Coconut Benefits, uses, Guide

Amazing Health And Beauty Benefits and Uses of Coconut: A Definitive Guide

Everyone loves some fresh, soft and juicy coconut. Whether at home or when eating out on a tropical Caribbean island, coconuts are one fruit that offer a number of amazing healthy and beauty benefits that are worth exploring.

Nutty Basics About The Coco-nut

Before we  dive into the meat and nitty-gritty about coconuts, let’s check through the nutty basics.

Coconut, known scientifically as Cocos nucifera belongs to the Palm family of fruits or the Arecaceae.

They can be found extensively in the tropical regions of the world in places such as Malaysia, Nigeria, Ghana, Polynesia and southern Asia.

Where did the name “coconut” come from? Don’t guess too far. It was named by some Spanish explorer who coined the name from the expression cocos  which means ‘grinning face’ or ‘smiling face’,

According to legend, these European observed three little eyes on the base of the nut fruit —something they thought looked very much like a monkey.


Coconut Nutritional Facts

Your favorite nut has got a lot of nutritional benefits in a nutshell. The coconut flesh contains rich amounts of minerals such as potassium, and fibers.

Let’s take a deeper look into the nutritional content of coconut.

Coconut Flesh:

For the average shredded coconut of about an ounce, it should have the following:

    • Average Energy — 130 calories
    • Protein Content — 1 gram
    • Fat Content — 8 grams
    • Fiber Content — ≥ 3 grams,
    • Calcium Content — 3 milligrams
    • Magnesium Content — 14 milligrams
    • Potassium Content — 103 milligrams
    • Sodium Content — 81 milligrams
    • Cholesterol Content  — 0 milligrams (when dried)
    • Iron Content  — 2 milligrams

Coconut Milk

As per the extract from the coconut flesh itself, that is, the coconut milk, half cup of the same has the following nutritional content:

    • Average Energy — 276 calories
    • Average Protein — 3 grams
    • Average Carbs — 7 grams
    • Average Sugar — 4 grams
    • Average Fiber — 3 grams
    • Average Fat — 29 grams
    • Average Saturated Fat — 25 grams saturated fat
    • Potassium Content — 316 milligrams
    • Sodium Content — 18 milligrams
    • Magnesium Content — 44 milligrams
    • Iron Content — 2 milligrams iron

Coconut Water

Being a natural drink with rich nutritional value, you might want to know the nutritional content of an average serving (or a glass) of coconut water:

    • Average Energy — 46 calories
    • Average Protein — ≤2 grams
    • Average Carbs — 9 grams
    • Average Fat — ≤ 0.5 grams
    • Average Fiber — 2.5 grams
    • Calcium Content — 58 milligrams
    • Magnesium Content — 60 milligrams
    • Potassium Content — 600 milligrams
    • Sodium Content — 252 grams sodium

Coconut Oil

As a versatile ingredient in recipes as well as beauty and cosmetic products, this coconut derivative is high in calories, saturated fats, and linoleic acid.

A tablespoonful of the same contains:

    • Average Energy — 117 calories
    • Saturated Fat Content — ≤ half the recommended daily limit of saturated fats
    • Linoleic Acid Content — ≤ small amounts
    • Monounsaturated Fat Content — ≤ small amounts

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Coconut’s Many Uses

Many Uses of Coconut

The coconut is a beautifully versatile fruit that is so widely adopted and utilized in a variety of ways and applications across the world.

Known in some parts as the ‘tree of life’, this hairy, brown, hollow nut that grows on the coconut tree gets used for a lot of things. From furniture to roofing (thatches) to a vital ingredient in food and drinks. Also very popular is its use an essential ingredient in beauty and cosmetic products.

The coconut fruit is pretty much a life essential. Its different parts can be used without wasting anything: the coconut flesh, milk, oil, and water find use in a variety of ways.

Things To Do With Coconut Water

That clear or mildly cloudy water found within the hollow of the coconut fruit is what ‘s know as the coconut water. Quite distinct from the coconut milk, coconut water is rich in easily digestive carbs and very low in fat.

A lot of people recon with the benefits of coconut water (both real and assumed), making it a very popular drink, especially in developing countries. Some nutrition experts believe it may help with a number of minor to severe health conditions.

Some benefits of coconut water which have been proven by researchers include:

    • Managing Stomach Troubles:

Having stomach troubles? Take some coconut water! It has been found to be useful as a vital therapy for acute diarrhea, stomach flu, dysentery, indigestion, and even constipation.

It has also been shown to be effective in eradicating intestinal worms, and in treating cholera.

It could offer some help to take at least a glass of coconut water, morning and evening whenever you experience digestive tract abnormalities, heat waves, and after strenuous exercises.

Coconuts also contain caprilic acid. A substance which helps to maintain a healthy stomach flora. This substance may help prevent over proliferation of candia in the gut.

    • As a Rehydrant:

We lose a lot of water while sweating when working out or physically exerting, or passing out urine. Coconut water can be useful as a rehydrant for athletes and physically active persons after an exercise.

It contains far less sugar and sodium compared to most sports drinks, and is rich in Potassium, Calcium, and Chloride. This makes it a good rehydrant to replenish and help regulate the body’s internal fluids,

In conditions that deplete water in the body such as dysentery, cholera, diarrhea and stomach flu, water from coconuts, having similar electrolyte balance as blood plasma can help replenish the lost fluid.

    • In Managing Blood pressure:

For hypertensive persons, coconut water can be of great help. Research has shown it to be very useful in regulating blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels.

According to scientists, individuals with high blood pressure usually have low potassium levels. Being rich in potassium and laureates, coconut water can be useful in managing blood pressure.

Also, some recent studies have found it to be helpful in raising the level of  HDL (good) cholesterol in the body, making it a very useful natural therapy for the heart.

    • As a Disease-fighting Agent:

It also helps fight disease as studies have shown it to have antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity.

Coconut water can also serve as a natural antibiotic. It contains lauric acid, a compound which gets converted into monolaurin in the human body.

Coconut and Kids

Monolaurin is a substance with antibiotic activity. It acts as an antiviral, antiprotozoal and antibacterial agent helping combat intestinal worms, parasites, lipid-coated viruses and other gut infections in children and adults.

Some therapists recommend taking a cup of coconut water mixed with a teaspoonful of extra virgin olive oil as a treatment for intestinal worms. This can be taken every day for a minimum of three days.

    • Energy and Metabolism:

Studies have shown that it boosts energy levels and improves metabolism in the human body.  Being very rich in in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients,it can serve as a super powerful energy drink.

Compared to most energy drinks and sports drinks, it contains a higher concentration of potassium and chloride, while being relatively low in sugar and sodium content.

In addition, coconut water is a natural electrolyte and isotonic beverage that can be beneficial in weight management.

    • As an Effective Renal Agent:

Substantive evidence exists supporting its effectiveness in managing urinary abnormalities, kidney stones, as well as malfunctioning kidneys.

    • Dealing With Skin Problems: 

For folks who have skin issues, coconut water can help a great deal. On the skin, it has been shown to help moisturize dry and itchy skin, heal age spots, and flatten out wrinkles.

It has also been shown to be useful as a treatment for acne. Researchers have found that Cytokinins, which coconut water contains richly, help to regulate cell division and growth. Cytokinins as well as lauric acid which coconut water is rich in, can minimize the aging of skin cells, balance PH levels, and keep the connective tissues strong and moisturized.

Applying coconut water on the surface of affected skin areas at night before bed may help deal with acne, age spots, wrinkles, stretch marks, cellulite, and eczema.

Considering these many benefits, little wonder many believe taking in food derived from coconut’s milk,  flesh or any other of its derivative may offer protection from some diseases.

Does Coconut Water Help With a Hangover?

Coconut and Hangovers

A lot of people believe that coconut’s water offers some help when dealing with hangovers. However, there is no supporting scientific evidence to back the claim.

What can be scientifically backed up is the fact that, since it  does have hydrating properties , it may help buffer the effects of having too much alcohol.

Are There Any Side Effects Of Coconut Water?

if you are looking for the ideal natural drink to put on your beverage menu, look no further. Fresh coconut water with all its benefits should be your choice.

As of yet, no scientific evidence exists to prove that coconut water has any adverse effects or allergies on the human body.

It is considered to be safe for children, pregnant, and breastfeeding women.

However, since coconut water contains high levels of potassium, experts recommend that persons taking potassium supplements should regulate how they consume coco-nut water.

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Things To Do With Coconut Flesh

Coconut flesh is highly nutritious and rich in fiber as well as vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 It also contains essential minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous.

The flesh found inside the coconut’s white flesh is used in a variety of recipes and meals both salty and sweet kinds.

You can use the coco-nut flesh to do the following:

    • to make waffles
    • to make chips
    • as topping for meals – pizza, cakes, bread and other confectioneries.

Things To Do With Coconut Milk

Coconut milk, that creamy milk which gets used for a lot of dishes and recipes such as coconut-rice,  curry sauces among others is quite different from the water in the middle of the nut.

It actually is the cream that comes out after you must have crushed and squeezed the coconut flesh itself instead.

It is rich in nutrients and, unlike regular cow milk is lactose-free making it an ideal milk replacement for lactose intolerant persons.

Here are a few of the nice things you can do with coco-nut milk:

    • use it as a base for smoothies and milkshakes
    • use it as a sauce for rice dishes and curry sauces
    • use it as a substitute for cow milk
    • use it as add-on to weaning meals for infants

Things To Do With Coconut Oil

Coconut oil

As much as coconut oils are good and healthy, its also worthy of note that it is high in saturated fats which can be unhealthy when used extensively.

According to the British Heart Foundation, it is recommended to adopt oils with saturated fats when cooking instead of unsaturated oils (such as coconut oil).

Apart from its use in the foods and recipes, coco-nut oil has a lot of cosmetic applications. It contains fatty acids which are known to have strong medicinal properties.

Topically, you can use coconut oil to do the following:

    • as a natural skin softener and moisturizer
    • removes stretch marks, puffiness and dark circles under the eyes.
    • soothes sunburn and treats blisters and burns
    • helps prevent skin infections
    • serves as an anti-wrinkle agent
    • useful as a makeup remover
    • improves skin tone, elasticity, and eliminates age spots

Other health benefits of coconut oil include:

    • it can increase fat metabolism (burning)
    • it can eliminate disease-causing microorganisms, making it a valuable ingredient in topical skin solutions
    • it can help with weight loss as it gives you a “fuller” feeling
    • it contains fatty acids that may help with seizures.

Disclaimer: does not provide medical advice or prescription in the articles and media shared. Please consult your healthcare provider or an accredited medical personnel for expert advice.

Image Credits:

Featured Image:  Pexels;  Image 2: Pexels;  Image 3: Pexels;  Image 4: Pexels;  Image 5: Pexels;  Image 6:  Pexels

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