Coconut is a fruit which belongs to the Cocos nucifera palm. Its outer part is of green in colour which turns brown as it matures. Underneath the hard shell is the white edible meat. The freshly harvested coconut contains sweet water which is extremely beneficial for health. Coconut is a healthy nut that can be used safely as a food. It is mainly reaction free. The kernel is not only healthy but is also safe to be eaten during pregnancy.
Coconuts have slowly become a very hot and versatile food commodity, and are being used in everything from our daily cuisine to our beauty regimens. Not too long ago coconuts had a bad reputation as being an artery clogging, cholesterol packed food that contributed to heart disease. Today however, the coconut is making a huge comeback as the new miracle food. Coconuts are highly nutritious, rich in fiber, and packed with essential vitamins and minerals.
It is one of very versatile and indispensable food item for millions of inhabitants of South and southeast Asia and Pacific islands. It is one of the most sought after ingredients in the kitchen since it employed in almost each and every recipe prepared in these parts of the world.
Cocos nucifera belongs to the large Palmaceae family of palm trees. Coco palm grows well in the tropical climates. The palm requires moist, sandy, well drained soil and flourishes well all along the saline rich coastal regions.
From culinary creations to magic beauty potions, coconuts pack a good punch . What is it about this exotic food that continues to tantalize and intimidate us at the same time? Let’s explore more of the amazing health benefits of coconuts and what they have to offer.
Benefits of Coconut
1. Improves digestion and absorption of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals
2. Coconut is a very versatile and indispensable food item for most people under the tropical belt. It is a complete food rich in calories, vitamins, and minerals. A medium-sized nut carrying 400 g edible meat and some 30-150 ml of water may provide almost all the daily-required essential minerals, vitamins, and energy of an average-sized individual.
3. Coconut improves the insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose. It controls diabetes by positively affecting the hormones for blood sugar control. This slows down the rise in blood sugar level and helps to reduce glycemic cravings. Coconut benefits quick digestion and other symptoms associated with digestive and bowel disorders. It supports absorption of nutrients and minerals while providing dietary fibre. It also reduces vomiting and nausea.
4. Coconut has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Gargling for 20 minutes with a spoonful of oil (AKA oil pulling ) can help clear up germs in the mouth, leading to fresher breath, whiter teeth, and healthier gums.
5. Coconut water is a very refreshing drink to beat tropical summer thirst. The juice is packed with simple sugar, electrolytes, minerals, and bioactive compounds such as cytokinin, and enzymes such as acid phosphatase, catalase, dehydrogenase, peroxidase, polymerases, etc. Altogether, these enzymes aid in digestion and metabolism.
6. Coconut is also beneficial in treating dangerous fats in the abdominal cavity. Abdominal fats are the most dangerous of all the fats and are associated with various diseases. A 200 grams of coconut serving daily can lead to significant reduction in both BMI and waist circumference in just 12 weeks.
7. Dandruff and dry scalp go hand in hand. To send moisture right to the roots with a nightly coconut oil treatment. Just apply lightly to roots and massage in, which will also stimulate hair growth.
8. A ketogenic diet is a low carb diet which is used to treat various disorders. Its best known application is treating epilepsy in children. The diet involves eating little carbs and large amounts of fat which can lead to increased concentrations of ketone bodies in the blood. This diet can dramatically reduce the rate of seizures in epileptic children.
9. Helps keep hair and skin healthy and youthful looking, prevents wrinkles, sagging skin, age spots, and provides sun protection
10. Helps protect the body from cancers due to insulin reduction, removal of free radicals that cause premature aging and degenerative disease
11. You can use hot coconut oil as a pre-shampoo treatment to soothe dry hair before you shampoo and condition. Leave in for at least an hour for an allover moisturizing treatment.
12. The kernel is an excellent source of minerals such as copper, calcium, iron ,
manganese , magnesium, and zinc.
13. Coconut water contains crucial electrolytes that help in maintaining hydration. People involved in easy workouts and other strenuous activities should include as much coconut water as they can in their diet. Coconut water replaces the lost electrolytes, provides hydration and increases immune response. It is a better alternative to water as it is tastier than plain water and is loaded with nutrition.
14. It is also a very good source of B-complex vitamins such as folates, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine. These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish.
15. Eating coconuts regularly supports the development of healthy bones and teeth. It improves the body’s ability to absorb calcium and manganese which aid bone development. It also prevents osteoporosis, a condition which makes the bones thin and fragile and loses its density. Thus it is a healthy alternative for those who are lactose intolerant.
16. Coconut oil, if used on skin prevents dryness and flakiness and keeps it moisturised and supple. It also supports the skin and works to repair the damage it has acquired over time. It eases a common skin condition called neurosis, which is characterized by dry, rough and flaky skin . It also reduces the severity of atopic dermatitis which is prone to infections like Staphylococcus aurous.
Use of coconut cleanses and neutralizes the toxins, fungi and bacteria on the outer layers of the skin which not only detoxifies but also builds the skin’s natural immune system(click here to read on how to boost your immune system) and protection.
17. Coconut meat and water contain a good amount of potassium. 100 g of fresh meat contains 356 mg or 7.5% of daily required levels of potassium.
18. Eating coconut regularly boosts oxygen in the skin and promotes blood circulation. Our cells need adequate amount of oxygen which can only be made possible by proper circulation in the body that carries oxygen. This allows proper breathing of the skin and promotes healthy and flawless complexion.
19. Reduces risk of heart health and improves good cholesterol (HDL)
20.Coconut can also help you to get shiny and silky hair.
The Vitamin K and iron content in coconut maintain the health of the hair and impart shine to it.