• Jennifer May Nutritionist

Why I'm Nuts about Coconuts


Coconuts are taking over the world, or at least my world, and for very good reason too. Coconuts are not only delicious (omg aren't they delicious though!!) they are also a great source of many highly beneficial nutrients.

I've always loved coconuts. As a child, any time the circus or fair was in town, I'd be so excited about getting a coconut. I would devour the meat and drown myself in the milk. As an adult I've crumbed meat and fish in dessicated coconut, been found regularly drinking coconut cream from the can... my guilty pleasure, it made me so happy!

So imagine my delight when, while studying Nutritional Medicine, I discovered that this guilty pleasure, this treat which I've craved my entire life, was actually good for me! Here's why I'm now even more nuts about coconuts...

Coconuts are a great source of Capryllic acid - this is a wonderful anti-fungal agent. This is helpful for restoring balance in the thriving eco-system that lives in our digestive system. Capryllic acid is particularly beneficial for anyone who suffers from candida overgrowth (usually presents in symptoms of fatigue, moodswings, excessive gas, bloating, skin rash, thrush or fungal nail infections). Caprylic acid breaks through the cell wall of candida and other funghi, allowing your immune system to take over and neutralize this pesky bug.

Coconuts are a great source of lauric acid - known as a natural immune booster, lauric acid can help to kill virus', funghi and harmful bacteria such as golden staph. Unlike drugs used for similar purposes however, coconuts do not have any nasty side effects and are also specific. Antibiotics wipe out all living things - good and bad. This is why we're often left feeling weak, depleted and depressed. Coconuts kill only the unwanted, while also alkalising the area for our good bacteria to thrive.

Coconuts are a natural source of medium chain triglycerides or MCT's. This is a type of saturated fat which is metabolised quite differently to other fat sources. The MCT difference is that they are very easily used as fuel and can therefore provide a quick and reliable energy source, improve sports performance and have even been showing promising effects on weight loss, epilepsy and for alzheimers prevention. Pretty exciting stuff!

Coconut is so naturally sweet that adding coconut oil to a recipe means you can cut the sugar. I will often modify a recipe to have more coconut oil and a lot less sugar. Also, the caprillic and lauric acid is cleaning up by gut to help reduce those sugar cravings - win-win!

So how do we get more of this amazing superfood in to our diets? Here are some ideas:

  • Snack on coconut yoghurt with fresh berries between meals or add coconut yoghurt to your morning granola (click here for homemade granola recipe)

  • Use coconut cream in place of dairy sourced cream, my favourite is zucchini noodles, coconut cream, mushrooms and garlic - delicious!

  • Cook with coconut oil. Coconut oil has a high smoke point meaning it can withstand higher temperatures without losing it's valuable health benefits.

  • Add a tablespoon of coconut yoghurt or coconut cream to your morning smoothie.

  • Swap plain flour for coconut flour in any recipe. This works well when battering meat or fish, in baked goods and in pancakes. Coconut flour is the by-product of coconut oil manufacturing. It is a highly nutritious, high fibre flour that is much lower in carbohydrates than wheat flour, making it a great choice for weight loss. Coconut flour is also naturally gluten free.

  • Let's not forget coconut water! This would be the slightly less nutritious younger cousin of coconut milk or cream. Coconut water is a great source of potassium which is important for heart health and in regulating fluid. However, being fat-free, coconut water wouldn't offer many of the beneficial nutrients. However, being a good source of potassium and sodium, coconut water can be beneficial for rehydration. However this only seems to be the case when drunk directly from a fresh coconut.

Coming up next on the blog... "Why I'm in love with coconut yoghurt."

Until next time, stay deliciously healthy.

Jennifer May Adv.Dip.Nut.Med.ATMS.MINDD

Nutritionist

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