Nutritional facts and health benefits of coconuts

By: Bel Marra Health | Food Facts | Tuesday, April 07, 2015 - 05:15 AM

health-benefits-of-coconutsYou’re on a beach and the view is only the white sand and clear, blue water spilling out in front of you. A friendly face approaches, asking if you would like a coconut. Without hesitation, you accept the offer and enjoy the coconut’s fresh water, along with your relaxing vacation.

Whether a daydream or reality, one thing is clear: You should always enjoy a coconut because coconuts are a superfood. Have you ever tried to search the health benefits of coconuts? The list goes on and on.

Well, we’ve sifted through all that information here so you can fully understand the health benefits of coconuts, the healing properties of coconuts and exactly what fresh coconut is good for.

Nutritional facts about coconuts

nutritional-facts-about-coconut Before we fully explain coconut’s benefits for the skin and healing properties of coconuts, let’s first examine nutritional facts of coconuts.

A coconut provides two forms of nourishment: Through the water and through the meat. One average-sized coconut – about 400 grams – can provide you with your day’s worth of nutrients, minerals and energy. Coconuts are also high in lauric acid – a saturated fatty acid. You don’t need to fear this saturated fatty acid though; lauric acid can increase HDL – the good cholesterol.

Other nutritional facts of coconuts? Coconut water is highly refreshing and packed with electrolytes and minerals your body needs. The coconut water’s enzymes can also aid in digestion.

When it comes to coconut’s vitamin and mineral makeup, coconuts have about 22 percent vitamin C, 6 percent calcium and 54 percent iron – based on one medium coconut. Other notable vitamins and minerals comprising the nutritional facts of coconuts are potassium – 100 grams of coconut meat has 356 mg of potassium – folates, riboflavin, thiamin, copper and magnesium.

With all these nutrients, no wonder coconut is a superfood.

Health benefits of coconuts

coconut-for-brain-healthNow that we know what coconuts are made of nutritionally, there are endless lists of health benefits of coconuts as well. But before you start adding coconut to your packaged goods, consider what fresh coconut is good for.

For starters, fresh coconuts offer their water, which is great for hydration. The coconut water always contains potassium and can easily be added to smoothies for natural sweetness. The best type of coconut water comes from the tender coconut – a coconut which is not fully developed and is about 90 to 95 percent water. Because the water of the tender coconut is at its purest, tender coconut benefits are:

  • lowering blood pressure because of its potassium content
  • relieves acidity in the stomach
  • improves digestion
  • natural energy drink.

The coconut meat itself contains fewer carbohydrates than most apples, which is beneficial if you are enjoying a low-carb diet. Coconut meat also has fiber which means the health benefits of coconuts extends to helping you stay regular.

Other health benefits of coconuts are their ability to help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. A 2009 study from Brazil examined the effects of dietary coconut oil in obese women. Among the 40 women in the study, their LDL dropped while their HDL went up. Normal cholesterol levels are important for overall health because HDL has the ability to limit and reuse LDL within the body as well, as protect our blood vessels. High cholesterol has been linked to heart disease, so keeping your cholesterol down is a good way of reducing your risk of developing heart disease as well.

With so many illnesses linked to being overweight, health benefits of coconuts can also help you eat less, stay full and in turn maintain a healthy weight. The fatty acids in coconuts help reduce appetite. Additionally, coconut oil has been noted for helping people lose abdominal fat. In the same Brazilian study, the women whose cholesterol improved by consuming the coconut oil also found their BMI (body mass index) dropped and their waist circumference decreased over a 12-week period.

Another study conducted with males found after four weeks of taking coconut oil the average waist circumference reduced 1.1 inches. Doesn’t seem like a lot? This change occurred without a change of diet or the inclusion of exercise, meaning if diet and exercise levels changed, a more significant drop could be seen.

There are also some healing properties of coconuts. In traditional medicine, the healing properties of coconuts were used on wounds and even as an anti-inflammatory. Healing properties of coconuts include speeding up the healing of burn wounds, reducing oxidative stress within bones which can prevent damage, and treating infections because of its anti-fungal properties, according to a 2004 study.

Furthermore, health benefits of coconuts can even extend to the brain. A study published in Neurobiology revealed that subjects with Alzheimer’s disease who received medium chain triglycerides – found in coconut oil – had an increase in ketone bodies, which means the participants showed an improvement in cognitive ability.

Coconut benefits for the skin

When it comes to health benefits of coconuts, there are coconut benefits for the skin as well. Coconut oil, in particular, can moisturize the skin and fight damaged hair. Rubbing coconut oil on the skin can leave skin feeling soft and smooth. Likewise, adding coconut oil to your hair routine can restore damaged hair and protect hair from UV rays. Elbows, knees, and your face, won’t be dry much longer as long as you’re using coconut oil. 

Besides a moisturizer, coconut benefits for the skin also include:

  • face cleanser
  • shaving cream
  • deep conditioner
  • adding shine to hair
  • used for massages
  • makeup remover.

With all these coconut benefits for the skin, you can almost empty out half of your cosmetic and beauty drawer, and just switch to coconut oil.

Incorporating coconuts to everyday life

From beauty, to heart health, to keeping us hydrated, there are numerous health benefits of coconuts. One simple tropical fruit can provide us with so many benefits, both internally and externally. Now that you know the healing properties of coconuts and what fresh coconut is good for, you may wish to consider having coconut and coconut oil as a staple within your home and your diet.

Coconuts can easily be incorporated in cooking; for example, coconut oil for cooking and coconut shreds for baking. Or they can simply be enjoyed on their own. Their versatility makes them easy to use in just about any aspect.

Think of how it feels to enjoy a coconut on vacation – the smell, the feeling of being relaxed. Why not always relive that feeling and incorporate more coconuts into your life? The health benefits of coconuts make it more than worthwhile.

Related Reading: 

Coconut water for lower blood pressure 

Coconut water is the ultimate thirst quencher and offers a tasty alternative to water. People all over the world drink it for its unique taste and its ability to refresh the body almost instantly. The water is obtained by opening a tender, green, healthy and undamaged coconut. Each coconut may contain about 200 to 1000 ml of water depending upon type and size. The refreshing water is a storehouse of natural healthy sugars, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, enzymes, amino acids and phyto-hormones that give the drinker a wide range of health benefits. 

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