Coconut Craze

Coconuts are one of the most nutritious fruits and a staple to many island and Asian cultures. In recent years it has gained popularity in the United States. Coconut water has become the “go to” for a 100% natural hydrating beverage with one of the highest sources of electrolytes known to man.

For all of you athletes out there, coconut water has 15 times the amount of potassium as most sports drinks! So now you know what to drink pre and post workout! Because both caffeine and alcohol are dehydrating, coconut water’s high potassium (even more than a banana!) content allows for proper hydration of your body and skin. It also helps regulate blood pressure and heart function.

Most people think that coconut milk is the liquid inside the coconut, but this is not the case. The liquid inside the coconut is known as coconut water or juice, and coconut cream is made from pressing the coconut meat. Coconut milk is made from the expressed juice of grated coconut meat and water, making it a great alternative to dairy and soy milk. Coconut milk is also a good source of calcium, Vitamin A, magnesium, and high in Vitamin D and B12. Coconut oil, on the other hand, is the fatty oil that comes from the coconut meat. It’s important to note that coconut oils on the market vary dramatically in terms of quality.

Low-quality coconut oils are processed by chemical extraction, using solvent extracts and chemical residues that are usually hydrogenated (incorporating unnecessary trans fat), which should be avoided. High-quality coconut oil is a completely different product and is truly the healthiest oil you can consume. A great brand of virgin coconut oil in the United States is, Tropical Traditions. This virgin coconut oil uses fresh coconuts, is certified organic, and contains no GMO ingredients, bleaching, deodorizing, refining or hydrogenation.

Coconuts and all natural coconut containing products can add flavor, variety and healthy nutrients to your diet. Coconuts are rich in lauric and capric acid, which are known for being antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal, to boost the immune system.

Other health benefits of coconuts and coconut oil include:

  • Help you lose or maintain a healthy weight
  • Reduce your risk of heart disease
  • Lower your cholesterol
  • Improve conditions in those with diabetes and chronic fatigue
  • Improve inflammatory conditions such as: Crohn’s, IBS, and other digestive disorders
  • Prevent other disease and routine illness with its powerful antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agents
  • Increase metabolism and promotes healthy thyroid (which regulates your metabolism) function
  • Boost your daily energy
  • Rejuvenate your skin through hydration and prevent wrinkles

I like the All Natural SO DELICIOUS Unsweetened Coconut Milk, which is dairy free, soy free, gluten free, naturally cholesterol free and a rich source (65%) of medium chain fatty acids. These fatty acids are recognized as “good fats” and unique in the sense that they are not readily stored but rather utilized as energy in the body.

**Tip: Start your morning off right with a bowl of Kashi Go Lean cereal with coconut milk and fresh blueberries!

 

My new favorite new treat is the SO DELICIOUS Purely Decadent Organic Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Frozen dessert from Whole Foods. It is a great alternative to those with lactose intolerance or allergy to soy. It is smooth and rich at the same time and leaves your feeling satisfied with only a few bites. If you are not a fan of the creamy taste, the SO DELICIOUS Mango Coconut Water Sorbet is a great alternative, leaving feeling refreshed!

**Tip: Pair ½ cup of either frozen dessert option with chopped walnuts or slivered almonds for a smooth treat with a nutty crunch! YUM!

To learn more about meal planning and healthy “superfoods” to incorporate into your diet and lifestyle, schedule an appointment with Courtney Walberg, Registered Dietitian and founder of Nutrition For Body And Mind.