No tropical fruit is as versatile as the coconut. These unique nuts are used around the world to make coconut milk, flour, sugar and butter, countless soaps and beauty products, and of course, coconut oil is one of the greatest superfoods on Earth.
In fact, coconut products have become so popular in the West that we often forget about the nut in its natural state. However, according to the Coconut Research Center, a huge portion of the world’s population depends on fresh coconuts, which are eaten in abundance.
Coconuts are rich in triglycerides, dietary fats known to cause weight loss due to the speed at which our bodies digest them. One study published in June 2006 in the Ceylon Medical Journal, for example, states that fatty acids are converted during digestion into substances that our body immediately uses, they are not stored as fat.
What’s more, unlike the fats found in foods such as meat and cheese, the fatty acids found in coconuts prevent overeating and reduce our calorie intake by curbing hunger for a long time. The high amount of dietary fat in coconuts has also been linked to improved cardiovascular health.
According to a study published in October 2008 in the Journal of the American Institute of Nutrition, volunteers fed coconuts as part of a four-month weight loss program experienced a marked reduction in cholesterol levels. So if you suffer from high cholesterol, adding more coconuts to your diet can help stabilize it.
Coconut is an excellent source of fiber. According to official figures, one cup of coconut meat contains 7 grams of dietary fiber. While most people know that fiber cleanses the intestinal tract and can help treat constipation, an article published in April 2009 found that a diet rich in fiber also lowers blood sugar levels, prevents diabetes, strengthens our immune system and – as well as and fatty acids – lowers cholesterol levels in the blood. In fact, coconut is one of the best foods we can eat for blood health.
Improving brain function. One serving of fresh coconut meat provides us with 17 percent of the recommended daily intake of copper, an essential trace mineral that activates the enzymes responsible for the production of neurotransmitters, the chemicals the brain uses to send information from one cell to another. For this reason, foods rich in copper, including coconut, may protect us from age-related cognitive impairment.
In addition, in October 2013, the results of a study were published in a medical journal, the essence of which is that the oil contained in coconut meat protects nerve cells from protein plaques that contribute to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Coconuts are mostly fat, unlike other tropical fruits. However, coconuts contain high amounts of potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and the important antioxidant selenium. In addition, one serving of coconut meat provides us with 60 percent of our daily value of magnesium, a mineral that is involved in numerous chemical reactions in our body, and which a large number of us are chronically deficient.