We really love coconuts and not just because they make for a great ingredient in many recipes such as our coconut mousse, brownies and coconut smoothies – what is there to love? In this post, we will delve into some of its benefits!
Non-surprisingly, the coconut has been consumed, as a nutritious source of oil, raw meat, juice and milk, for thousands of years.
Before listing benefits of the coconut, it is worth telling you about a myth: “coconuts contain high levels of bad saturated fat and increase cholesterol”.
Although it is true that coconuts contain high levels of saturated fat (90%), coconuts do not contain the average saturated fat that you would find in cheese and meat. Saturated fatty acids can be short chain fatty acids (SCFA), medium chain fatty acids (MCFA), and long chain fatty acids (LCFA). Coconuts are mostly composed of medium chain fatty acids (MCFA), also known as medium chain triglycerides (MCT).
The size of the fatty acid is important because our bodies respond and metabolize differently to each size of fatty acid. MCFA’s go straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they are used as a quick source of energy or turned into so-called ketone bodies, not only lessening the likelihood of fat build-up in the arteries and heart but also invigorating therapeutic effects on brain disorders like Epilepsy and Alzheimer.
Both the saturated and unsaturated fats found in non-organic / free range dairy and meat as well as plants (including most vegetable oils) are composed of LCFA, which are unfortunately heavily incorporated into our diet. Eating these fats in large quantities is harmful to the body.
Now we know that coconuts do not contain bad fats; let’s look at its benefits.
THE BENEFITS OF COCONUT
Coconut contains powerful medicinal properties. It is said that symptoms of Alzheimer can be reduced due to the ketone bodies supplying energy to the brain after consuming coconut. It is also said that consuming coconut reduces the risks associated with diabetes due to its low GI levels . Saturated fats, found in coconut raise HDL (the good) cholesterol. Also, due to its high level of lauric acid, it fights off bacterial infections and viruses.
Coconut can increase energy expenditure by boosting metabolism, helping you to burn more fat, leading to fat loss. Consuming coconut also improves digestion, and 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.
Healthy teeth and bones
Consuming coconut 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 in which the bones become thin and fragile and lose their density. This makes coconut a good and healthy alternative for those who are lactose intolerant. Those who prefer a vegan diet can benefit from consuming coconut as a good source of protein and fatty acids.
Coconut contains many nutrients such as dietary fibre (approximately 60%), vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It has tons of calcium, potassium, and magnesium, as well as plenty of electrolytes.
A great food for athletes
Coconut is utilized by the body to produce energy, rather than to store it as body fat, and can therefore provide a quick energy boost. Coconut supports improved endurance. Coconut also promotes healthy thyroid function and helps to relieve the symptoms of chronic fatigue. Additionally, coconut reduces inflammation and supports tissue healing and repair.
Coconut oil is said to protect hair, moisturize and protect the skin from sun.
If you want to enjoy the health benefits of coconut oil, make sure to choose organic virgin coconut oil and not the refined stuff.
HOW TO INCORPORATE CONSUMING COCONUT INTO YOUR DAILY DIET
- Coconut water: you can drink this all day round and especially during or after exercise to replenish the body.
- Coconut meat: eating it as a snack, as a topping in your breakfast bowl or mixing it into a juice.
- Coconut milk: use its silky milk when cooking.
- Coconut oil: use its rich oil in cooking (it does not form damaging side effects when heated, unlike many other vegetable oils) and use the oil as skin and hair protector moisturizer.
Fun fact: the scientific name for coconut is Cocos nucifera. The Spanish, who were one of the early explores of the coconut called it coco, meaning “monkey face”, as the hairy brown nut with its three grooves (seen as eyes) were seen as a monkey face.
 The glycemic index measures how fast available carbohydrates in food raise blood sugar levels. 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. Coconut also assists in relieving stress on the pancreas and enzyme systems of the body, in turn, reducing the risk associated with diabetes. The healthy fat in coconut slows down any rise in blood sugar and helps to reduce hypoglycaemic cravings.