For the love of coconuts
Coconuts have in recent years become quite the hot commodity. No longer do they have a bad reputation that associates them with clogged arteries, high cholesterol and heart disease- in fact, in recent years you will find coconuts in everything from cuisines to beauty routines. It appears they have finally been getting some well-deserved attention across the globe- specifically here in North America.
Did you know that coconut trees will start producing coconuts after just one year from being planted AND produce roughly 300 coconuts per year? It’s true! Our last trip to Costa Rica included a cocoa farm tour with hundreds of different types of fruit trees. We were educated on everything (AND sampled everything), and it was honestly the best part of my trip by far!
If you have ever been somewhere tropical for vacation (or perhaps are lucky enough to live there), you will most likely have experienced seeing the locals walk around with coolers full of ice cold coconuts. Usually, for around a $1 you can enjoy fresh coconut water – the perfect way to cool down on a hot, sunny day. When we were in Costa Rica (March 2018), I enjoyed one every single day. Now as we are getting close to taking off to Thailand in a few short weeks… I find myself craving that pure, fresh, and replenishing taste! It will definitely be a part of my daily routine while I am there for that month- and I know my body will thank me for it.
In my eyes, I believe that coconuts (like many other superfoods) appear to be a cure-all; highly nutritious, rich in fiber, and packed with essential vitamins and minerals. It’s worth noting that fresh coconuts can be either young or mature- with a few small but distinct differences among them. Coconuts with a green shell or a white husk are considered to be young, and are typically Asian coconuts. The more easily identified brown-haired coconuts are the more mature variety. Typically, young coconuts contain more water and soft, gel-like meat whereas mature coconuts have firm meat and less water. This is why you will see the vendors in tropical countries selling green or white looking coconuts on the beach, and resorts usually making drinks inside the mature coconuts.
Out of the two, young coconuts would be considered to be the more healthful variety, as the water inside is one of the highest sources of electrolytes out there. It’s also important to note that coconut water is high in vitamins & minerals, low in calories, carbohydrates, and sugars, and almost completely fat-free- making it a significantly better option than any commercial sport drink.
With the incredible influence of the media, and the large data-base of contradicting nutritional information, it’s easy to understand why most are hesitant to see coconuts as a healthy alternative. When selecting a coconut oil, you want to make sure you are choosing an unprocessed, unrefined, pure extra-virgin coconut oil that has NOT been hydrogenated- as this process of hydrogenation rapidly increases saturated fat, it also significant decreases unsaturated fat. This processed version is the one responsible for the bad reputation, is NOT safe for consumption, and SHOULD be avoided.
“Although coconut oil is a saturated fat it is unlike the high calorie, cholesterol-soaked, long chain saturated fats. It is rich in a medium-chain fatty acid that can actually help boost metabolism and aid in fat loss. It is metabolized quickly and instead of fat sticking to your belly, it gets burned off as energy. It also helps detoxify your body and balances your digestive tract.” – Sunwarrior
In other words, coconuts in all their glory get a big thumbs up from this gal, and I’ll continue using them in multiple ways- including as my latest obsession: to remove makeup! Seriously, it works, and my skin has never looked better. *Cue applause*. Now, were going to jump into the nitty gritty, and focus on 10 of the incredible benefits coconut oil has to offer you. Ready? OK!
1. Coconut oil helps to increase the levels of HDL cholesterol (the good ones) that aid in improving heart health, and lowers LDL cholesterol (the bad ones).
2. It is useful for weight loss especially for reducing abdominal obesity. Unrefined, cold pressed coconut oil for hair, skin, and cooking contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that help in taking off excessive weight.
3. It is known to be highly effective in reducing protein loss in hair. Due to low molecular weight, it is able to penetrate the hair shaft and prevent hair damage. It is an excellent conditioner and helps the re-growth process of damaged hair. It also provides the essential proteins required for nourishing and healing damaged hair.
4. It is found to be rich in antibacterial, anti-aging, antioxidant, wound healing, and anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps in treating various skin problems that include eczema, psoriasis, UV radiation, dermatitis, dry skin, wounds and burns.
5. It has been shown to be a great source of ketone that is associated with improving memory- thus, it improves the cognitive abilities of Alzheimer’s patients.
6. It strengthens the immune system because it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid, which have antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties.
7. The saturated fats present in it have antimicrobial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, and parasites that can cause indigestion. Therefore, it helps in relieving constipation and preventing symptoms of IBS.
8. It facilitates the absorption of calcium by the body, helping to prevent tooth decay, increase the strength of teeth, and prevent plaque formation.
9. The presence of medium chain triglycerides and fatty acids in coconut oil helps in preventing liver diseases. This is because those substances are easily converted into energy when they reach the liver, thus reducing its workload and also preventing accumulation of fat. It also helps in preventing kidney and gall bladder diseases and helps dissolve kidney stones.
10. Pure coconut carrier oil for aromatherapy is very soothing and helps remove stress. Applying it to the head, followed by a gentle massage, helps eliminate mental fatigue. It also gives relief from stress and has antioxidant properties.
I hope this information was useful to you in some way, and that you will jump on the coconut train soon if you haven’t already. I know I’ll be incorporating new ways to use it too! Keep an eye out HERE this week, where I will be sharing a few DIY ways to add coconut oil to your beauty routine!