Coconuts are one of nature's true superfoods because they support all round body function and the health of your heart, brain, teeth and skin.
Rich in fibre and essential minerals such as copper, selenium, zinc, iron, potassium and magnesium, coconut has been a staple food of tropical nations for thousands of years, where the incidence of heart disease, cancer, skin disease, obesity and tooth decay have remained comparatively low.
Raw coconuts and the products derived from coconuts, such as organic coconut milk, coconut water, coconut oil and MCT oil are highly recommended self care foods that can also support your skin care and oral care routine.
Here, we reveal the main benefits of raw coconut and coconut products and why if you're not already, you should consider including them in your everyday healthy lifestyle.
Why coconut is a natural super food
Plentiful throughout the tropics and exported to most countries around the world, coconuts are popular for their milk, water and flesh.
They're not only incredibly healthy, but also a versatile and amazing food source that provide wonderful texture and taste to both sweet and savoury dishes, raw treats and snacks.
Here's 4 good reasons to eat raw coconut:
- Keeps you regular - coconut has around 60% fibre content and therefore is very helpful for supporting gut and bowel health
- Healthy hair and skin - the good fats in coconut help to hydrate and nourish the skin, keeping it supple and avoiding dryness which can eventually lead to visible signs of ageing and wrinkles. Also, the nutritional compounds in coconut have potent anti-bacterial and anti-fungal qualities, making raw coconut products useful for easing skin blemishes and scalp irritations
- Assist weight loss - the nutrient density of raw coconut, including the fibre content and MCT (Medium Chain Triglyceride fatty acids), help to curb hunger, whilst encouraging the liver to stimulate fat burning as a source of energy
- Immunity Support - since raw coconut contains powerful anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, it is a fantastic whole food to support your overall immunity and to protect against seasonal threats such as colds and flu.
Easy ways to enjoy raw coconut include:
- As a raw snack straight from the husk. Take some chunks with you to work, or on a hike for a nourishing and satisfying snack
- Grate raw coconut onto healthy deserts, smoothies, salads and curries, or you can easily buy raw organic coconut chips at your local health food store or farmer's market for ready-to-use convenience
- Toast raw coconut flakes or chips and add them to home made muesli or porridge to add delicious crunch and texture to an energising breakfast.
Raw Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is truly one of the healthiest oils you can consume.
Whilst considered a saturated fat, the important distinction is that it contains no harmful trans fats which are commonly found in most commercial vegetable oils.
Coconut oil is also rich in a nutrient known as Lauric Acid, which is known for its incredible anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, all beneficial for immunity protection and healing.
Raw coconut oil can help to:
- Boost energy
- Lower bad cholesterol
- Ease symptoms of fatigue
- Support healthy digestion
- Soften, nourish and repair the skin
- Rejuvenate and nourish damaged hair
Coconut oil is also perfect for cooking because it has a very high heat point, meaning it remains stable when heated and won't oxidise and cause inflammation in the body like many regular vegetable oils do.
When it comes to personal and dental hygiene, coconut oil is also a wonderful compliment to your skin and teeth care routines. Use raw cold-pressed coconut oil as a "pre" or "post" sun food for your skin. It's also fantastic for stripping bacteria from the mouth by doing an oil pull or rinse, prior to brushing your teeth 2-3 times per week.
What about the fat content?
Because coconut oil contains saturated fat, there is a widespread misconception that this automatically makes coconut oil bad for you.
Whilst too much of any saturated fat is not recommended because it can raise bad cholesterol in the body, the truth is that a saturated fat in the form of cold-pressed coconut oil, is not the main culprit in relation to high cholesterol and heart disease. In fact, the benefits to your dietary health far outweigh the negatives.
The main food oils that should be avoided because of their reputation for raising bad cholesterol in the body, are margarine and partially hydrogenated seed oils that contain trans fats, such as corn, soybean, cottonseed and sunflower oil.
MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides. MCT's are fatty acids where the molecules are smaller than those in most of the fats you eat, which are commonly known as LCT (long-chain triglycerides).
This therefore makes MCT's easier to digest because they bypass the stomach directly to the liver quickly, meaning they can be absorbed into the bloodstream quickly and have a positive effect on your metabolism.
MCT's convert rapidly into useable energy in the form of ketones, which essentially encourages the body to use fat as a priority fuel source instead of glucose.
MCT's are known for their ability to support cognitive (brain) function, weight management, gut health and to combat harmful bacteria and even parasites in the body.
Whilst certain other foods such as palm kernel oil, whole butter, whole milk and eggs are all rich in MCT's, the concentrated source derived from coconut oil is widely considered to be one of the cleanest and purest forms.
The best way to consume MCT oil, is to add a tablespoon to your morning organic black coffee or smoothie.
Coconut water is a natural electrolyte that helps to replenish crucial minerals, such as potassium, sodium and magnesium in the body, particularly after rigorous exercise.
Besides its super hydrating benefits, it is also known to help prevent kidney stones and to support heart health, lower cholesterol and to reduce excess oils in the skin that can cause break outs.
The best ways to enjoy coconut water include, chilled straight from the fridge on a hot summer's day to rehydrate after an intense workout, for general replenishment and for prolonged endurance during exercise to help prevent fatigue.
Coconut water is also a very refreshing base tonic to use when preparing summer green or fruit smoothies in a blender - as a substitute for regular dairy milk or nut milks.
The main takeaway
Even though botanists like to classify coconut as a fibrous one-seeded drupe, coconuts are actually a fruit, nut and seed all rolled into one.
Coconut is a versatile, delicious whole food that is jam packed with nutrients and readily available, particularly during the summer season. Coconut oil products are easy to find year round, however just be sure that you source only raw, organic varieties with absolutely no additives.
You'll find a selection of the purest coconut oil products in our store or at your local health food market.
Whatever you do, if you're not already, be sure to make coconut and coconut oil products a staple of your ongoing self care routine and you'll soon notice the very real benefits to your health and vitality.
Tolman Self Care.