Nutrition: Coconut

Coconut Cravings

Have you started to notice the emergence of coconut based products at your local grocery store? Coconuts are a very popular fruit in tropical countries and this superfood is now more prevalent here in the States. Coconuts produce more than just the white meat found inside the fruit. The products derived from coconuts offer various health benefits. Here’s a quick rundown on a few coconut products you should try, and why!

  1. Coconut water: Coconut water is the clear liquid found inside the hollow fruit. A great alternative to sports drinks, coconut water has significantly less sugar and is packed with antioxidants and electrolytes like magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, and calcium. Recommended usage: Drink coconut water during or after your workout.
  2. Coconut milk (not to be confused with the milk substitute, coconut milk beverage): Coconut milk is the juice of grated coconut meat combined with water. By adding more water, the coconut milk become thinner and less rich. Coconut milk is packed with healthy fat, antioxidants, and electrolytes—all of which benefit those who have high blood pressure or cholesterol. Recommended usage: Replace dairy products with coconut milk in smoothies and desserts, or use it in curry dishes.
  3. Coconut oil: Coconut oil is an extremely versatile fat for cooking or skin care. Technically it is a saturated fat, but because of its unique structure, the liver quickly metabolizes coconut oil. Your body can then use it as a convenient source of energy or as ketones that maintain brain metabolism. Virgin or extra virgin oil is the most pure and best quality coconut oil. Recommended usage: cooking over high heat, hair and skin moisturizer, or oil pulling for dental health.

At the end of the day, coconut is a superfood that improves good cholesterol, decrease inflammation, increase metabolism, and help with exercise recovery.

Note: A report in June 2017 has been misused to call out coconut oil as bad for you. This unfortunate reporting does not accurately reflect the report’s intention. For a good synopsis of this and the report’s greater message, see this writeup.

—Updated June 22, 2017

 

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