I love fresh coconut and I absolutely cannot live without coconut oil! So I thought I’d bring you some coconut nutrition facts to explain why you’d do yourself and your family a great favour to add more of this great functional food to your diet.
Coconut is a super food so to ensure the health benefits when using the oil or butter, as it is sometimes labelled, be sure to buy the raw, unrefined, organic version.
Also, just a little explanation: A functional food is classified as one which provides health benefits over and beyond its basic nutrients — and this one does it all including being delicious!
Fertility Boost and Protection!
The condition of the egg and sperm and therefore overall fertility is dependent on very important, basic building blocks of health. Fatty acids represent one of these vital pillars. The medium chain fatty acids found in coconuts become therefore a perfect ally in boosting one’s natural fertility which is only one of the benefits of coconut oil.
These fats have been shown in clinical research to act as protectors and repairers of sex cell DNA against environmental toxins and the damage they can cause. This protection has been shown to include (and is not limited to) the negative effects of benzo (a) pyrene, a highly toxic substance found predominantly in cigarette smoke, exhaust fumes and coal tar (which is found in some shampoos and cosmetics!); dimethylnitrosamine, a carcinogenic, liver toxin predominantly found in unfiltered water, cured meats, fish, beer and tobacco smoke; methyl metanesulfonate, a chemotherapeutic agent that has been shown to also be a carcinogen and reproductive toxin leading to sperm abnormalities and female infertility; and finally tetracycline, a common broad spectrum antibiotic linked to lowered fertility index.
The coconut fatty acids have also been shown to improve thyroid function, balance blood sugar levels and enhance healthy weight loss, which are vital factors for optimum fertility and a healthy pregnancy. Coconut oil also improves breast milk quality!
Use Coconut Oil for Skin and Hair Care
I have a rule not to put anything on my skin that I wouldn’t eat. So when it comes to moisturisers the only thing I allow my skin to eat is coconut oil. It is so incredibly soothing and healing for the skin I couldn’t think of a better choice. It’s beautiful on the face and full body alike and its antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties also make it perfect for helping to treat skin conditions such as acne, ringworm, eczema and psoriasis.
Now onto hair… if you suffer from dandruff this is a god-send. All you need to do is massage a couple of tablespoons of the oil into your scalp, place a handtowel on your pillow and leave it on overnight. Repeat as often as possible. For curly hair coconut oil is also great in place of chemical hair products — it’s remarkable for frizz control and it’s so nourishing for the hair.
Medium chain fatty acids in the form of lauric acid (comprises approximately 50% of the fatty acids in coconut fat) and are a predominant element of this super food. In the body, lauric acid can be transformed into a substance called monolaurin. This component has been shown to have anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-protozoal activities. In humans and animals, monolaurin has been shown to be able to destroy lipid (fat) coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, cytomegalovirus and influenza as well as various pathogenic bacteria including listeria monocytogenes, heliobacter pylori and protozoa such as giardia lamblia. Finally, the medium chain fatty acids found in coconut have also been shown to enhance immunity against micro-organisms which promote infertility causing infections.
Coconut Oil for Cardiovascular Health
According to research over the last four decades coconut oil has been shown to be beneficial for a healthy heart.
Although coconut oil has gained some bad press in the past because it contains saturated fats it is important to understand that the predominant type of fatty acids present in coconuts are medium chain. These fatty acids are processed differently by the digestive system to other types of fats. They are used mostly in energy production thus not contributing to arterial fatty deposits — one of the biggest causes of heart disease. In addition, coconut fat has been show to decrease LDL cholesterol levels and it seems to aid in weight loss.
With all these amazing benefits (and these are only some of them!) you may be wondering how you can get more of this remarkable functional food…
Some simple ways include drink coconut water or adding the coconut milk, coconut flesh or oil/butter as an ingredient to smoothies or juices to make them a whole meal; simply eating them from a spoon or adding the coconut butter to any recipe that calls for the use of oil — e.g. sautéing and stir frying are easy winners. You can even use it in some pastry dough recipes in place of dairy butter. Be adventurous and experiment with it!
In the meantime here’s a great recipe to get you started with adding more coconuts to your diet and ensure excellent digestive function and improved overall health. Enjoy!
Digestive Coconut Smoothie
Makes: 1 serving
50 g almonds, soaked
3 tbsp coconut, shredded
1 tbsp coconut oil2 tbsp flaxseed
1 tbsp slippery elm powder or chia seeds
½ tsp cinnamon
250 ml brewed tea (chamomile, lemon balm or peppermint)
½ banana or mixed berries
1 tsp of acidophilus (good gut bacteria) powder
Stevia, natural sugar substitute (equivalent to ½ tsp of sugar — use approximately 2-3 drops)
Method of Preparation
Put the soaked almonds, coconut, flaxseed, slippery elm powder and cinnamon in a food processor and blend until they are coarsely ground. Slowly add brewed tea and process until smooth. Add fruit and process until the mixture thickens. At the very end add acidophilus powder and pulse until mixed through. Serve immediately as flaxseed and slippery elm powder (or chia) continue to thicken.
Note: This is a great breakfast smoothie as the delicious combo coconut benefits anyone with digestive complaints such as cramping, bloating, flatulence, constipation and/or diarrhoea.