Coconut oil is one of the few foods that can be classified as a “super food.” Its unique combination of fatty acids can have profound positive effects on health. This includes fat loss, better brain function and various other amazing benefits. Coconuts have slowly become a very hot and versatile food commodity, and are being used in everything from our daily cuisine to our beauty regimens. Not too long ago coconuts had a bad reputation as being an artery clogging, cholesterol packed food that contributed to heart disease. Today however, the coconut is making a huge comeback as the new miracle food. Coconuts are highly nutritious, rich in fiber, and packed with essential vitamins and minerals.
- Coconut is a very versatile and indispensable food item for most people under the tropical belt. It is a complete food rich in calories, vitamins, and minerals. A medium-size nut carrying 400 g edible meat and some 30-150 ml of water may provide almost all the daily-required essential minerals, vitamins, and energy of an average-sized individual.
- 100 g kernel consists of 354 calories. Much of this comes from the fats and protein. Although, its meat is disproportionately high in saturated fats on comparison to other common edible nuts, coconut has many bioactive compounds that are essential for better health.
- The important saturated fatty acid in the coconut is lauric acid (1:12 carbon fatty acid). Lauric acid increases good-HDL cholesterol levels in the blood. HDL is a high-density lipoprotein, which has beneficial effects on the coronary arteries by preventing vessel blockade (atherosclerosis). Physicians recommend high HDL to total cholesterol levels in the blood for the same reason.
- Coconut water is a very refreshing drink to beat tropical summer thirst. The juice is packed with simple sugar, electrolytes, minerals, and bioactive compounds such as cytokinin, and enzymes such as acid phosphatase, catalase, dehydrogenase, peroxidase, polymerases, etc. Altogether, these enzymes aid in digestion and metabolism.
- Coconut oil extracted from dry kernel (copra) is an excellent emollient agent. It is used in cooking, applied over scalp as hair nourishment, employed in pharmacy and in medicines.
- Research studies suggest that cytokinins (e.g., kinetin and trans-zeatin) in coconut water showed significant anti-ageing, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-thrombotic effects.
- The kernel is an excellent source of minerals such as copper, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, and zinc.
- It is also a very good source of B-complex vitamins such as folates, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine. These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish.
- Coconut meat and water contain a very good amount of potassium. 100 g of fresh meat contains 356 mg% or 7.5% of daily required levels of potassium.