Crazy for Coconuts

Coconuts, this has to be one of my favourite foods on the planet.  I could eat anything and everything coconut.  My weakness…coconut ice cream, it is divine.  Coconuts not only taste awesome but they are also a powerhouse of nutrition.

Around the world the coconut tree is known as “the tree of life” because it’s a source of shelter, food and medicine.  Dr. Mercola has a great infographic that shows the many uses of the coconut tree and fruit.  But I want to share with you the many many many benefits of introducing coconut to your diet whether it be coconut milk, water, meat, sugar, flour or cream.

Here are just a few of the many benefits of coconuts:

Coconut Milk

This is a blend of coconut water and coconut meat resulting in a wonderful milk emulsion.

  • easier to digest than cows milk because it’s lactose free
  • very healing to the digestive tract and may even heal damage done to the intestinal system in cases of IBS and  Crohn’s disease
  • helps maintain balanced blood sugar levels because it’s a great source of manganese (this mineral is usually deficient in people with blood sugar issues)
  • aids in lowering blood pressure levels because of its high levels of potassium
  • keeps immune system strong because it’s rich in vitamin c
  • helps keep bones strong because it contains phosphorus (phosphorus is needed along with calcium to prevent bone loss)
  • contains high levels of omega 3, 6 and 9 along with rich amounts of amino acids (this is an excellent combination of fats and protein to make it a complete meal)

Skin and Hair

Coconut milk is also excellent for your skin and hair.  It can be used as:

  • an effective skin cleanser and exfoliator
  • helps blood vessels and skin stay elastic
  • rich in vitamin E and oil that work together to moisturize hair deeply
  • also effective at controlling excessive hair loss

Note: if you are buying a can of coconut milk look for a can that does not contain some kind of binder such as carrageen.  You really only want the real deal, 100% coconut milk.

Or try making your own.  Here is a simple way to make your own coconut milk without having to track down actual coconuts.

1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

2 cup filtered water (or even better use 100% coconut water)

Heat the water.  Put the coconut and hot water into blender.  Blend it until the coconut is completely pureed.  Pour the milk through a milk bag or cheesecloth (incase there is still shredded coconut).  Keep in a glass jar and store in refrigerator for up to 5 days.  Because there are no stabilizers, the fat may rise to the top, just give the jar a shake before you use it. Or scoop out the cream and make your own frosting for cupcakes and other desserts.

Coconut Water

This is actual “living” water.  Yes, that’s right, the water is alive!  Coconut water is actually living tissue of the coconut palm, even months after a coconut has been separated from the tree, it remains alive.  Coconut water is a superfood rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes and sugars.  The primary minerals (or electrolytes) found in coconut water are essentially the same as those found in human blood.  Doctors have been know to use coconut water as an intravenous fluid for rehydration.

  • a great source of electrolytes such as potassium which is necessary for proper hydration.  Drop the sports drinks and start drinking coconut water!
  • contains enzymes that help detoxify and repair the body
  • been known to be of benefit in relieving fatigue, constipation, dehydration, kidney and bladder disorders, slows down the aging process
  • boost energy and endurance, enhancing physical and athletic performance
  • improves digestion and bowel function

Note:  read the labels when buying coconut water.  You only want 100% coconut water in the ingredient list.  I’m seeing many coconut water products out there that are from concentrate or have a lot of added sugar in them.

Coconut Oil

I’d say is one of the healthiest oils out there.  Yes, coconut oil is a saturated fat, that has given a bad rap in the past, but it’s time to be no longer afraid, enjoy the many benefits this health promoting oil has to offer.

  • is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial
  • promotes weight loss
  • safest oil to cook with at high heat
  • strengthens immune system
  • great for skin and hair
  • boosts metabolism

Note:  look for organic, virgin, cold pressed oil

There are many other coconut products out there for you to try.  Coconut cream could be used in desserts or soups, coconut sugar used as a healthy sweetener, or try coconut flour in baking.

What coconut products do you love to use?