Benefits Of Coconut

Coconut:

Description

Benefits Of Coconut

The coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family). It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which is not a botanical nut. The spelling cocoanut is an old-fashioned form of the word. The term is derived from 16th century Portuguese and Spanish cocos, meaning "grinning face", from the three small holes on the coconut shell that resemble human facial features.

Nutritional Benefits


Coconut nutrition can best be used for weight loss, cooking healthy foods, and curing infections, diseases, and picture of coconut nutrition showing image of the coconut fruits outerlayer exocarp preventing yeast overgrowth. History of coconuts and facts about coconut oil fat, cholesterol, and calories are shown here in the below chart.
Nutritional Information for Coconut Fruit (USDA Nutrient Database) Nutritional Value per 100g
  • Carbohydrates 15.23g
  • Water 46.99g
  • Energy 1481 kJ (354 kcal)
  • Dietary Fiber 9.0g
  • Sugars 6.23g
  • Fat 33.49g
  • saturated 29.70g
  • monounsaturated 1.43g
  • polyunsaturated 0.37g
  • Protein 3g
  • Cholesterol 0
Vitamin and Mineral Content for Coconut Fruit (USDA Nutrient Database) Nutritional Value per 100g
  • Calcium 14mg (1%)
  • Folate (Vit. B9) 26µg (7%)
  • Iron 2.43mg (19%)
  • Magnesium 32mg (9%)
  • Niacin (Vit. B3 0.54mg (4%)
  • Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.300mg (6%)
  • Phosphorus 113mg (16%)
  • Potassium 356mg (8%)
  • Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.02mg (1%)
  • Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.066mg (5%)
  • Vitamin B6 0.054mg (4%)
  • Vitamin C 3.3mg (6%)
  • Zinc 1.1mg (11%)

Health Benefits


The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer, dental care, and bone strength. These benefits of coconut oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and its properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, soothing, etc.

Hair Care
Coconut oil is one of the best natural nutrition for hair. It helps in healthy growth of hair providing them a shiny complexion. Regular massage of the head with coconut oil ensures that your scalp is free of dandruff, lice, and lice eggs, even if your scalp is dry. Coconut oil is extensively used in the Indian sub-continent for hair care. Most of the people in these countries apply coconut oil on their hair daily after bath. It is an excellent conditioner and helps in the re-growth of damaged hair. It also provides the essential proteins required for nourishing damaged hair. It is therefore used as hair care oil and used in manufacturing various conditioners, and dandruff relief creams. Coconut oil is normally applied topically for hair care.

Skin Care
Coconut oil is excellent massage oil for the skin as well. It acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skins including dry skin. The benefit of coconut oil on the skin is comparable to that of mineral oil. Further, unlike mineral oil, there is no chance of having any adverse side effects on the skin with the application of coconut oil. Coconut oil therefore is a safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of skin. It also delays wrinkles, and sagging of skin which normally become prominent with age. Coconut oil also helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections. Therefore coconut oil forms the basic ingredient of various body care products such as soaps, lotions, creams, etc., used for skin care. Coconut oil also helps in preventing premature aging and degenerative diseases due to its antioxidant properties.

Heart Diseases
There is a misconception spread among many people that coconut oil is not good for the heart. This is because it contains a large quantity of saturated fats. However, coconut oil is beneficial for the heart. It contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in preventing various heart problems including high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. The saturated fats present in coconut oil are not harmful as it happens in case of other vegetables oils. It does not lead to increase in LDL levels. It also reduces the incidence of injury in arteries and therefore helps in preventing atherosclerosis.

Weight Loss
Coconut oil is very useful in reducing weight. It contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that help in taking off excessive weight. It is also easy to digest and it helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and enzymes systems. Further, it increases the body metabolism by removing stress on pancreases, thereby burning out more energy and helping obese and overweight people reduce their weight. Hence, people living in tropical coastal areas, who eat coconut oil daily as their primary cooking oil, are normally not fat, obese or overweight.

Digestion
Internal use of coconut oil occurs primarily as cooking oil. Coconut oil helps in improving the digestive system and thus prevents various stomach and digestion related problems including irritable bowel syndrome. The saturated fats present in coconut oil have anti microbial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc., that cause indigestion. Coconut oil also helps in absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

Immunity
Coconut oil is also good for the immune system. It strengthens the immune system as it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which is claimed to help in dealing with viruses and bacteria causing diseases such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. It helps in fighting harmful bacteria such as listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia.

Healing and Infections
When applied on infections, it forms a chemical layer which protects the infected body part from external dust, air, fungi, bacteria and virus. Coconut oil is most effective on bruises as it speeds up the healing process by repairing damaged tissues.

Infections: Coconut oil is very effective against a variety of infections due to its antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. According to the Coconut Research Center, coconut oil kills viruses that cause influenza, measles, hepatitis, herpes, SARS, etc. It also kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, etc. Coconut oil is also effective on fungi and yeast that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete's foot, thrush, diaper rash, etc.

Other
Liver: The presence of medium chain triglycerides and fatty acids helps in preventing liver diseases as they substances are easily converted into energy when they reach the liver, thus reducing work load on the liver and also preventing accumulation of fat.

Kidney: Coconut oil helps in preventing kidney and gall bladder diseases. It also helps in dissolving kidney stones.

Pancreatitis: Coconut oil is also believed to be useful in treating pancreatitis.

Stress Relief: Coconut oil is very soothing and hence it helps in removing stress. Applying coconut oil to the head followed with a gentle massage helps in removing mental fatigue.

Diabetes: Coconut oil helps in controlling blood sugar, and improves the secretion of insulin. It also helps in effective utilization of blood glucose, thereby preventing and treating diabetes.

Bones: As mentioned earlier, coconut oil improves the ability of our body to absorb important minerals. These include calcium and magnesium which are necessary for development of bones. Thus coconut oil is very useful to women who are prone to osteoporosis after middle age.

Dental Care: Calcium is an important element present in teeth. Since coconut oil facilitates absorption of calcium by the body, it helps in getting strong teeth. Coconut oil also stops tooth decay.

HIV and Cancer: It is believed that coconut oil plays an instrumental role in reducing viral susceptibility of HIV and cancer patients. Preliminary research has shown indications of the effect of coconut oil on reducing the viral load of HIV patients (Reference).

Consumption Tips

There are several methods practiced to cut open the whole coconut fruit. Only expert person with enough skills of plying the tough outer husk should employ in the task. The nuts are usually de-husked with the help of huge machines in the industries. At the households, it is plied using sharp sickle, portion by portion to expose underneath kernel with the spherical to ovals shaped shell. In India and other Asian countries, the nut is broken by hitting against hard surface with great force to crack it open. Its water is usually discarded. The meat is then separated from its attachment to shell using a sharp spatula or knife. The meat is then cut into chunks, slices or grated using special household knife, or grater.

Here are some serving tips
  • Slices or chunks are eaten as a snack. The kernel can be eaten in many ways. In one of the special recipe in South India, where small slices or grated coconut is mixed with jackfruit slices, honey, sugar, and banana and served as dessert.
  • Finely grated and dried coconut powder is used in the preparation of variety of savory dishes in India and other Asian region. Coconut chutney is a thick paste prepared with grinding together grated coconut, roasted peanuts, green or red chilli peppers, mustard seeds, curry leaves, garlic, and salt and used as a dip with rice cake (idli), poori (puffed fried thin bread) etc.
  • Dried coconut powder is found special place in mouth-watering sweet dishes like burfi, cake, chocolate, pies, custard (kheer) etc in almost all parts of South Asia, and East Asian regions.
  • Fresh tender coconut water can be made special drink adding lemon slices, mint leaves, orange zest etc.
  • Coconut milk is added to flavor variety of food preparations. Fish and seafood curries cooked in milk is one of a special recipe in many parts of Indonesia, Philippines, India (Kerala,), Malaysia and Sri Lanka. In Indonesia and Malaysia, rice is steamed in milk with herbs and spices (nasi uduk) and served with chicken or beef curry.

Caution

Coconut is a very healthy nut that can be used safely as food. There are no known reactions of any sort notified so far eating it. Its delicious kernel is not only cherished in healthy but considered safe in pregnancy, infants as well as in diseased conditions.
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