Mother nature is a genius! There is no other explanation for why there exists such a perfect food as a coconut, (or as the French and I like to call it so beautifully: Noix de Coco). This tropical food source is not only a staple food for about a third of the world’s population, but offers us countless health and nutritional benefits. In fact the coconut palm is so highly valued in some cultures that it is known as the ‘Tree of Life’ – talk about a great advertisement! In Asian and Pacific cultures, coconut is believed to have great healing powers to sustain good health and fight disease. But how can it be beneficial in your life, you ask?
Well, in our Fat-Fearing world, I have observed many poor unknowing souls avoiding coconut sources (like coconut oil, milk & flesh) because it is a saturated fat source. So let’s clear something up right now! It’s true that coconut is a source of saturated fat, but its structure of medium chain fatty acids make it easy for the body to digest and utilize. Therefore, these fats are actually a quick source of energy for your brain and body! These amazing fatty acids present in coconut also make coconut a rejuvenating, skin-glowing totally natural moisturizer. Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself. Your skin will be naturally radiant – and what’s more, it will likely also have a positive effect on any other skin-related problems. Whether your eating it or slathering it on your skin, you’ll reap the benefits coconut oil has on improving and maintain your glowing skin.
The medium chain-fatty acids lauric acid, capric acid, caprylic acid and myristic acid found in coconut oil kill bacteria, viruses and fungi, and these magic powers can strengthen your immune function and help you fight off anything from the flu to infections to candida.
For Healthy Cooking
Coconut oil is my go-to oil for most cooking and baking. It has an extremely high boiling point, so it does not chemically alter into nasty trans fats at high heat like other sources of oil. It is perfect for stir-frying, sautéing, roasting, baking – you name it! Throw a tbsp into your smoothie, and voila! And coconut oil helps normalize blood sugar levels, so it is great for people with hypoglycemic tendencies or even diabetes.
After all this, you’re probably wondering about some other ways to take advantage of this great food source. Well, coconut water is another source of coconut that is easy to enjoy, and has some extra health benefits of it’s own. Coconut water is extremely high in electrolytes, which makes it great for a hot day, or after a workout to help you replenish the fluid and sodium your body loses through sweating, exercise and physical exertion. In fact, these days it’s getting a reputation as being Mother Nature’s Gatorade – trendy but true!
Cooking with coconut milk and baking with coconut flesh are also options. However, the only coconut caution is to make sure that if you’re using shredded coconut in baking that there is no added sugar. Commercial coconut has lots of sugar added, so make sure to buy unsweetened when using for baking or otherwise.
Image: John Revo Puno