The Health Benefits of Coconuts
This versatile, tropical fruit has been gaining popularity over the past several years, and rightly so – you can use the whole fruit; from the coconut meat to coconut milk and coconut oil. In this post we talk about a few of the numerous health benefits of coconuts and some places where you can get a dose of coconut-y goodness right here in Queensland.
Coconuts are a delicious and nutritious source of fibre, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It also has tons of calcium, potassium, and magnesium, as well as plenty of electrolytes.
Coconuts can be used to:
- Lower cholesterol
- Improve digestion
- Ward off wrinkles
- Stabilise glucose levels
- Fight off viruses
- Build cells
- Regulate hormones
- Increase thyroid production
- Lose weight
- Increase metabolism
- Fight infections
- Stave off memory loss
- Kill bacteria
Using Coconut Oil:
Its antioxidant properties slow down the aging process by protecting the body from harmful free radicals. Some people put a little bit of coconut oil on their skin and/or hair every day to keep it nice and smooth, as well as free from dryness. Coconut oil is also known to treat skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis.
In addition, it can be used for cooking and baking – being a healthy alternative which is preferred to most traditional cooking oils, as it is rich in ‘good’ cholesterol. Many people believe that coconut oil can actually help you lose weight. By changing your cooking oil from the unsaturated fat variety to coconut oil can help you lose those extra kilos. Coconut oil helps to increase thyroid function and boost your metabolism.
Many people also believe drinking raw coconut oil supports the development of strong, healthy bones and teeth. It can also prevent osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones become thin and fragile and lose their density. This makes coconuts a good, healthy alternative to calcium-rich milk for those who are lactose intolerant, but still want to have strong bones and teeth. Those who prefer a vegan diet can benefit from it as a good source of fatty acids.
Using Coconut Milk:
Coconut milk is made from a brew of coconut meat and water. But don’t confuse it with lower-calorie coconut water. It is rich and thick and more like cream than milk. Some people make curry with it or use it to create delicious yoghurts.
Using Coconut Water:
Coconut water has gotten a lot of buzz recently for its electrolyte content and purported health benefit as a “natural” sports drink. The coconut is a natural water filter. It takes almost 9 months for a coconut to filter every quart of water stored within its shell. In your supermarket or local small grocer, look for coconut water without added sugar in the refrigerated section.
A great combination with Coconut Water is Coconut Kefir. It is a traditional fermented beverage that has been consumed for centuries for its unique health-enhancing properties. Traditionally Kefir is made with dairy milk as the lactose feeds the good bacteria, however using coconut water also means that the naturally occurring sugars in the coconut feeds the grains without the negative effects of dairy.
Using the Coconut Meat:
Once the outer green husk of the coconut is removed, what remains is the seed and its rich inner white lining, the coconut meat. Coconut meat comes in several forms – you can get it from a fresh whole coconut or dried and flaked. Dried coconut is great for recipes like ‘Coconut-crumbed Prawns’.
There’s also jarred coconut meat, which is solid at temperatures below 25°C and is also known as coconut manna or coconut butter. Coconut butter is made from finely ground whole coconut meat and has the texture of natural peanut butter. Coconut butter can be found in jars near other nut butters, baking oils and sometimes even in the supplement department of natural-foods stores and well-stocked supermarkets.
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