Health Benefits Of Coconut
The coconut is not actually a type of nut but instead it is the fruit of the coconut palm tree. Found mainly across tropical regions, the versatile coconut fruit lends itself to a variety of uses for its different parts. In fact, in many countries around the world, coconuts are part of the daily diet. The coconut also has cultural and religious significance in many societies. There are several coconut health benefits and this is contradicted only by its high calorie content.
It is interesting to note that in some countries the husk and shell along with the leaves from the coconut palm tree are used to make utility and decorative items.
The coconut health benefits are highlighted by the fact that it is a good option for building muscle mass. Characterized by its high calorie count and protein content, it is a food that is often recommended for body builders. The benefits of coconut for a healthy body are also based on the sugars and salts that it contains. These help to prevent dehydration and stabilize the electrolyte levels in the body. Individuals suffering from dizziness, vomiting, or diarrhea should consume small chips of fresh coconut or coconut water in order to treat their condition and reduce the severity of the symptoms.
Nutritional Content Of Coconut
Coconuts are unique as they contain both, a liquid known as coconut water and the endosperm known as the edible “flesh” of the coconut. The coconut’s nutritional value lies in the possibility to derive oil and milk that are commonly used in cooking.
- Coconut oil: It is also widely used in cosmetics and for a variety of natural treatment including acne, wrinkles and constipation. The meat of the coconut is known to destroy intestinal parasites. At the top of the coconut’s nutritional properties is its rich protein content –just 100 grams of coconut contains 3.3 grams of protein. Coconut oil can be applied for better skin, hair dressing and many home remedies such as healing cuts and wounds and removing wrinkles. The delicious mild flavor of the coconut makes it an excellent additive in many cuisines.
- Coconut water: It is excellent for flushing out kidney and urinary bladder problems. The coconut’s nutritional facts show that it contains dietary fiber, Vitamin B, and minerals such as iron, phosphorous, and zinc.
- Coconut Milk: It can also heal sore throats and stomach ulcers as well.
- Coconut Fruit: It is generally high in vitamins A, B, and C. Studies have shown that just 2 tbsp. of virgin coconut oil on a daily basis can help to prevent several nutritional deficiencies as well as reduce your risk of many health problems. Apart from these coconut nutrition benefits, this fruit is also high in iron, iodine and calcium. The only downside would be its high fat content which had brought down coconut oil’s popularity as the leading cooking oil in the 1960s. It is now known that the fat in coconut oil is unique and possesses therapeutic properties.
Nutritional Advantages Of Coconut
- Acne: Coconut uses for acne treatment are very popular due to the Vitamin E content in coconut oil.
- Dry Skin: Coconut oil naturally moisturizes your skin mainly due to the fact that it works under the skin’s surface. It also maintains skin elasticity and makes it soft and supple.
Using Coconut For Dry Cracked Skin:
Mix a little coconut oil with an equal amount of lemon juice and apply this liquid to your hands and feet before you go to bed. This will keep your skin soft and well moisturized. This is also an excellent remedy for dry or cracked skin. It is an excellent moisturizer and is a great natural treatment for scaly dry skin. It can be used topically for skin and scalp treatments.
- Eczema: Coconut oil is used for a natural treatment of eczema. Coconut for eczema is particularly useful to help restore damaged skin.
- Liver Spots: It also helps prevent the formation of liver spots on skin and acts as a natural anti-inflammatory.
- Psoriasis: Just as it is useful for eczema, coconut for psoriasis is a well known and effective treatment. Coconut oil can be used as a topical ointment for treatment of psoriasis. It possesses medium-chain fatty acids that penetrate the skin to reduce cellular inflammation.
- Candida: Coconut for candida is a very effective and natural antifungal treatment that can be used by people that have adverse reactions to antifungal drugs.
- Hair Growth: Coconut for hair growth is an age old remedy that relies on its ability to protect hair from shampoos that wash away the protein from hair. One of the best ways to use coconut for hair treatment is to massage the scalp with coconut oil at least twice a week.
- Thinning Hair: External or topical hair conditioning using coconut oil is the best way to treat thinning, damaged or dry hair. Of course, stress, illness, malnutrition and medication are detrimental to the health of your hair but coconut oil can help alleviate such damage.
- Preparing Hair Mask: You can use a nourishing hair mask prepared from fresh coconut milk and lemon juice. Allow this mixture to remain on your scalp for at least 30 minutes before you rinse it off and wash your hair as usual.
- Hair Straightening: It can be done easily at home by applying coconut milk after a thorough rinse and letting it settle in for at least 5 minutes. While this may not leave you with poker straight hair, it will definitely help to tame unruly and damaged hair.
- Weight Loss: Coconut can promote weight loss by naturally increasing an individual’s metabolic rate. Coconut oil is one of the healthiest fats known to mankind and coconut for weight loss provides several healthy fats as opposed to trans-fatty acids. Many promoters of the coconut diet rage about its uses for weight loss while keeping energy levels at an all time high.
- Weight Gain: The fruit from the “tree of life” also moonlights as a supplement for weight gain diets. The key to weight gain using coconut lies in the fact that the good fats along with the high protein content in the flesh of the fruit act as great tools to bulk up muscle mass.
- Digestive Problems: Coconut oil improves digestion and absorption of fat, vitamins and minerals. It improves the intestinal absorption of nutrients that leads to a smoother digestive mechanism. This use of coconut for constipation is very popular among mothers with weaning babies.
Health Risks Of Coconut
Coconut oil is famous as the “low fat” fat. It does not block arteries and provides the necessary absorption assistance required by our digestive tracks. However, the coconut has been through its share of controversy with many debates over the side effects of coconut.
The dangers of coconuts lie in the same basket as their advantages and are:
- Coconut oil, though better than trans-fatty oils, does increase the risk of high blood cholesterol level.
- The edible flesh of the fruit, with its high protein, has high calorie content. Eating products that contain coconut or its derivatives could lead to weight gain.
- Keep in mind that weight gain is caused by the excessive intake of calories and so a small amount of coconut-based food products is not likely to cause weight gain.
- Avoid deep fried foods as these will contain a lot of oil and will therefore have a very high calorific value.
- Obesity is one of the many risk factors for cancer and heart disease.