Coconut products are everywhere, including milk in coffee, oils to cook with, flour to bake with and leading hair and skin products. We answer the big question. What makes coconuts healthy?
At one time, bringing a coconut home from a shop was a rare treat in the UK. Cracking it open was a challenge but munching on the white ‘meat’ - or drinking the water - made it all worthwhile.
Desiccated (dried) coconut for recipes became a must for cooks and bakers. Then, the health benefits of eating coconuts became better known, and the methods for extracting the goodness expanded.
Now, coconut comes in many shapes and forms, including lots of convenient and creative options for adding coconut to your diet!
This article looks at the main reasons that coconut is good for you.
Reasons to eat coconut
Most of the products made from coconut come from the fleshy white part. This can be eaten ‘as is’ or pressed to create milk and oil, or dried and ground to use as a flour substitute.
(Coconut water is the refreshing liquid inside, but the milk is created by ‘pressing the flesh’!)
One of the reasons coconuts are healthy to eat is that they are naturally low in carbs. Yet, they are a great source of fats that provide instant energy. It’s why coconuts feature heavily in keto diets.
They also supply important natural fibre. This is like a double whammy – the white pulp is easy to digest, and able to provide fibre to aid the digestive process.
Have you heard of free radicals? They come from the environment and age to attack us at a cellular level. Coconuts are a good source of antioxidants, the natural chemicals that balance free radicals.
Coconuts are also packed with important nutrients. This alone means the answer to ‘Are coconuts good for you?’ is a resounding YES! They include important minerals, such as manganese, copper, selenium, phosphorus, potassium, and iron. All of these are vital to a balanced diet and good health.
They are also a plant-based protein source – always handy for vegans and vegetarians – and coconuts contain some B vitamins too.
Why MCT oil is special
This is where our guide to coconut’s health benefits gets a bit technical, but stick with us as it's interesting!
The oil that’s created by pressing coconut pulp contains two chemical compounds – MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) and LCTs (long-chain triglycerides). With care and expertise, it’s possible to extract the MCTs to create a highly valued oil.
MCT oil – which can only be produced from coconuts and palm kernels – is particularly easy to absorb. Making it ideal for anyone with digestive issues such as IBS and Crohn’s Disease.
Also, as it bypasses many normal digestive processes and heads straight to the liver, it provides a quick energy boost. It’s why MCT oil is a firm favourite for adding to Bulletproof Coffee recipes, or for anyone who needs a morning pick-me-up or a post-exercise energy boost.
Too much of anything can be bad for you, but it’s believed that in controlled amounts MCT oil helps weight management. This is because adding it to something like coffee makes you feel full and stops you from snacking. It may also improve your metabolism, helping you to burn fat more efficiently.
Plus, MCT oil is less likely to be converted to body fat, as it’s so quickly digested and used for energy.
More advantages of eating coconut products
Research is underway to scientifically confirm more ways coconuts are good for you, including how their natural compounds can be used.
Such as, could they improve heart health? People who live in tropical countries – who eat lots of coconuts – appear to have substantially lower incidents of heart disease and low cholesterol.
There’s also evidence coconut helps balance blood sugars.
Another area of interest is whether the MCT fatty acids found in coconut meat contain antioxidant properties, which would mean eating coconut improves oral health.
Lastly, substituting wheat flour for coconut flour is a gluten-free baking option, as well as a good way of increasing protein, minerals and fibre in what you create.
Good stuff, and easy to use
What an incredible plant-based food coconut is!
We have created a versatile and creative range of products to make it easy to use coconut in lots of different ways. Including ones ideal for people who don’t like the taste of coconut, but who want to enjoy its wide sweeping nutritional benefits!