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Coconut

Coconuts have remarkably become a multipurpose food commodity in the market today. Every part of the fruit is indeed useful: from our everyday cooking to our health and beauty routines. Thus, it has been classified as “one of nature’s greatest gifts to man”. 

Also known as the “fruit of the coconut palm”, coconuts are a powerful one-seeded stone drupe and it can be all three: a fruit, a nut, and a seed. At present, coconuts germinate in tropical countries such as the Hawaiian Islands, the Caribbean and some portions of South America and Africa.

The fruit is exceptionally nutritious, rich in fiber, and is loaded with vitamins and minerals that the body needs to keep going. Surely, coconuts pack a good punch.

What is it about this tropical food that remains to intrigue and mystify the masses all at once? Let’s discover more of the numerous health benefits of coconut and what they have to offer.

Classification of Coconut

There are two types identified from the palm species Cocos nucifera: 

  • Allogamous - Done through crossed fertilization. Known as the large coconut palms.
  • Autogamous - Done through Self-fertilization. Also known as the dwarf varieties. They usually measure between 10 and 12 meters high.

Medicinal Values

Unlike other fruits that are high in carbohydrates, coconuts contain healthy fatty acids which are good for the body. Several scholarly articles indicate that coconuts are proven to be helpful in maintaining a healthy and toxic-free immune system. 

Here are some of the benefits you can gain out of it: 

  • The water in it prevents dehydration 
  • Keeps the immune system healthy: it is antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-parasite.
  • Recondition and aids thyroid function
  • Boosts insulin secretion and indications associated with diabetes
  • Provide better digestion
  • 1\2 of the saturated fat coming from coconuts comes from lauric acid, which can be a big help in raising levels of heart-protective HDL or (“good”) cholesterol

Health Benefits

Rich in Nutrients

Coconut is widely considered as a great source of healthy fat. The meat in it has protein and fiber, as well as other vital minerals such as:

  • Magnesium
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Iron
  • VitaminB6
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Potassium

Improve Endurance

The meat in a coconut has ample quantity of median chain fatty acids, a kind of saturated fat that is considered lighter for the human body to assimilate compared to other fats. These fats have been determined to improve the endurance of some who have been using it regularly. 

Provides better oral health

A study has shown that the meat found in coconuts has rich antimicrobial properties. These can be beneficial in fighting infections associated with root canals and other dental issues. It can help in eliminating different bacteria found in your mouth while keeping your gums and teeth clean and free from infection or cavities.

Contains powerful antioxidants

Coconut meat has phenolic compounds, which are antioxidants that might improve and protect cells from damages such as oxidation. 

The fundamental phenolic compounds identified are as follows:

  • gallic acid
  • caffeic acid
  • salicylic acid
  • p-coumaric acid

These antioxidants provide cell protection from damages, which may reduce diseases.

Helps in nourishing your hair and skin

Historically, coconut oil can also be useful for your skin and hair. Instead of soaking your body with synthetic and commercialized products, coconut oil can be helpful in nurturing and taking good care of your skin, scalp, and hair.

Coconut oil has been widely used as food and medicine for many years.

Can be a great addition to your diet

Coconut is flexible in the kitchen setting and works perfectly in both raw and ready to cook meals. It’s a prominent choice for those on nut-free, gluten-free, paleo, or low-carb diets. 

Other Health Benefits

There are several studies and theories tackling the potential benefits of coconut but only have narrow scientific evidence to support their claims. 

Among the other reported health benefits are the following:

  • Decreases the risk of heart problems and improves good cholesterol (HDL)
  • Provides protection against kidney diseases and bladder infections
  • Assists in protecting the body from cancers through insulin reduction and eliminating of free radicals that give rise to aging and degenerative diseases
  • Prevent some poisons
  • Helpful in losing weight

Nonetheless, it is still best to consult your doctor first before using coconuts. 

Precautions

Because coconuts are naturally high in fat, it means they are also high in calories. Thus, they might demonstrate weight gain, depending on your intake and needs. Moreover, consuming coconut in moderateness is fine, but it is best to contact your healthcare provider about it first if you are at risk of developing heart problems.

In addition, there are people allergic to coconuts, though this is rare. If you have this kind of allergy, you should avoid using and eating all coconut-produced products.

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