It may seem strange to many people, but that hard shelled exceptionally large seed from the coconut palm is actually one of nature’s most healthy foods. That’s right coconut not only tastes good, but is also exceptionally good for you. Best of all, it doesn’t matter whether you eat the meat of the coconut, drink the water or even cook with coconut milk, it all has health benefits. Let’s look at these benefits in terms of each of the different products made from coconut.
Coconut Oil is derived from the meat of the coconut and it can help beat sugar cravings and aid weight loss. Coconut oil can be used in a variety of cooking applications and can also be found in skin care products. The health benefits of coconut oil include:
• Helps the body resist viruses and bacteria that cause illness
• Helps prevent yeast infections/Candida
• Helps improve insulin and control blood sugar levels
• Improves digestive health (for those not sensitive)
• Provides a variety of anti-oxidants that help to fight off diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and more.
• Can help get you into a fat burning state (ketosis) useful for weight loss and alzheimers disease
• Can aid in weight loss
• Improves skin, keeping it moisturized and helping to slow the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
• Makes for healthy shining hair
Coconut oil is easy to use, and can be used in place of other types of oil in cooking. It works especially well when used to cook bitter tasting greens such as kale. While Coconut oil is high in saturated fats, these fats are not the same as the saturated fats found in meat. Meat has long chain triglycerides, and coconut oil has medium chain triglycerides (MTCs). Our bodies convert these MCTs to energy rather than storing them as fat.
Coconut oil has been found to help those suffering from digestive disorders like IBS constipation and those with yeast overgrowth and bacterial infections like SIBO. The oil has antimicrobial properties and can help us create a healthy microbiome in the gut. Those with salicylate sensitivity needs to avoid coconut products though as they are high in salicylates.
Raw coconut meat has all the health benefits of coconut oil, just in lower concentrations. Adding raw coconut to baked foods, muesli, and other dishes and can help you prevent heart disease, keep blood glucose levels stable and help to improve metabolism.
Coconut milk can be used in making creamed soups and sauces. It is made from grating brown coconuts and then squeezing them using a cheese cloth to get out the rich white liquid. You can also soak the grated coconut in warm water before squeezing to get a thinner milk. Since coconut milk has some of the oil from the coconut, it’s health benefits are similar to that of coconut oil.
Coconut water is the clear liquid in the center of green coconuts. Coconut water has been dubbed nature’s sport drink due to high levels of electrolytes. This water is slightly sweet and has a slight nutty taste. It also contains high levels of potassium as well as other important minerals that your body needs. Coconut water is especially beneficial in hydrating the body after exercise. However, it is fairly high in natural sugars so don’t go overboard!
While you don’t want to over do the use of coconut oil, milk, meat or water, including at least some of these products in your diet can have benefits for your overall health.