Coconut is not only a false fruit, it is also a nut and seed. It is gotten from the fruit of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). Coconut is called kwakwa in hausa language, Aku oyibo in Igbo while the Yoruba call it Agbon. Coconut is used for its milk , oil and water. There was this myth then that if a child drinks the water from coconut he would be dull, it is pure lies.
A well cooked Nigerian coconut rich is very delicious, the raw meat of coconut can be eaten raw with bread while the chilled milk of coconut will go very well in a sunny afternoon.
Coconut is not only used because of its nice flavor it is parked full with a lot of nutrients that are beneficial to our well being. 1 cup (100 grams) of raw coconut meat contains the following
- Calories 354
- Protein 3 grams
- Carbs 15 grams
- Fiber 9 grams
- Fat 33 grams
- Manganese 75% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Copper 22% of the DV
- Selenium 14% of the DV
- Magnesium 8% of the DV
- Phosphorus 11% of the DV
- Iron 13% of the DV
- Potassium 10% of the DV
The fat of coconut is in the form of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), the body metabolizes MCTs differently than other types of fats, absorbing them directly from your small intestine and rapidly using them for energy .
Let us explore together the amazing benefits of coconut
1. It promotes heart health:
Studies have shown that people who eat more coconut oil had higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides which are usually implicated in heart diseaees.
High blood pressure usually involves low potassium levels, hence, drinking coconut water on a regular basis can be quite effective at regulating blood pressure due to its concentration of potassium and lauric acid.
Consuming virgin coconut oil, which is extracted from dried coconut meat, may reduce belly fat. This is especially beneficial because excess belly fat increases your risk of heart disease a
2. It contains powerful antioxidants:
Coconut meat contains phenolic compounds, which are antioxidants and free radical scavenging activity that may help protect cells from oxidative damage. The main phenolic compounds identified include
- gallic acid
- caffeic acid
- salicylic acid
- p-coumaric acid.
The polyphenols found in it can prevent the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, making it less likely to form plaques in arteries that can increase the risk of heart disease.
3. It promotes skin health:
Cytokinins, kinetin and trans-zeatin present in coconut have anti thrombotic, anti-carcinogenic and anti-ageing effects on the skin . Studies have shown that Cytokinins help to regulate the cell growth and their divisions. These helps to minimize the aging of skin cells, balance PH levels, and keep the connective tissues strong and hydrated. Therefore, you can simply apply coconut Water or coconut oil onto affected skin areas every night before going to bed , it will help with acne, age spots, wrinkles, stretch marks, cellulite, and eczema.
4. It help to promote blood sugar control:
Coconut is low in carbohydrate and high in fiber and fat, so it may help stabilize your blood sugar level. It also improves the insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose. Coconut controls diabetes by positively affecting the hormones that are responsible for regulating blood sugar level, the improved beta-cell function is due to the high amounts of arginine found in coconut.
Futhermore, Coconut benefits quick digestion and other symptoms associated with digestive and bowel disorders. It supports absorption of nutrients and minerals while providing dietary fibre.
5. It has high Fiber content:
Coconut meat is known to be very high in dietary fibre and provides 61% of fibre. Coconut fibre slows down the release of glucose and transports it to the cell were it is converted into energy. It assists in relieving stress on the pancreas and enzyme systems which reduces the risk of developing diabetes.
6. It prevents you from being dehydrated:
The body constitute about 75% of water, not being hydrated will not allow the body to function properly. Coconut water contains essebtial electrolytes that help in maintaining hydration. People involved in easy workouts and other strenuous activities should include as much coconut water as they can in their diet. Coconut water replaces the lost electrolytes, provides hydration and increases immune response. It is a better alternative to water as it is tastier than plain water and is loaded with nutrition.
7. It can be used for treatment of abdominal fats:
Abdominal fat is very diificult to do away with and is a risk factor for many diseases. Coconut is beneficial in treating this dangerous fats in the abdominal cavity. A 200 grams of coconut serving daily can lead to significant reduction in both BMI and waist circumference in just 12 weeks
8. It can be used to increase energy levels:
Are you always feeling tired? Coconut will be an ideal recipe for you. It helps to increase energy by burning fat. The triglycerides found in coconut oil increase 24 hours of energy expenditure by 5% leading to weight loss in the long run. It is also known to reduce hunger pangs, this is directly related to the way fatty acids in the body are metabolized as ketone as appetite reducing effect. People who consistently use coconut products have a stronger ability to go without eating for several hours with no effects of hypoglycaemia.
9. It can be used to boost immunity:
Coconut nutrition is excellent for our immune system. It contains a lipid called lauric acid, and many studies have shown that lauric acid can support the immune system. Lauric acid have antimicrobial and antiinflammatory prperties. Consuming coconut in its raw form can help to treat some of the worst and most resilient illness like throat infections, bronchitis, urinary tract infection, tapeworms and other ailments caused by microbes.
You have seen the benefits of coconut above but consumption in moderation is very important. Coconut is high in fat and calories, mind your portion sizes if you are trying to lose weight or need to follow a low-fat diet. Also, some people can be allergic to coconuts, though this is rare. If you have this allergy, you should avoid consuming all coconut-derived products.