The largest seed known to man, the coconut has been used and praised by Malaysian and Polynesian cultures for centuries. Not only does it contain a multitude of amino acids, but it is also chock full of potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, as vitamin C, and riboflavin (vitamin B2).
But coconut’s most prized nutrient is lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that converts in your body to monolaurin. Monolaurin is a compound found in breast milk that strengthens a baby’s immune system. Not only does it boost brain and bone health, but it helps strengthen the immune system.
In fact, coconut has been heralded as an anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial. It has even been shown to reduce fever and excess heat (hyperthermia) in animal studies.
And that’s just the coconut meat and oil. But if you’ve ever been to the islands and had a fresh coconut, you know that there’s a light, refreshing water found inside the hairy shell. But what you may not know is that this coconut water is identical to your blood plasma.
According to Mortin Salin, Chief of the U.N.’s Food & Agricultural Organization, coconut water is a natural isotonic beverage with the same level of electrolytic balance as blood. It is so comparable that during the Pacific War of 1941-1945, both sides in the conflict regularly used coconut water taken directly from the seed to give emergency plasma transfusions to wounded soldiers.
As you can see, there are a wide variety of ways you can get these health amazing coconut health benefits. Many companies are now packaging coconut water and marketing it as an electrolyte replacement. Just look for plain versus flavored varieties to avoid unwanted sugar.
Coconut oil is a great option for cooking, due to its high smoking point (350°F for unrefined and 450°F for refined). For us non-chefs, this means you can sauté and bake with coconut oil and not worry about it turning into a trans-fat. Plus, coconut oil is great to use topically to soften your hands.
Finally, you can use shredded coconut as a healthy snack or great and tasty alternative to bread crumbs on your favorite chicken or fish dish.