The 7 evidence-based benefits of coconuts.
While scrolling through your Instagram feed of a health enthusiast, we are sure you’ve stumbled upon a breakfast, smoothie or lunch bowl sprinkled with chia seeds, green juices plenty and exotic fruits and veggies with captions that praise them. Which brings us to the question: are superfoods just super-myths that yoga practitioners and health warriors swear by? With studies revealing only 1 in 9 “health and fitness” influencers give correct advice that can be backed by science, we’ve enlisted an expert to dissect fad from fiction on a craze that’s on the rise.
Grown from a tree that’s literally otherwise known as “The Tree of Life”, coconuts are filled with healing properties that protect the body from free radicals thanks to their high amount of antioxidant levels. Once considered a taboo for their high-fat content, the tropical fruit is now enjoying superfood status, and for good reason. Considering they’ve actually deemed a primary food source for many island nations, the benefits of coconuts are endless and it’s only fitting they’re having a moment.
According to Zoe Dent, Holistic Health Scientist and Amazonia Nutritionist, coconut meat is rich in brain fuel-providing saturated fat alongside MCT’s or Medium Chained Triglycerides, which are easy to digest and acts as a fast track energy source that helps your body use ketones instead of sugar as fuel and without the digestive discomfort of heavier fats. From supporting immune health, providing a natural source of quick energy to enhance physical and athletic performance, restoring and supporting thyroid function to keeping your hair and skin healthy and youthful-looking, preventing wrinkles, sagging skin and age spots… the benefits of coconuts are endless.
1. It’s Armed With Amino Acids and Protein
Coconut may not be a complete source of protein, but it’s still packed with amino acids. Containing 17 amino acids out of the 20 amino acids needed for optimal protein formation, it’s particularly high in threonine, an amino acid needed to protect the liver, central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and to support the formation of collagen in the body. For your muscles, it builds connective tissues and maintains elasticity in the body, even in the heart. Threonine also supports healthy tooth enamel, and it speeds up healing from wounds or injuries throughout the whole body.
2. An Unknown Source of Dietary Iron
Coconut is also a great source of iron, especially for a fruit. Iron is needed to ensure optimal blood flow to the muscles and for optimal energy needed for exercise. It’s completely possible to eat a vegan diet and get enough iron; the important thing is to eat a variety of sources.
3. Fights Abdominal Weight Gain
Coconut’s fats are used by the liver for energy, and they help reduce insulin surges in the body, unlike sugary processed foods or refined grains. This can lead to a reduced amount of fat stored in the stomach, which often happens due to erratic. The fibre and Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTS) fats in coconut also help boost the metabolism due to the way they are used during digestion. Not only does this give you energy, but also creates a thermogenic effect in the body where your calorie burn is increased naturally. Of course, this doesn’t apply for eating coconut in excessive amounts, but instead of using it in small to moderate servings in place of sugary foods, refined grains or processed foods.
4. Folate Powerhouse
Folate is a B vitamin we need for healthy metabolism and red blood cell function. It’s also essential for healthy brain development in infants. Coconut meat contains 20 percent of your daily folate needs in a 1/2 cup of fresh meat. Avocados, asparagus, bananas, spinach, and beans are also great sources of folate too.
5. Plentiful Potassium
Potassium is an incredibly important mineral for our health. It reduces high blood pressure and aids in water balance in the body to counteract too much sodium (bye-bye bloat!).
6. Lots of Fibre
Adding to the list of benefits, coconut is also a fantastic source of dietary fibre. Fibre keeps you regular, which improves your energy, takes care of your heart, and can even help whittle your waistline too.
7. Easy to Digest
Due to the way your body processes coconut, it is very easy to digest compared to meat, eggs, and even some nuts, seeds, and beans that may not be as tolerable. What you digest from food is just as important as what you eat, so always choose foods that are easier on your digestive system while supplying you with nutrients at the same time.