The Philippines calls it “Tree of Life”, Malaysians call it “the tree with 1000 uses”. These 2 expressions say a lot about the benefits of this super food, which I abuse on a daily basis: the coconut.
The Coconut: healthy fat mix
A unique combination of fatty acids, an amazing food that helps you lose weight, gain incredible mental focus and be healthy. I will try as much as possible to highlight the miraculous benefits of coconut.
Although coconut is blamed in certain circles due to its high saturated fat content, sportsmen already know about the extraordinary benefits they have on health. For example, coconut oil has been found to help normalize blood lipids, protect the liver from the harmful action of alcohol and toxins, play an important role in preventing kidney disease and gall bladder, is associated with improved blood sugar control and insulin and therefore diabetes prevention and management.
Moreover, coconut has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Coconut oil (MCT) helps in the absorption of minerals, which is important in strengthening teeth and bones and also gives a pleasant and healthy appearance to hair, skin and nails (both due to consumption and local application).
Coconut pulp is rich in saturated and super healthy fatty acids, with decent amounts of protein and a low glycemic index. One cup of coconut pulp (apx 200g) contains 27 g fat, 3 g protein, 12 g carbohydrate (mostly fiber).
THE DRIED PULP CAN BE GROUND AND USED AS COCONUT FLOUR, WHICH CAN SUCCESSFULLY REPLACE THE CLASSIC FLOUR.
Coconut water is the liquid that contains coconut naturally (not to be confused with coconut milk , which we make at home). It is very rich in electrolytes (potassium and other minerals), being an excellent remedy after training.
1. Coconut oil contains a unique combination of fatty acids with powerful medicinal properties
As I said before, the fear of saturated fats is totally unfounded especially in the case of such a food, natural and healthy. I do not say it, it is demonstrated by specialized studies .
Unlike the saturated fats we find in animal foods, coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides (MCT), which makes this fat metabolized differently. This means that from the digestive tract this fat goes directly to the liver where it is used as a rapid energy source or is transformed into so-called ketones, which can have therapeutic effect especially in diseases such as epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.
2. Populations that eat a lot of coconut are some of the healthiest populations in the world
It might be exotic to us, but there are countries where the coconut omnipresent in diet, eg. New Zealand (Pacific Ocean). There was also a study on this topic, you can browse it at this link: Cholesterol, coconuts, and diet on Polynesian atolls: a natural experiment: the Pukapuka and Tokelau island studies.
3. Coconut increases energy consumption and helps you “burn” more fat
If you want to lose weight, you need to know that not only the number of calories but also their source matters. Food influences our body and hormonal system differently depending on their quality.
According to studies , these medium-chain fats (MCTs) from coconut increase your energy consumption compared to the same amount of calories from long-chain fats. Another study says that an amount of 15-30 grams of MCT per day increases your energy consumption by 5% (apx 120 calories / day), leading to a healthy long-term loss.
4. Coconut lauric acid is antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal
About 50% of coconut is lauric acid. When the coconut oil goes through the digestion process it forms monoglycerides which are called monolaurin. Both lauric acid and monolaurin can kill harmful pathogenic bacteria, fungi and viruses. For further information, read this extremely interesting study: Fatty Acids and Derivatives as Antimicrobial Agents. Regarding the help that coconut oil gives in the fight against fungi, it has been proven that coconut oil can be used as a treatment in candidiasis.
5. Coconut oil “cuts” hunger
In fact, coconut oil reduces the appetite. I do this every time I drink coffee with coconut oil .
Specialists say that this is related to the release of ketone bodies, due to the way the coconut is metabolized, being known that ketones cut down on appetite.
6. Coconut improves blood cholesterol levels
Although it is full of saturated fat, coconut oil does not harm but on the contrary helps to increase HDL (good) cholesterol and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and abdominal obesity .
7. Coconut protects hair against degradation, nourishes the skin and protects it from harmful sunlight
I tested on my skin this summer coconut oil on the skin and confirm that it works. I got a clean, even tan and I didn’t burn at all.
If you have dry skin, coconut oil is all you need. It has been proven that coconut oil can improve the hydration and lipid level of the skin. Not bad for the hair, apply coconut oil immediately after washing your head and sit with this “mask” for 30 minutes.
8. Coconut oil helps you lose weight, especially in the abdominal area
As I told you here , abdominal obesity is one of the most dangerous.
Given that coconut oil cuts the appetite and increases the burning of adipose tissue, this last advantage I present here comes somewhat naturally.
A 12-month study of 40 women with abdominal obesity who supplemented with 30ml of coconut oil daily, showed a significant reduction in body mass index and waist circumference. Another study here
Is coconut oil good for frying?
To avoid the chemical methods of coconut processing, it is always advisable to choose organic products.
Coconut oil is less sensitive to high temperatures than other oils that oxidize rapidly, so it is extremely good at the bottom and fried. You can use it instead of classic butter / lard or saturated fat and of course in coffee.
Personally, I use coconut or very often in nutrition. Scraped and dried leaves of coconut in yogurt, along with protein powder, stevia and blueberries. I do not miss coconut oil when I drink coffee, paleo cakes or even fried (there is coconut oil without aroma). Here’s my go-to recommendation for frying – Nutiva’s refined coconut oil: