With a unique blend of fatty acids, coconuts deserve their "superfood" status. Nutrients found in coconuts offer a myriad of health benefits including the promotion of healthy aging. From helping to minimize wrinkles to warding off viruses, coconuts and their derivatives make excellent products for the healthy grocery cart.
Medium-Chain Fatty Acids
Coconuts are a rich source of medium-chain fatty acids or MCFAs. These fatty acids are smaller than long-chain fatty acids, so their assimilation and digestion require less effort by the body. Because MCFAs go directly to the liver, they are converted to energy immediately and not stored as fat.
While many think of coconuts as nuts, they are technically classified as drupes ─ a thin-skinned fleshy fruit with a central stone that contains a seed. The seed is the fleshy, white part of the coconut that we eat. Many people also enjoy coconut water found inside the seed and coconut oil made from the dried flesh.
Lauric Acid and Monolaurin
From 40 to 55 percent of the saturated fatty acid found in coconut oil is comprised of lauric acid. In the body, lauric acid converts to monolaurin, which offers antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.
More Ways Eating Coconut Promotes Healthy Aging
As if protecting the body from viruses, fungus, and harmful bacteria weren't enough, coconut and its byproducts offer even more healthy aging benefits:
- Studies have found that Pacific islanders getting 30 to 60 percent of their saturated fats from coconut oil show extremely low incidence of cardiovascular disease.
- In India, arthritic rats injected with antioxidants extracted from coconut oil showed less inflammation than those injected with pharmaceutical drugs.
- Used topically, coconut oil helps minimize wrinkles by stimulating the production and replacement of collagen, the main protein found in connective tissue.
- Athletes who consume coconut oil show improved performance.
As people get older, many look for ways to promote healthy aging. Purchasing coconuts and their byproducts tops the list. Consumed internally or applied topically, coconut products offer health benefits too numerous to count.