Mmmm the benefits of coconut, the one-seeded drupe… I absolutely love coconut. And while others may not enjoy the flavor, it provides some ESSENTIAL health benefits. Some of my favorite memories while traveling in Southeast Asia are drinking fresh coconut water, right out of the coconut. You can find them all over at road side stands and markets, as the tops are lopped off with a machete. It’s truly magical. The most tasty variety are ones you find in Thailand, which have lovely floral notes. And yes Thailand is also magical, I highly suggest visiting (arguably one of my favorite places I’ve been in the world, and I’ve been A LOT of places).
You probably have noticed how popular coconut water has gotten, as it has taken over grocery store shelves… and for good reason. The water is considered the PERFECT electrolyte solution, leaps and bounds better than Gatorade or Pedialyte. So it is a fantastic way to rehydrate yourself when you’re exercising, are sick, or just low on your fluid intake. (Electrolytes are charged particles such as Potassium, Sodium, and Chloride that help H2O get INTO your cells. You can drink a lot of water, but if you aren’t getting enough electrolytes the water will not be able to get into your cells and will sit outside. Water sitting outside your cells is not considered being hydrated. Water helps all the processes happen that need to happen inside your cells. Without it, everything slows… and you cannot function as well. Read more about hydration here.)
The coconut has more to offer than just it’s water. The meat (or fruit) is also used whole or pureed into coconut butter (or manna). The manna is oh so delicious used as a spread on toast or as an icing for banana bread (favorite paleo banana bread recipe here). And there is the infamous coconut oil, which is arguably the most popular out of all the ways to consume it (here in the ‘west’ anyway). Many suggest eating 2 tablespoons of it a day, OR there is the popular Bulletproof® Coffee method where you blend it and grass fed butter into your coffee for a latte.
I personally find that I enjoy taking a coconut oil supplement, because sometimes eating straight coconut oil can be a little nauseating (texture thing?). Eukonic is a fantastic brand, since they cold press the coconut oil (heating above 120 degrees can cause degradation of some nutrients). Their coconut oil supplement contains 1,000mg of organic extra virgin coconut oil in every softgel AND they give you a 100% money back guarantee. If you’ve read some of my other blog posts, you know how much I advocate for organic… it doesn’t contain any harmful pesticides, which are seen to cause a host of problems ranging from infertility, cancers, digestive problems… Extra virgin means it has not been processed, or heated (which will kill certain beneficial nutrients and enzymes in the fruit). It is the most beneficial form of coconut oil, and it retains its lovely fragrance. So why start taking coconut oil? Well I’ll tell you.
So what are the BENEFITS of taking coconut oil?
1. Weight loss. The saturated fat in coconut oil consists of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). This type of fat is easily digestible and once consumed is sent to the liver for energy production. MCTs are used for quick increases in energy, which is why they are used in Bulletproof coffee (which I mentioned above). It also lends to satiety or a feeling of fullness after eating. Both of these benefits can help with weight loss.
2. Neurological function. This means how well your brain and nervous system work. Your brain (and nerves) need FAT. Period. This means in order for them to functional properly, you need to eat FAT. That’s right. But not just any fat, there are certain kinds of fat that offer different benefits (or some not so good benefits). Your brain is largely made up of saturated fat, and whaddya know… coconut oil contains mostly saturated fats!
3. Antimicrobial. This means coconut oil has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Consuming this oil can help fight infection. You can use it topically on skin or ingest. Taking coconut oil has been shown to help fight candida or yeast in the body. Or you can use it to help fight cold and flu symptoms. The MCTs in coconut oil contain about 40% lauric acid, which can help increase immunity and is preventative against some cancers.
4. Cosmetic uses. Not only can you eat coconut oil, you can also slather it all over your body. That’s right, I use it as lotion, wash my face with it, swish it in my mouth for oil pulling, or use it as an intensive hair conditioning treatment. It smells lovely, is extremely moisturizing, helps keep your face not oily (as it moisturizes your skin so it doesn’t overproduce sebum), and can help your skin remain healthy from different infections. Remember, a little goes a long way… and be patient for it to soak into your skin.
Coconut oil is a win win.
I haven’t found a single reason why I would not use organic extra virgin coconut oil. The benefits are many. I cook with it (I replaced other oils), use it for beauty, and take this coconut oil supplement. It could not be an easier way to get your healthy fats. (Don’t worry, fat doesn’t make you fat… that is an old myth.)
Don’t wait, start reaping the benefits of coconut oil, coconut, water, and manna today! You’re worth it.