improve insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose. The healthy fat in coconut slows down any rise in blood sugar and helps to reduce hypoglycaemic (low blood sugar) cravings.
- Low Glycaemic Index (GI) – Coconut fibre slows down the release of glucose, therefore requiring less insulin to utilize the glucose and transport it into the cell where it is converted into energy.
- Healing Properties – Coconut contains No Trans-Fats, is Gluten-Free, Non-Toxic, Hypoallergenic, and also contains Antibacterial, Antiviral, Antifungal, and Anti-parasitic healing properties. Coconut helps to aid and support overall Immune System functions.
- Brain Health. Helps prevent strokes and other brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
- Quick Energy Boost – Coconut provides a super nutritious source of extra energy. It is utilized by the body to actually produce energy, rather than to store it as body fat. It supports improved endurance during physical and athletic performance. As well as promoting healthy thyroid function and helps to relieve the symptoms of chronic fatigue.
With so many positive properties, coconuts are truly a super food and should be added to your diet daily. From cooking in coconut oil, to using coconut water to rehydrate and using coconut milk as a healthy alternative to cows milk, there are dozens of reasons why this should be at the top of your list for healthy options to buy.
To your strength and Health