Throughout most western communities, coconuts are known as a nutritious food rich in vitamins and minerals. A mainstay of diets in almost every Pacific nation – especially island nations – there are many benefits of eating coconuts and coconut fibers, even if they are hard to crack open.
Coconuts are interesting on many levels. For starters, they can be classified as fruits, nuts, and seeds. Botanically speaking, a coconut is a drupe – a fruit with three layers in which the outer fleshy layer surrounds a hardened shell with a seed inside – similar to peaches, olives or cherries.
But unlike other drupes, coconuts can be hard to eat. That is why coconut infused meal replacement bars are a great option. Coconut is a common ingredient in the best energy bars on the market today.
How to Eat a Coconut
Coconuts can be eaten in many ways. You can not only drink the milk and eat the fruit itself, but coconut serves as an excellent ingredient when it comes to cooking and baking. Many nutritional supplements, such as a fitness bar, contain coconut.
Here are a few common ways to consume coconut:
- Coconut Oil: Coconut essential oil is what is known as a carrier oil, meaning it is used to dilute other essential oils. Its application can be topical or oral.
- Coconut Water: Coconut water is one of the most hydrating liquids we can consume, replacing potassium that typically lost during exercise.
- Coconut Milk: Coconut milk can be used as a substitute for cow’s milk in coffee, cereal, and smoothies.
- Sugar: Coconut can be used as a sweetener that is high in iron and potassium, replacing regular cane sugar cup for cup. Coconut is used as a sweetener in the best meal replacement bars.
- Dried Flakes: Coconut flakes are common on desserts and in meal replacement bars. The flakes can also be used on granola or yogurt.
Nutritional Value of Coconut
Coconuts are cram packed with vitamins and minerals. Coconut milk is loaded with vitamin B, vitamin C, and vitamin E, making it one of the most nutritional fruits available. While vitamin C and E help build strong immune systems, vitamin B provides a boost of energy that can keep you active throughout the day.
Coconut milk it also rich in minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. Magnesium helps regulate your heart rate and supports your central nervous system as well as many other important biological functions. Potassium helps regulate your kidneys, muscles and even your brain, while phosphorous works to keep your bones healthy.
Iron, which helps produce disease-fighting red blood cells, is also found in coconut.
Coconut is a Disease Fighter
Coconut is loaded with antioxidants, which scavenge free radicals and help fight the symptoms of a variety of diseases, including Alzheimer’s, dementia, heart disease and certain cancers. Coconut pairs well with other fruits that are high in antioxidants, such as cranberries and raisins.
Coconuts have a high level of lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid also found in human milk. Lauric acid fights viruses and bacteria that can cause illness. Studies found that lauric acid is effective at reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels, which can decrease the odds of stroke or heart disease.
People who eat coconut as a regular part of their diet also have lower levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and higher levels of HDL (good cholesterol).
Coconut Helps with Energy and Weight Loss
Coconut milk and coconut water are great for boosting your energy levels, but they are also low in carbohydrates, calories, sugar and fat. The nutritional aspects of coconut help with weight loss in a number of ways, including stimulating the metabolism and burning fat.
Unlike other foods that are high in fatty acids, coconut provides energy. The medium chain fatty acids found in coconut do not need to be digested in the liver or gallbladder, which means it is safe for people who have had a cholecystectomy in the past.
Due to its high fiber content, coconut is much easier to digest, even for people with digestive issues. The “meat” of the coconut has more fiber than wheat and other grains.
Uses of Coconut Fiber
Coconut fiber has become a huge industry after its introduction to western society in the late 19th century. Produced mainly in Sri Lanka and India, coconut fiber can be used in the following ways:
- Rope: Since coconut fiber is strong, natural and resists seawater, boaters and fishermen use coconut fiber rope widely.
- Insulation: The construction industry has picked up on coconut fiber as an affordable, efficient insulator in homes and commercial buildings.
- Home products: Mattresses, floor mats and even upholstery are great uses for coconut fiber.
Coconut serves many purposes. From nutritional meal replacement to everyday household items, coconut is becoming more commonplace. For more information on how we use coconut in our nutritious meal replacement bars, sign up for the Santa Barbara Bar newsletter and receive the latest details on our new innovative line of products.
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