Go Nuts About Coconuts
Coconut is quite controversial because of its fat content. I’m sure you might be advised to lower or nil your coconut intake while on a weight loss program. Well, this multiple – personality nuts has the dual role of being healthy and unhealthy too. Read on to find out…
This is one fruit-cum-nut seed which has a versatile nature. Coconuts provide a drink, food, fuel, have fiber, can act as utensils, used in musical instruments and it is also believed to cure certain illnesses. No wonder it is referred as “ Tree of life”.
Fresh coconuts can be either young or mature. Young coconuts usually have a green outer covering and soft gel-like flesh with more water whereas the mature ones have harder flesh, little or no water with a hard brown covering outside.
Various Health Benefits:
After a strenuous workout session or a tiring sunny day, coconut water can act as a perfect sports drink/refreshment. It is a very good source of electrolytes. In fact, it has the same concentration that of human plasma and was used as an IV saline during the world war.
Coconut oil can act as a moisturizer for the skin and its antioxidant properties give the skin a younger feel preventing from free radical damage. It also acts as a conditioner for hair and helps it become strong and lustrous The same oil can be used for cooking purposes and it is heat stable and so it can be heated on a high temperature.
Coconut Milk is added for flavor to a variety of food preparations such as seafood curries and stews and is a part of many cuisines. It is lactose-free and can be used as a substitute for cow’s milk. Being rich in lauric acid, it has anti-bacterial and antiviral properties along with improving the good cholesterol. Coconut milk is rich in medium chain triglycerides (fatty acids) which increase energy expenditure and the electrolytes in it replenish you after a strenuous workout.
It has the ability to absorb calcium and magnesium thereby supporting the development of bones and teeth. It is also an alternative for people with lactose intolerance. Addition to this, it is rich in fiber assisting in the digestive process.
Despite all the above benefits coconut has also been juggling good fat and bad fat. This happens because unsaturated fat (liquid fat) is considered healthy and saturated fat (solid fat) is considered unhealthy. Also, coconut (meat) has around 85 to 95 percent of saturated fat. Now that seems a bit of concern as unhealthy fat, isn’t it? But the fact here is that not all saturated fats are equal. The saturated fat that coconuts contain are not stored as body fat but are used by the body as a fuel for energy. So, it is believed to have a healthier fat composition.
Ironically coconut fat can increase both good (HDL) as well as bad (LDL) cholesterol. It was also observed that coconut, when used in combination with meat or dairy products which contain saturated fat, tend to increase bad cholesterol levels. Eg. Mutton curry with coconut gravy. While it keeps your lipid profile healthier when used in combination with fresh fruits/veggies. Eg. Thai curry with coconut milk
Hence, enjoy the benefits of smart cooking and remember that moderation is the key to a healthy diet.