HEALTH: All You Need To Know About Coconut, Its Benefits
The coconut tree is a member of the palm tree family and the only living species of the genus COCOS.
The term coconut can refer to the whole coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which botanically is a DRUPE, not a Nut. Its scientific name is Cocos nucifera.
The fruit-nut-seed comes in various forms like oil, milk, and water.
The popularity of coconut doesn’t end with coconut water.
A variety of coconut derived ingredients from coconut oil to coconut flour and coconut milk are increasingly being used in home kitchens, restaurants and packaged foods.
But can a food so rich in calories and laden with saturated fat be healthy?
Here are the health benefits and cons of coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut flour, coconut water, coconut meat and coconut flakes.
Plus get delicious coconut recipes to use them.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF COCONUT OIL
The unique combination of fatty acids in coconut oil may have positive effects on your health, such as boosting fat loss, heart health and brain function.
Here are 5 evidence based health benefits of coconut oil.
Contains Fatty Acids
Coconut oil is high on certain saturated fats. These fats have different effects in the body compared with most other dietary fats.
The fatty acids in coconut oil can encourage your body to burn fat, and they provide quick energy to your body and brain. They also raise HDL(good) cholesterol in your blood which may help reduce heart disease risk.
May Encourage Fat Burning
Obesity is one of the biggest health conditions affecting western world today.
While some people think obesity is just a matter of how many calories someone eats, the source of those calories is important too. Different foods affect your body and hormones in different ways.
The medium-chain triglycerides(MCTs) which are shorter fatty acid chains in coconut oil can increase the number of calories your body burns compared with longer chain fatty acids.
One study found that eating 15-30 grams of MCTs per day increases 24-hour energy expenditure by 5%.
May Have Antimicrobial Effects
Lauric acid makes up about 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil. When your body digests lauric acid it forms a substance called monolaurin.
Both lauric acid and monolaurin can kill harmful pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses and fungi.
There is also some evidence that using coconut mouthwash- a process called oil pulling, benefits oral hygiene, though researchers consider the evidence to be weak
May Reduce Hunger
One interesting feature of MCTs is that they reduce hunger.
This may be related to the way your metabolizes fats, because ketones can reduce a person’s appetite.
Although coconut oil is one of the richest natural sources of MCTs, there is no evidence that coconut oil intake reduces appetite more than other oils.
MCTs can significantly reduce appetite which may lead to reduced body weight over the long term.
May Reduce Seizures
Researchers are currently studying the ketogenic diet, which is very low in carbs and high in fats to treat many disorders.
The best known therapeutic use of this diet is treating drug resistance epilepsy in children. The diet dramatically reduces the rate of seizures in children with epilepsy, even those who haven’t had success with multiple types of drugs.
Researchers aren’t sure why.
BENEFITS OF COCONUT MILK
With it’s creamy texture and natural sweetness, coconut milk tastes like it should be bad for you, and yet its anything but that.
Coconut milk, also known as nariyal ka doodh in Hindi is often considered as a “miracle liquid” as it may help protect the body from infections.
Coconut water is higher in sugar and some electrolytes while coconut milk is higher in saturated fatty acids.
Coconut milk is highly recommended for patients who are lactose intolerant.
These are some benefits of coconut milk;
Restores Dry, Damaged Hair
Because of its excellent moisturizing properties, coconut oil can be used as scalp tonic for dry, itchy and irritated scalp. A gentle massage for 5 minutes with home made coconut milk followed by a hot towel can have a good nourishing effect. It is also beneficial for restoring split ends.
To remove your makeup, add 2 parts of olive oil to 1 part coconut milk on a cotton pad. This not only cleanses your face, but nourishes your skin deeply at the same time as well.
Treats Skin Ailments
Gentle application of coconut milk provides an excellent moisturizing effects on dry skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis.
For people with oily and acne prone skin, coconut milk can be used as cleanser due to its antibacterial properties. The fats in coconut milk do not clog pores, thereby preventing acne.
BENEFITS OF COCONUT OIL
Coconut water is the ultimate thirst quencher and offers a tasty alternative to water.
This pure water is packed with nutrients that yield an array of health benefits.
Here are some benefits of coconut water;
Aids In Weight Loss Efforts
The fat content in coconut water is extremely low, so generous quantities can be consumed without the fear of immediately packing on the pounds. It also suppresses the appetite and makes you feel full because of its rich nature.
Picture Perfect skin
For those with acne or other blemishes on the surface of the skin, topical application of coconut water can go a great distance as it has the ability to clear up and subsequently tone the skin. It also moisturizes the skin from within if ingested orally and eliminates large amounts of oil.
The ultimate Hangover Remedy
Next time you overdo it and drink more than your belly can handle, consume coconut water or settle you stomach. It will also replace those essential electrolytes that exit the body if you experience bouts of frequent urination and vomiting.
Story by: Precious Hlordzie