Coconut: Properties and Benefits
Coconut is not just a delicious fruit that almost everyone likes but is also an important source of therapeutic properties. The oil and milk obtained from this fruit provide several health benefits. Let’s see which ones
The coconut is the fruit of the coconut palm, the scientific name is Cocos nucifera. The plant belongs to the Arecaceae family and is native to Indonesia.
It is a plant that can live several years, even more than 100, and that can exceed 35 meters in height. Its leaves are very long, normally measuring from 4 to 6 meters.
The coconut is cultivated in almost all tropical countries, specifically in Thailand, India, and Indonesia. At the time of purchase, in order to be able to verify its freshness, it is good to shake it to make sure there is water inside. The absence of the latter would undoubtedly affect its freshness.
- Chemical Composition
- Reduces Appetite
- Weight Loss
- Candida Albicans
- Hormonal Balance
The coconut, as well as whole, can be found for sale in different ways: dried, soaked in milk, grated and grilled. Coconut pulp is rich in dietary fiber, an essential element for the proper functioning of metabolism and heart health.
The fiber is also useful for proper digestion and to regulate bowel movements. ( 1 )
The fiber content of the coconut is similar to that of wheat and bran. Another property to be reckoned with for this tropical fruit is its very high potassium content. This trace element is essential for the proper functioning of the organism. Not only does it reduce blood pressure but it also helps regulate the balance of water and salt in the body. ( 2 )
Coconut pulp also contains healthy fats that help regulate glycemic peaks in the body by helping to prevent fat deposits, especially in the abdomen. ( 3 ) These fats are also used by the liver to produce energy and therefore burn more fat.
|Chemical Composition for 100 g of coconut|
Acids: acid, myristic acid , palmitic acid, lauric, oleic, stearic, linoleic acid and caprylic acid.
Amino acids: aspartic acid and glutamic acid, arginine, cystine, glycine, phenylalanine, histidine, isoleucine, alanine, leucine, lysine, proline, methionine, serine, tyrosine, tryptophan, valine and threonine.
The coconut is highly nutritious and is recommended for those who want to gain weight. 100 grams of edible pulp provide 360 kcal.
Coconut: Properties and Benefits
The coconut is rich in potassium and is an excellent tonic food to replenish minerals in case of need. The good presence of vitamin B and C makes it useful in the treatment of some disorders such as weakness in general, problems with nervousness and urinary disorders. ( 4 )
Inflammation and Arthritis
A study conducted in India has evaluated the beneficial effects of the antioxidant compounds present in the coconut in its oil in particular. The results confirmed that this food has useful properties to reduce inflammation and arthritis. In some cases its effects are even better than traditional medicines. ( 5 )
The coconut helps to eliminate the air and the excess gas in the stomach and intestines It also has properties useful in eliminating the toxins present in the digestive tract.
Benefits to the Heart
The coconut has a high content of fatty acids that are essential for heart health. Fatty acids help lower bad LDL cholesterol levels offering protection against heart disease and arteriosclerosis.
Some studies have shown that the populations of Polynesia and Sri Lanka are not affected by cholesterol problems or heart disease. In these countries, coconut is a staple in their diet. ( 6 )
Another population has been the subject of studies regarding its state of health, that of the Kitavans. The results of the studies confirmed the excellent state of health of the inhabitants of the island of Kitava in Papua New Guinea. According to the researchers the diet based on this fruit is the secret of good health without heart problems such as heart attacks and strokes. ( 7 )
Coconut oil is also strongly promoted as a healthy oil, with benefits that include support for heart health. ( 8 )
Reduces the Appetite
An interesting property of coconut is that this tropical fruit can be used to reduce appetite. These beneficial effects are linked to the way the fats are metabolized. In fact, according to a 2018 study, ketones can reduce appetite. ( 9 )
In a scientific experiment 6 healthy men were given variable amounts of long and medium chain triglycerides. Those who took medium chain fatty acids (MCTs) ate an average of 256 calories less per day. ( 10 )
In another similar study, 14 men who consumed more MCT at breakfast then consumed fewer calories at lunch. ( 11 )
Good for Bones
The coconut milk does not contain lactose, full of acid lauric acid, also present in human milk, and has been shown to have properties useful to the health of bones. It is found on the market, often in cans, on hypermarket counters.
Coconut oil also has beneficial effects on bones, its intake increases the absorption of calcium in the intestine. Studies have found that coconut is useful for increasing volume and bone density but not only. In fact reduces the bone loss in patients suffering from osteoporosis. ( 12 )
The presence of saturated fats in this fruit increases the levels of good HDL cholesterol in the body. It is believed that increasing this type of cholesterol is beneficial for heart health.
A study of 40 women showed that coconut oil reduced bad cholesterol and increased good cholesterol to a greater extent than soybean oil. ( 13 )
Another study of 116 patients showed that a diet with high doses of coconut oil increased the levels of good cholesterol HDL. ( 14 )
The water coconut is a food characterized by many therapeutic virtues. It contains few fats, many trace elements, mineral elements and vitamins that contribute to maintaining a healthy body.
Its intake generates benefits to the immune system by strengthening it. It has positive effects on the system nervous, helps digestion, and has regenerative properties at the cellular level.
The coconut milk not be confused with the water that is inside the nut. In fact, milk is the liquid that is obtained by squeezing the coconut flesh together with the water and subsequently filtering it.
In some southern seas islands, coconut milk is still used as an alternative drink to milk for weaning babies.
It can also be prepared in the home by grating a couple of ounces of fresh coconut pulp which will then be covered with twice as much hot water. Once cooled, it can be filtered all over with a cotton cloth, squeezing it well at the end.
Coconut Oil: Properties and Benefits
The coconut contains gallic acid, a polyphenol responsible for the fragrance and of flavor oil. According to studies, the oil obtained from the fruit reduces the side effects of many drugs.
For example, in some scientific research it has been shown that this product is able to reduce the side effects of cancer treatments. ( 15 )
It is an excellent massage oil, has ideal moisturizing properties for all skin types and has no side effects. Its use prevents dry skin and peeling typical of this condition.
Some studies on subjects with dry skin have shown that this product can rehydrate the skin and reduce the symptoms of eczema. ( 16 )
According to scientific research it can also have protective effects on hair. A study shows that coconut oil can protect hair from sunlight by reducing its effect by 20%. The oil is used in the production of shampoos, conditioners and creams against dandruff. ( 17, 18 )
Regularly massaging the hair with this oil brings benefits to hair growth and prevents hair loss. The oil also promotes the regrowth of damaged hair and is an excellent deterrent for lice.
Because it reduces appetite and increases fat burning, it makes sense to lose weight . Recent studies from 2015 suggest that coconut oil is particularly effective in reducing abdominal fat. According to scholars, this type of fat is the most dangerous because it can give rise to heart disease. ( 19 )
As a demonstration of these properties of coconut we found a 2009 study conducted on 40 women with abdominal obesity. In the test, 2 tablespoons of oil per day reduced body mass index and waist circumference. The oil intake period was two weeks. ( 20 )
Another study of 20 obese men had the same positive results. The volunteers took 2 tablespoons of coconut oil for 4 weeks. At the end of the test the patients had a reduction in waistline of almost 3 cm. ( 21 )
Contains antioxidant compounds that help prevent degenerative diseases and aging early skin. Its use is useful in the treatment of psoriasis, skin infections and dermatitis.
Thanks to these properties the oil coconut is often used as an ingredient in body care products such as soaps, creams and lotions.
Candida Albicans and Harmful Microorganisms
Oil, according to scientific studies, offers benefits to inflammation caused by the fungus Candida albicans, both internally and externally. The oil contains lauric acid which once digested forms a chemical compound called monolaurin. ( 22 )
Studies suggest that both lauric acid and monolaurin can kill pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and fungi. ( 23 )
Scientific research has shown that these compounds can help eliminate Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, a very dangerous bacterium. ( 24 )
It has relaxing properties, gentle massages at the temples made with coconut oil allow you to relax your mind. Eliminate mental fatigue and stress.
Alzheimer’s is the leading cause of dementia worldwide and affects mainly the elderly. The research claims that beautiful people affected by this condition have a reduced capacity to use glucose to produce energy in certain parts of the brain.
According to the researchers, ketones can provide an alternative energy source for malfunctioning cells. A 2006 study supports this thesis. In patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease, in fact, the consumption of medium chain triglycerides has led to an improvement in cerebral function. ( 25 , 26 )
A 2017 Spanish study suggests that coconut oil seems to improve the cognitive abilities of Alzheimer’s patients, with different intensity depending on the cognitive area. ( 27 )
This vegetable food can be useful to balance hormones naturally. This property is due to the good presence of saturated fats among which there is also lauric acid. According to scientific research this product can be an excellent fat to be consumed during menopause. Its consumption can also positively affect estrogen levels. ( 28 )
L ‘obesity is at epidemic levels, particularly in Western cultures like the United States, where recent epidemiological statistics indicate that 40% of American women are obese. Obesity is associated with the development of the metabolic syndrome and can lead to additional health problems such as type II diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, atherosclerosis and tumors. ( 29 )
Insulin resistance is also among the metabolic disorders associated with obesity. The development of Insulin resistance and type II diabetes, even independent of obesity, can be predicted by an increase in inflammatory markers. ( 30 , 31 )
A very recent study carried out on pigs has established that a diet rich in coconut oil can promote obesity but has no harmful effect on blood sugar and therefore on diabetes. ( 32 )
The word cocco comes from the Portuguese term coco which means head. The name of the plant was given by the sailors of Vasco de Gama who based themselves on the shape of the fruit that resembles that of a head.
From the dried flesh of the coconut is the ‘extract oil. This is used in the preparation of butter and margarine. It is used a lot in the cosmetic field in the preparation of creams and ointments for the treatment of the skin and in the manufacture of soaps. To learn more about the cosmetic use of coconut oil, you can view this page .
Of the coconut does not throw anything away. With the leaves, baskets are made and roofs are made. From the flowers a very sweet sap is extracted which is used for the preparation of an alcoholic drink called Toddy. Wood is obtained from the shaft for the construction of furniture and umbrella handles.
The coconut not yet opened can be stored for a period of about 4 months. Once opened, however, it should be placed in the fridge covered with water, preferably the one contained inside, for no more than 4 or 5 days.
The water of the coconut , for its characteristics, is considered an excellent substitute for blood plasma. It is in fact a sterile substance that does not destroy red blood cells and is tolerated without difficulty by the human body.
In fact, during World War II, and later during the Vietnam War, the ‘ water of the coconut was directly injected to the injured when it was not available to the blood serum.
Maybe not Everyone Knows That
Because of its shape which is somewhat reminiscent of the human skull, the coconut was considered sacred by some populations of antiquity. It was in fact sacrificed to the gods instead of a human head.
In India, on the other hand, it plays a more important role. Giving a coconut during a wedding is a symbol of good luck and prosperity.
The species includes more than 80 varieties of plants that are divided into 2 major categories: the high and the dwarf.
Coconut oil production is increasing worldwide. In 2010, 3,5 million tons were produced. The main producers are the Philippines (1,7 million tons), Indonesia (0,7 million tons) and India (0,5 million tons).
One of the advantages of coconut oil is its resistance to oxidation and polymerization, which makes it a stable cooking oil. It is in fact suitable for single-use frying, although it is not recommended for continuous frying due to its low smoke point which can lead to the production of substances potentially carcinogenic to overheating.
Coconut and products derived from it such as oil and milk have rarely caused undesirable effects. Very rarely there may be episodes of coconut allergy in susceptible individuals.
Coconut: Properties and Benefits
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