Health Benefits of Coconut

Coconut

The health benefits of coconut have been getting a lot of attention lately and you have probably heard all the raving over coconut oil. Don’t forget that there are many different parts to the coconut, each with its own nutritional advantages. Read on to find out how to get the most out of this exotic fruit!

The Water

Natures sports drink! But instead of food dyes, artificial flavours and refined sugars you will find a natural source of electrolytes that is perfectly balanced to replenish a hard worked body. Coconut water is the clear liquid found when you crack open that green coconut. It’s not to be confused with the creamy coconut milk that we will talk about shortly. One 8oz cup of coconut water will offer approximately 50 easy to digest calories. It is rich in potassium, which is one of the electrolytes lost during a good sweat session. In fact a cup of coconut water can provide more potassium than three bananas!

The Milk

Now this is that creamy goodness that adds the unforgettable flavour to Thai curries and pina coladas. Coconut milk is made by pressing the oily liquid from the meat of the coconut . Yes it’s true that it contains a lot of fat, but this type of fat is what makes it so valuable. Coconuts are a source of medium chain saturated fat (MCT). This type of fat is easily digested and efficiently utilized by our bodies as fuel. This is a very healthy fat!! If you are watching your calorie intake though, there are options. Coconut milk can be bought in different “strengths” or rather different fat contents – full fat coconut milk will be very thick and almost 90% fat, lite will be thinned down a bit containing approximately 75% fat and just recently you will also find the “drinkable” coconut milk as a non-dairy beverage option coming in around 50%. The benefits of this fat content should not be overlooked by those people concerned about fat intake.

The Oil

This is the isolated oil that is found in the coconut milk and meat, but is just the fat. Unless you are lucky enough to live in a very warm climate, coconut oil will be solid at room temperature. It melts easily just by being warmed slightly. It can handle very high heats without spoiling which makes it an excellent choice for cooking. If you obtain a cold pressed raw variety you are not only getting that great MCT fat, but you will also be getting anti-bacterial/viral properties, blood sugar control and heart health benefits. If thats not enough, it’s also great to be used topically on your skin and hair for hydration and repair.

The Flour

Take that coconut meat we keep talking about, dry it out and grind it up – voila! You have coconut flour. So of course you have the benefits we have been talking about as well as a grain-free, gluten-free option for baking. Those of you who have not yet attempted baking with this flour though a word of caution – it does not preform the same as your typical wheat or grain flours, so it may take a little trial and error and some epic failures before you succeed, but when you do- oh boy baking will be for ever changed!

Well there you have it, a few different ways to eat a coconut and reap all of its benefits. A word of caution though when it comes to coconut products- because it has become trendy there are a lot of different brand names out there. Be sure to strive for raw or virgin products and as always avoid unnecessary added ingredients. Nature always knows best.

Heather Robertson

An internationally recognized fitness personality and sought after Certified Personal Training Specialist with training in advanced sports nutrition. Her passion for living a healthy and active lifestyle is recognized beyond the gym and demonstrated to others as a life of fun, balance and continuous goal setting.

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