Once considered health hazards for their high saturated fat content, coconuts are now listed among the world’s most sought-after wonder foods. Rich in fatty acids that carry any number of health benefits, these delicious fruits are a great addition to any diet.
Coconut health benefits include the promotion of:
- Heart health
- Weight loss
- Skin health
- Brain function
- Digestive health
Improve Heart Health
Your average coconut is full of saturated fats. Before you get out the list of banned foods, consider this: Coconuts contain healthy saturated fats (yes, there is such a thing).
The vast majority of fats that we consume on a daily basis are composed of long-chain triglycerides (LCT). Coconuts, on the other hand, contain medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
The difference is that MCTs won’t raise your bad cholesterol levels. In fact, they’re known for boosting “good” cholesterol levels and converting “bad” cholesterol.
At the end of the day, the fatty acids in coconuts may actually lower your chances of developing clogged arteries. That, in turn, may lower your risk of heart disease.
Not yet convinced? Just ask the populations of Tokelau, Polynesia, and Sri Lanka, all of which consume large quantities of coconut, yet demonstrate incredibly low rates of heart disease.
Coconut Nutrition Facts (serving size: 1 medium coconut)
Potassium: 1,413 mg (40% daily value)
Dietary Fiber: 36 g (144% dv)
Coconut protein: 13g (26% dv)
Saturated Fat: 118g (590%)
Calcium: 5% dv
Vitamin C: 21% dv
Iron: 53% dv
Vitamin B-6: 10% dv
Magnesium: 31% dv
Destroy Dangerous Microorganisms
The fatty acids in coconut also have the ability to eliminate harmful microorganisms in the human body. That’s because lauric acid, the principal fatty acid in mother’s milk, makes up around 50 percent of the fatty acid content of coconuts.
Both lauric acid and its by-product, monolaurin, have the power to kill bacteria (such as the deadly Staphylococcus Aureus), fungi (such as Candida Albicans, which causes yeast infections), and even viruses.
Improve Digestive Health
If you want to stay regular, eat a coconut. Composed of 61 percent dietary fiber, coconuts can easily compete with wheat bran and oat bran as major sources of roughage.
Fiber, a non-digestible carbohydrate, is critical to a healthy diet. Unlike digestible food, fiber passes quickly through the digestive track, warding off constipation, irregularity, and even colon cancer.
Unfortunately, Americans don’t get enough fiber in their diet to maintain healthy digestive tracts. Although the Journal of the American Medical Association recommends something on the order of 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day, the average person gets decidedly less than that.
Now there’s a simple, delicious solution: Eat more coconuts.
Coconuts can help control hunger. Studies suggest that those who get a high percentage of their energy from coconut calories tend to consume less food overall. In other words, the particular fatty acids in coconuts help you feel full for longer, all the while eating fewer calories.
There’s also evidence that coconuts, which have a low glycemic index (GI), slow down the release of glucose and therefore help manage your blood sugar levels. That not only helps control sweet cravings but may also help manage the risks associated with diabetes.
Boost Your Energy
Coconut is a great energy source, providing a quick, nutritious boost without the negative side effects of sugary junk products. As such, it’s great for improving endurance and overall athletic performance.
Add in the high mineral, vitamin, amino acid, and electrolyte content, and it’s no wonder coconuts are touted as a modern miracle food from one end of the world to the other.