The coconut is an exotic fruit whose benefits and properties make it a healthy food. Discover its main nutritional and health qualities.
With the arrival of the heat, the “arrival” of some of the most delicious and fresh fruits of the season is much more enjoyed, since they help not only to quench our thirst, but to refresh us both inside and out.
The strawberries are one of them, on which some time ago we learned of what were some of your benefits and properties most important.
But we can also enjoy coconut for this time, a truly exotic fruit, as well as delicious, whose juice can refresh more than one at any time.
In fact, it is usual that in many markets or supermarkets we can find coconut juice precisely already canned or packaged, so it is not necessary to buy a coconut to enjoy its precious liquid. Of course, it is true that then we would not enjoy its main virtues and nutritional properties.
What is the coconut?
The coconut is a fruit of tropical origin (it grows especially in tropical areas), coming from the Cocos nucifera L., and the popular coconut palm, which is capable of living more than 80 years, and can reach 100 years.
Although it can take up to 5 years to bear fruit, when a coconut palm reaches adulthood, it is capable of producing approximately 50 to 100 coconuts each season (that’s nothing).
From this fruit we can especially take advantage of its meat, of striking and characteristic white color, or the water that we find inside. In addition, depending on how we process your meat, we will obtain coconut oil, milk or cream.
For example, if we press the meat and separate its liquid we will obtain the wonderful coconut oil. If we press the meat and combine it with the coconut water we will obtain coconut milk. And if, finally, we only press the meat, we will obtain coconut cream.
Did you know that it is actually a dried fruit?
Unlike what is traditionally thought, and although the coconut is considered an exotic fruit, in reality we are dealing with a dried fruit.
And why should it be considered a dried fruit, rather than a fruit? Mainly because of its hard and thick shell, which we also find in smaller nuts, such as almonds or walnuts.
All the benefits of coconut
The benefits of coconut are certainly interesting for healthy people of all ages, especially when, and this must be said clearly, it is consumed occasionally.
Excellent nutritional contribution
This is so because it enriches the diet with a very interesting series of nutritional substances, being a fruit very rich in iron and potassium, and ultimately in those mineral salts that participate in the mineralization of bones, such as calcium, phosphorus or magnesium.
Its fiber content is also interesting, which confers laxative properties to coconut, helping in turn to reduce and lower high cholesterol and control blood sugar, being equally ideal for diabetics.
With regard to the different vitamins that this fruit has, vitamin E stands out, as we know, with an important antioxidant action.
There is no evidence to show that it increases cholesterol
Although it is usually said that coconut, due to its saturated fat content, tends to raise blood cholesterol levels, the truth is that a study carried out on rodents found that virgin coconut oil helped to reduce both cholesterol and other lipids in the blood.
While another study found that after consuming coconut oil, the elevation of cholesterol tends to be more evident in the case of women, although no significant changes were observed.
In short, the coconut stands out mainly for:
- Be rich in saturated fat.
- Provide fiber.
- Contain electrolytes.
It can be consumed in diets, but…
If you are following a weight loss diet, coconut consumption is allowed as long as it is consumed very moderately, and never in excessive amounts (for example, two or three pieces per day).
The reason is its high content of saturated fatty acids, on the one hand, and its obvious caloric intake on the other.
It is ideal for example as a dessert for the little ones, or for people who are weak.
Nutritional composition of coconut
- Calories: 350 kcal.
- Vitamins: C (39 mg), B1 (0.06 mg), B2 (0.18 mg).
- Minerals: potassium (398 mg), phosphorus (110 mg), calcium (16 mg), iron (4 mg).
- Fatty acids: polyunsaturated (1 gr), monounsaturated (4 gr), saturated fat (53 gr).
The benefits of coconut milk and water
Properties of coconut milk
The coconut milk is a wonderful liquid we obtain from the shredding coconut meat, which accumulates in its interior a characteristic oily pulp and very aromatic white.
Below we summarize its main qualities:
- Interesting nutritional content: From a nutritional point of view it provides 5 grams of carbohydrates, 2.30 grams of protein and 24 grams of fat, of which 21 grams are saturated fat. On the other hand, it stands out for its content of vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and C), minerals (potassium, phosphorus, chromium and selenium) and trace elements.
- Useful for diabetics: Regarding its qualities, its sugar content is really low, which together with its timid contribution in carbohydrates, makes it an ideal option for diabetics (as long as its consumption is not excessive).
- Protects the body: Against infections and viruses, thanks to its lauric acid content, with antibacterial and antiviral qualities.
- Hepatoprotective qualities: Helps to protect the liver, being very useful when it comes to enjoying good liver health.
Coconut water properties
Whereas, coconut water basically consists of the liquid that we find inside the coconut once we have split it. It is opaque -almost transparent- and its aroma is quite similar to that of the minced meat that we obtain when making coconut milk.
Here are its most important qualities:
- Ideal against dehydration: Its high content of potassium and other mineral salts make it an excellent drink to prevent dehydration, acting in the same way as an isotonic drink.
- Strengthens defenses: If you need to strengthen your defenses, it helps to strengthen the immune system thanks to its content of phosphorus, potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium. Therefore, it also helps reduce tiredness and fatigue.
- Helps regulate the thyroid: If you suffer from hypothyroidism, thanks to its content of natural enzymes it helps to stimulate an underactive thyroid.
- Excellent natural digestive: It acts as a digestive tonic, improving digestion in a totally natural way.