“Why are you eating coconut? It’s so fattening!” This comment was directed at me once and I couldn’t hold myself back and burst in to laughter. At the same time I was not surprised when this question was thrown at me. People believe certain myths on hearsay and decide what is good and what is bad for them. They seldom want to learn and understand real facts.
Most people consider coconut to be fatty fruit. But, if that is the case then by logic all those who include coconut in their daily food intake should be fat. This should be the case not only in India but in many other countries like Sri Lanka, Thailand and Philippines where coconut is a main cooking ingredient.
Coconut can be consumed in various ways – fresh, dry, coconut water, coconut oil, coconut milk, etc. Interestingly each form has its own significance. Coconut does have saturated fats (which is not as harmful as vegetable oil) but, it also has unsaturated fats (like polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids), polyphenols, vitamin K, vitamin E and minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, zinc and dietary fibre.
Let’s learn some more about the benefits of coconut and how it should be an important aspect of our diet. Coconut oil aids healthy hair growth and provides shine to tresses. It helps control high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and atherosclerosis as it has 50 per cent lauric acid. It helps moisturise all skin types and does not have adverse effects. It increases immunity as it has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties because of lauric acid and capric acid. These properties also aid digestion and relieve those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.
It improves the secretion of insulin and hence controls blood sugar levels. Coconut is good for bones as it has calcium and magnesium. Coconut oil can be used for cooking, coconut slices can be eaten as snacks and dry coconut is commonly used when making sweets. It also helps heal damaged tissues and infections.
MCT’S (medium chain triglycerides) present in coconut reduce appetite. Not only is coconut a fruit that can be eaten, it also has water which can be drunk. Just like the fruit, coconut water also has many benefits.
All we know about coconut water is a refreshing drink. Most like it but, let’s delve a little deeper in to its benefits. A thought has often crossed my mind – where does the coconut get the water that is so sweet and drinkable and so nutritious? Besides a lower sugar content, coconut water is packed with sodium, potassium, folic acid, B complex vitamins, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and iron minerals. So many nutrients in just 200 millilitres of water!
By drinking the water not only does the body absorb the above mentioned nutrients but many health issues are conquered and let’s understand how.
Benefits of coconut water:
Slows down ageing process and also can be applied on eczema and acne.
It is good for digestion as it has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.
It hydrates one’s body faster than normal water as it has natural electrolytes.
It is definitely healthier than fruit juices because it has fewer calories.
It has anti-carcinogenic and anti-thrombotic properties that reduce cholesterol levels.
It helps those suffering from UTI and kidney stones as it acts a diuretic.
Coconut water has 40 to 60 calories per 200 millilitres. So start consuming coconut and make it part of your diet.