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And today I would like to dedicate a post to my one of my favorite fruits ever!
Those of you who know me well, also know that I am nuts over coconuts and all the health benefits it offers. I try and utilize this wonder fruit in all shapes and forms.
I cook in it, drink it, bake with it and even wear it (sounds gross I know).
Let’s look at some of the health benefits:
Coconuts are a very good source of saturated fats, which is amazing for the body. In fact coconuts and saturated fats were considered crappy because of a myth that saturated fats lead to all kinds of heart ailments. Recent researches have debunked this myth and the people in fact who have been living on coconuts since ages (e.g, South Pacific population) are extremely healthy and hearty. The Western world today is moving towards increasing its consumption of coconuts and one can suddenly witness the increase in the number of ads, products, social media posts etc with respect to coconuts.
Coconuts are made up of medium chain triglycerides, which increase energy expenditure, and also significantly reduce your appetite. They also help improve blood cholesterol, contain antioxidants and are also known to boost brain functions.
Now that we are clear on how good these goodies are, lets look at how we can introduce it in our daily lives:
- Coconut water: Aah! The sound and smell of summer instantly reminds me of coconut water. I really miss the coconut water vendors here in the US, which are abundant in India. Ladies, don’t give these lovely waters a miss. It contains several minerals like potassium, magnesium and copper and antioxidants. It also contains cytokinins, the wonder compounds which help slow the aging process. What’s not to love in it right? Be cautious while picking up coconut water cartons or cans. More often than not they are not organic and contain natural flavors and added sugars.
- Coconut sugar: Yes there is something called coconut sugar! I discovered it a couple of years back and simply love it. Where do I use it, you may ask. To clarify, I don’t use it in teas or coffees, although I know of people who do. I like to bake with coconut sugar using it as an alternative to white table sugar. Coconut sugar is a natural sugar made from the sap of the coconut. The main benefits of using this sugar is that it contains some amount of nutrients rather than just empty calories that sugar abundantly offers. It also has a lower glycemic index than regular sugar, which is awesome, right! Now that we know coconut sugar is amazing and all, I still would NOT recommend you consume bags of this sugar. It does contain fructose and it IS sugar at the end of the day. But yes, coconut sugar is definitely a significantly lesser devil than your table sugar.
- Coconut Oil: Ever since I have been cooking in coconut oil, I haven’t gone back to regular sunflower oil, peanut oil, olive or any other oil. It is so healthy to begin with and it does NOT leave the taste of coconut in dishes. A lot of my friends are afraid to take this drastic step of introducing coconut oil as their medium of cooking but I promise, you can cook sabzies, soups, rajma and even chicken curry in coconut oil without any hint of a cocunutty flavor. Imagine cooking in an oil that actually offers health benefits. I actually add a spoonful of coconut oil in my morning smoothies. Sounds crazy? It isn’t. A lot of people do that do get a good source of energy and antioxidants and it also helps keep you fuller. For more on coconut oil read here.
- Coconut oil moisturizer: Yes extra virgin organic coconut oil can also be used as a moisturizer. I am not a fan of applying too many creams and products to my face simply because I get very conscious of the chemicals I am subjecting my skin too. I do crazy amount of research before purchasing any products and though my go-to day time moisturizer is the Eminence Organics line of products (awesome organic and eco friendly products), I turn to coconut oil as my night time moisturizer. I actually alternate between a variety of natural and organic oils to moisturize my face before sleeping (post coming up on this soon), but coconut oil is one of my top favorites. It has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and also has excellent anti aging-properties. What more do we want? I also use it to remove my make up and sometimes also as a sunscreen.
- Coconut hair oil: Ok, so how can a post on the benefits of coconuts be complete without mentioning our staple Parachute coconut oil. Growing up in India, I am confident each one of us had the beautiful blue bottle placed on our bathroom shelves. I wasn’t a fan of its smell then, but now I make it a point to oil my hair using coconut oil (along with other hair oils) at least twice a week. Mixing boiled coconut oil with curry leaves has excellent benefits for hair fall and I have personally witnessed a great increase in volume of my hair by applying this really easy-to-prepare magic potion.
I hope this post is helpful and convinces you of stocking this wonder fruit in your kitchens, bathrooms and your vanity cases 😉