Coconuts

Jul
2012
02

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Coconuts are one of the most nutritious of fruits that are often overlooked. They have been a staple food of many tropical populations around the world for centuries. In the Phillipines the coconut palm is called ‘the tree of life’ and in Sanskrit it translates as ‘the tree which provides all the necessities of life’.

About – Although the name suggests that the coconut is a nut, it isn’t, botanically it is classified as a drupe. The coconut tree is a large palm, growing up to 30 meters tall with leaves measuring 4 to 6 meters long, which break away cleanly leaving the trunk smooth when they fall. The coconut palm yields up to 75 coconuts per year and nearly all parts of the palm are useful. When the coconut has ripened the outer husk turns brown and a few months later it falls from the palm on its own. The meat of mature coconuts is hard whereas in a young coconut it is softer and more gelatinous.

Nutrition – Coconut is highly nutritious. It contains the vitamins E and K and the minerals magnesium, potassium and iron. Despite having lots of healthy fats, including saturated fats, it is known as a great diet aid. The reason why is because these saturated fats are of the medium chain fatty acid variety, known as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). These MCT’s are very different to their long chain saturated fat cousins which are mostly found in animal produce. These fats are easier to metabolise and are predominantly used for energy rather than stored, making them useful for weight loss. Coconuts are rich lauric acid, which is known for being antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal, and boosts the immune system. Our body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which helps us deal with viruses and bacteria-causing diseases such as herpes, influenza and even HIV. Coconut has been shown to have the ability to stimulate thyroid function, and converts cholesterol, specifically LDL (bad) cholesterol into necessary anti-aging steroids: pregnenolone, progesterone and DHEA. Research has shown coconut to be a cancer-fighting food, to enhance the immune system, promote a healthy heart, aid weight loss and prevent senility and other degenerative diseases

Coconut Oil – Coconut oil contains many health giving properties and has been commonly and extensively used in traditional medicine in Asia; the Pacific islanders consider it a cure for all illnesses. It is different from most other fats because of its high ratio of medium chain fatty acids. 98-100 percent of the fatty acids in our diets are long chain fatty acids and our body metabolizes fats differently depending n their structure. So although coconut oil has saturated fat in it, it is of a different variety as the more commonly studied long chain saturated fatty acids, and acts differently in the body. Coconut oil’s medium chain fatty acids actually help clean our cells of unhealthy fats. It protects against heart disease and is a great detox and weight loss aid. These medium chain fatty acids are made up of almost 50% lauric acid. Its primary polyunsaturated fatty acid is linoleic acid and its primary monounsaturated fatty acid is oleic acid. These fatty acids make coconuts antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal and antibacterial. Amongst their various health benefits are: beneficial for bones and dental, hair and skin care, regulating cholesterol levels and blood pressure, heart diseases, proper digestion and metabolism, increased immunity, beneficial for weight loss as well as kidney problems, diabetes, HIV and cancer.

Coconut Water – It is one of the purest and highest natural source of electrolytes. It is identical in structure to human blood plasma. It is more quickly absorbed and nutritious than sports drinks and can be used to prevent dehydration and is beneficial for recovery from strenuous exercise or for cases of diarrhea. Some remote areas of the world even use coconut water intravenously, for short-term help to hydrate critically ill patients and in emergency situations. Coconut meat, oil and water will help you to: Lose weight, or maintain your already good weight Lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease Improve Crohn’s, IBS, and other digestive disorders Beneficial for healthy thyroid function and to the immune system Prevent viral infections and other disease with its powerful antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties Helps alleviate chronic fatigue and will boost your energy levels Increases metabolism, prevent wrinkles and rejuvenate the skin

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