Coconut – a large round fruit of the coconut palm with a solid pile shell, a thin brown peel, white pulp (copra), which is eaten fresh or dried, flaked or grated form.
Coconut, plant of family Palm (Areca) and the only species of the genus Tsotsos.
One of the features of these trees is that they are willing to live in close proximity to the sea water, although it does not need it at all. This is due to the ease with which the shallow roots of trees absorb moisture from the soil abundantly watered at the seaside.
Shell of the coconut is not damaged by salt water. This means that nut which has fallen in the sea waves can be brought into the open ocean and after a long journey thrown some distant shore, where after some time will be born young palm.
How to choose a coconut
During transportation coconuts often cracked, so the milk pours out of them and they rot. So if you see at least a small coconut crack – do not buy. In good coconut milk splash is heard well.
Use coconut in cooking
Use coconut in fruit salads, desserts, cakes, soups and main dishes sometimes.
Coconut oil – vegetable fatty oil extracted from copra. It is produced by hot pressing of fresh dried coconut pulp. It is used mainly in soap making, for the manufacture of cosmetics, for the preparation of a cooling filling in waffle cakes, and in the production of margarine.
With the popularity of Asian cuisine coconut pulp only recently began to be used in European recipes.
How to open a coconut
On top of each coconut is 3 deepening in the shape of an isosceles triangle. First, you need to pierce (screw driver, narrow knife or scissors) the hole, which is located closest to the top. From a nut shall be wrung out can be up to two thirds of the glass.
Further useful 🙂 hammer holding coconut in one hand must be turning it to tap the so-called golden section coconut (about one-third from the end with black eyes), and it is along this line quite unexpectedly announced a crack – it is a line of natural fracture. Suffice it to stick the tip of a knife and a little push, like the coconut itself split. Although, if you open a coconut from the supermarket and it is not the first freshness, having a hammer again will be useful to you.
Coconut caloric content
Coconut is considered to be high-calorie foods because of the high fat content. 100 g of coconut provides 354 kcal. Caloric content of coconut oil – 862 kcal per 100 g. However, coconut milk has only 19 kcal. Excessive consumption of coconuts can cause excess weight.
Nutritional information per 100 grams:
Protein 3.4 gr Fat 33.5 gr Carbohydrates 11.5 gr Ash 6.2 gr Water 6.2 gr Calories 354 kcal
Coconut oil is one of the few foods that can be classified as a “superfood.”
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.
Here are 9 evidence-based health benefits of coconut oil.
1. Coconut Oil Contains Fatty Acids With Powerful Medicinal Properties
Coconut oil has been demonized in the past because it contains saturated fat. In fact, coconut oil is one of the richest sources of saturated fat known to man, with almost 90% of the fatty acids in it being saturated
However, new data is showing that saturated fats are harmless. Many massive studies that include hundreds of thousands of people prove that the whole “artery-clogging” idea was a myth
Additionally, coconut oil doesn’t contain your average run-of-the-mill saturated fats like you would find in cheese or steak.
No, they contain so-called Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) – which are fatty acids of a medium length.
Most of the fatty acids in the diet are long-chain fatty acids, but the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are metabolized differently.
They go straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they are used as a quick source energy or turned into so-called ketone bodies, which can have therapeutic effects on brain disorders like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.
Bottom Line: Coconut oil contains a lot of medium chain triglycerides, which are metabolized differently and can have therapeutic effects on several brain disorders.
2. Populations That Eat a Lot of Coconut Oil Are Healthy
Coconut is kind of an “exotic” food in the Western world, primarily consumed by health conscious people.
However, in some parts of the world, coconut is a dietary staple that people have thrived on for many generations.
The best example of such a population is the Tokelauans, which live in the South Pacific.
They eat over 60% of their calories from coconuts and are the biggest consumers of saturated fat in the world.
These people are in excellent health, with no evidence of heart disease.
Another example of a population that eats a lot of coconut and remains in excellent health is the Kitavans.
Bottom Line: Plenty of populations around the world have thrived for multiple generations eating massive amounts of coconut.
3. Coconut Oil Can Help You Burn More Fat
Obesity is currently one of the biggest health problems in the world.
While some people think obesity is only a matter of calories, others (myself included) believe that the sources of those calories are critical too.
It is a fact that different foods affect our bodies and hormones in different ways. In this regard, a calorie is NOT a calorie.
The medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil can increase energy expenditure compared to the same amount of calories from longer chain fats.
One study found that 15-30 grams of MCTs per day increased 24 hour energy expenditure by 5%, totaling about 120 calories per day (1).
Bottom Line: The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil have been shown to increase 24 hour energy expenditure by as much as 5%, potentially leading to significant weight loss over the long term.
4. Coconut Oil Can Kill Harmful Microorganisms
Almost 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil is the 12-carbon Lauric Acid.
When coconut oil is enzymatically digested, it also forms a monoglyceride called monolaurin.
Both lauric acid and monolaurin can kill harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi (2).
For example, these substances have been shown to kill the bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus (a very dangerous pathogen) and the yeast Candida Albicans, a common source of yeast infections in humans (3, 4).
Bottom Line: The fatty acids and breakdown products in coconut oil can kill harmful pathogens, potentially helping to prevent infections.
5. Coconut Oil Can Reduce Your Hunger, Helping You Eat Less
One interesting feature of coconut oil is that it can reduce your hunger.
This may be related to the way the fatty acids in it are metabolized, because ketone bodies can have an appetite reducing effect (5).
In one study, varying amounts of medium and long chain triglycerides were fed to 6 healthy men.
The men eating the most MCTs ate 256 fewer calories per day, on average (6).
Another study in 14 healthy men discovered that those who ate the most MCTs at breakfast ate significantly fewer calories at lunch (7).
These studies were small and only done for a short period of time. If this effect were to persist over the long term, it could have a dramatic influence on body weight over a period of several years.
Bottom Line: The fatty acids in coconut oil can significantly reduce appetite, which may positively affect body weight over the long term.
6. The Fatty Acids in Coconut Oil Are Turned into Ketones, Which Can Reduce Seizures
The best known therapeutic application of this diet is treating drug-resistant epilepsy in children (8).
This diet involves eating very little carbohydrates and large amounts of fat, leading to greatly increased concentrations of ketone bodies in the blood.
For some reason, this diet can dramatically reduce the rate of seizures in epileptic children, even those who haven’t had success with multiple different types of drugs.
Because the MCTs in coconut oil get shipped to the liver and turned into ketone bodies, they are often used in epileptic patients to induce ketosis while allowing for a bit more carbs in the diet (9, 10).
Bottom Line: The MCTs in coconut oil can increase blood concentration of ketone bodies, which can help reduce seizures in epileptic children.
7. Coconut Oil Can Improve Blood Cholesterol Levels
Coconut oil is loaded with saturated fats, which actually do not harm the blood lipid profile like previously thought.
In one study in 40 women, coconut oil reduced Total and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL compared to soybean oil (13).
This improvement in cardiovascular risk factors should theoretically lead to a reduced risk of heart disease over the long term.
Bottom Line: Studies in both humans and rats show that coconut oil improves important risk factors like Total, LDL and HDL cholesterol, which may translate to a reduced risk of heart disease.
8. Coconut Oil Can Protect Hair Against Damage, Moisturize Skin and Function as Sunscreen
Coconut oil can serve various purposes that have nothing to do with eating it.
Many people are using it for cosmetic purposes and to improve the health and appearance of their skin and hair.
Studies on individuals with dry skin show that coconut oil can improve the moisture and lipid content of the skin (16).
Bottom Line: Coconut oil can be applied topically as well, studies showing it to be effective as a skin moisturizer and protecting against hair damage. It can also be used as a mild form of sunscreen and as mouthwash.
9. The Fatty Acids in Coconut Oil Can Boost Brain Function in Alzheimer’s Patients
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia worldwide and occurs primarily in elderly individuals.
In Alzheimer’s patients, there appears to be a reduced ability to use glucose for energy in certain parts of the brain.
Ketone bodies can supply energy for the brain and researchers have speculated that ketones can provide an alternative energy source for these malfunctioning cells and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s (22).
In one 2006 study, consumption of medium chain triglycerides led to immediate improvement in brain function in patients with milder forms of Alzheimer’s (23).
Bottom Line: Studies show that the fatty acids in coconut oil can increase blood levels of ketone bodies, supplying energy for the brain cells of Alzheimer’s patients and relieving symptoms.