Coconuts are one of the few foods that can be classified as a “superfood.” It’s benefits include weight loss, better brain function, skin health and many more.
Since the Earth’s inhabitance, coconuts have been utilized for their fiber, fuel, folk remedies, food and even as musical instruments for some Asian and Pacific Islanders. Its profound health benefits are just now beginning to take scientists and the world by storm.
Amazingly coconuts are probably one of the most versatile foods because they have evolved into numerous forms and functions.
One such form that coconuts exhibit is coconut water. Coconut water is the extracted liquid from a young coconut and has a distinctive sweet, nutty taste to it. Fortunately this natural drink is extremely low in calories, incredibly hydrating and has an abundance of potassium and amino acids that hydrate and fuel the body. One drink contains more potassium than four bananas and all of the amino acids our bodies naturally produce. It is an exemplary drink for athletes and hard laborers as it rehydrates better than a sports drink with virtually no sugars, low sodium and calories. And they have an amazingly refreshing taste when sipped fresh on a beach!
Additionally, you may enjoy coconut milk. To make coconut milk, the fleshy, white portion of the coconut is grated and soaked in searing water until the cream rises and can be skinned off the top. The liquid that remains is squeezed and strained to separate the milk from the coconut residue. Because the milk comes straight from the “meat” of the coconut, it contains all of the health benefits generated from eating pure coconut, such as significant amounts of medium-chained saturated fatty acids, resulting in a boosted metabolism.
When I lived in Hawaii, while working in the fields we would take a short break and enjoy a fresh coconut as an afternoon pick up. First you machete the top off and slurp down the coconut water, then you slice it open and, using a part of the shell as a spoon, you scoop up the fleshy insides known as the “meat” of the coconut. Once you have this experience, dried coconut flakes are no match for the hydrating benefits of a fresh and fleshy coconut.
Coconut oil is uniquely made from the dried “meat” of the coconut which is pressed to extract the “oil” to produce what we consider coconut oil. This oil has been proven to provide a multitude of health benefits such as reducing inflammation, protecting hair damage, healing skin ailments, and supporting almost all processes of the body. Coconut oil is nearly 80% saturated fats which contain medium-chain fatty acids which are easy for the body to digest and are consequently sent straight to the liver in order to produce energy. Lauric acid is naturally found in coconut oil which contains monolaurin, which aids in increasing the body’s immunity and helping to fight viruses and diseases. It has antioxidant, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties and assists in the absorption of other minerals. It also has an abundance of vitamin E, which makes it exceptionally beneficial for your hair and skin. In fact, coconut oil is one of the few foods that can be classified as a “superfood” that fosters health and beauty from the inside out.
This tropical oil is beneficial in many ways:
- Coconut Oil for Hair– This nourishing oil has been used for centuries in hair and its unique fat composition makes it especially beneficial for certain hair types. Use it as a hair mask, hot oil treatment, or in homemade hair products.
- To Moisturize and Nourish Skin– The same properties make coconut oil great for skin as well. Many people like to use it as a natural moisturizer. Its natural antioxidant properties make it great for stopping wrinkles and skin irritation.
- Digestive Help– Coconut oil’s concentration of beneficial fats in coconut oil makes it helpful for digestion. Its antimicrobial properties can help fight irritation and infection in the gut from Candida.
- Great Source of Healthy Fats– Over 50% of the fat in coconut oil is lauric acid. In fact, coconut oil is the richest source of lauric acid after breastmilk.
- Mental Boost– Studies show MCTs may contribute to focus and mental performance.
- Hormone Support– Getting the wrong kinds of fats can create havoc on hormones. Coconut oil contains specific fats that support the body’s natural hormone production.
- Immune Support– The MCTs (including lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid) have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties that make it beneficial for immune support.
Coconut oil is a stable oil that doesn’t break down easily at high temperatures like other oils do. It has a higher melting temperature, meaning its consistency liquefies around 76 °F. (If your coconut oil is too thick to use, you may gently melt it by setting the container in a bowl of warm water; if it is too thin, you may thicken it by cooling it in a bowl of ice.) You can almost tell the difference between summer and winter where I live by the thickness of my coconut oil. It doesn’t go rancid easily as easily as other oils and has amazing so many amazing nutritional properties.
Heart of the Forest Silky Cocoa Lotion is made with coconut oil and cocoa butter – an amazingly smooth, aromatic and healing combination for the skin. It’s more than just a lotion – this handmade herbal remedy for dry skin nourishes while it moisturizes and it contains absolutely no artificial or harmful ingredients. Made paraben, synthetic and fragrance free, it’s the perfect treat for your body and soul. You can purchase it here.
Besides using coconut for its many health benefits, many around the world utilize various other elements of the coconut as well. The natural fibrous husk is often used for floor mats, ropes, strings, pots, or to create bowls, garden liners, even fuel. There are a plethora of resources and articles available online – just be sure to be resource wisely!
MATERIA MEDICA: Cocos nucifera
Common Name: Coconut
Parts Used: Husk, fibers, water, milk, flesh (meat), leaves
Energetics: cool and rejuvenating
- Digestive & Metabolic: Virgin coconut oil heads straight to the liver once it has been ingested and is directly transformed into energy which stimulates metabolism, specifically the digestive metabolism. It is indicated in digestive weakness and also in weight management and high cholesterol as it improves the metabolism of fats but also because the oil bypasses the circulatory and lymphatic system.
- Thyroid: Virgin coconut oil improves the efficiency of the thyroid and is indicated in both hyper and hypo-thyroidism where it will regulate and balance this gland.
- Skin: Virgin coconut oil will soothe and nourish inflamed skin and is an effective wound healer, improving the appearance of scars and supporting the healing process in conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis.
The coconut plant is a large palm tree that can grow up to 30m in height. It has long, thin and pinnate leaves and produces a very smooth bark. If grown on fertile land, coconut palms can produce close to 70 fruits per year. Coconut palms are primarily harvested for their fruits, from which the dried coconut flesh, coconut water and coconut milk and oil are all used commercially.
Coconut Health Benefits and Uses
- It has been shown to increase absorption of calcium and magnesium
- Internally as part of the protocol to help remineralize teeth
- Is an immediate source of energy when eaten, that isn’t stored as fat
- Can help speed weight loss when consumed daily
- It can help improve sleep when taken daily
- When used in food, it may support healthy thyroid function
- Some studies show that it can help improve insulin levels when consumed regularly
- Topically, it help skin heal faster after injury or infection because of its beneficial fats
- When used consistently on skin it can help get rid of cellulite
- Some evidence shows that the beneficial fats in coconut oil can help with depression and anxiety
- When taken regularly, it can boost hormone production
- Can relieve the pain of hemorrhoids when used topically
- Some studies show it can boost circulation and help those who often feel cold
- Internally during pregnancy to help provide baby necessary fats for development
- There are entire books dedicated to the potential of saturated fats like coconut oil to help avoid Alzheimer’s
What an amazing plant!!
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