The Health Benefits of Eating Coconuts

Who can face up to a coconut, with its creamy, tropical flavor? For too lengthy, many Americans have achieved just that.

Thankfully, that misguided coconut era is over. The coconut is receiving lengthy-past due accolades as a especially nutritious food. In reality, studies has shown that it’s the saturated fats in coconuts that no longer simplest enables our bodies soak up vitamins and combat viruses, however additionally reduce cholesterol levels. Traditional American uses of coconut are sugar-encumbered affairs — think baked goods like pies, cakes and macaroons — that masks its health-selling houses. But now cooks anywhere are incorporating coconut right into a wide range of flavorful recipes that support properly fitness. (For extra on why saturated fat is right for you, look for “A Big Fat Mistake.”) And many humans are going even further, the use of coconut milk as a wholesale alternative for dairy.

When coconut is clean, it has a candy, wealthy aroma. Before it reaches the grocery save, the coconut’s easy outer shell has typically been eliminated, revealing a difficult husk with three indented “eyes” at one stop. Inside is the seed; it consists of a layer of creamy, white meat surrounding a center filled with clean, mildly flavored coconut water.

Whatever form of coconut you choose — shredded coconut; or coconut milk, cream and oil — it’s miles sure to add an distinctive twist of taste to an otherwise regular meal.

Quick and Easy
Intimidated via coconuts? Don’t be. Here are smooth methods to integrate coconut meat, milk and water into everyday snacks and food.

Mix shaved or shredded coconut with nuts, seeds and berries in a bowl as a wholesome alternative to breakfast cereal (just upload your preference of yogurt or milk and a spoon). Thanks to the healthful fat and fiber, you’ll feel satisfied longer.
Make coconut mango salsa by using combining chopped mango, chopped purple chili, coconut chunks, clean mint and lime juice in a bowl. Use it to pinnacle grilled fish, fowl or tempeh. Or certainly serve it with some whole-grain chips.
When cooking rice, alternative 1/2 of the water with coconut milk. When rice is cooked, sprinkle in some sliced green onions, sesame seeds or toasted nuts, if desired. Coconut milk also can be utilized in area of milk in lots of recipes.
Use coconut water in place of water for your favorite smoothie recipe. You’ll get a hint of tropical flavor and a boost of extra electrolytes. Coconut water additionally makes a nice beverage or midworkout refresher all on its very own.
Nutrition Know-How
Nearly ninety percent of the fat in coconut oil are saturated — and they may be healthy! In the 1970s and ’80s, producers of processed foods replaced coconut oil with partly hydrogenated oils. We now realize that the ones oils comprise very bad trans fatty acids. The saturated fat discovered in coconut is, by assessment, very good for us — mainly when part of a diverse, frequently plant-based weight loss program.
Fifty-5 to 65 percentage of the saturated fats in coconut oil are medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), which have been used as nutritional dietary supplements to enhance nutrient absorption and sports performance.
Coconut oil is wealthy in lauric acid. Preliminary research have shown that lauric acid may help the body fight viruses.
As the result of ingesting coconut oil, the human frame steps up its production of ketone our bodies — beneficial compounds produced while fatty acids are broken down for electricity. Because those compounds are used to benefit with the aid of the brain, researchers are currently studying coconut oil as a likely treatment for human beings with illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Lou Gehrig’s and multiple sclerosis, as well as kind 1 and sort 2 diabetes.
Coconut meat is rich in phytosterols, ldl cholesterol-like compounds located on the whole in nuts and legumes. Phytosterols have been proven to naturally reduce cholesterol levels inside the blood.
Fresh coconut meat is an amazing source of fiber. A 1-cup serving gives approximately 29 percentage of the every day advocated amount of nutritional fiber. Note that nutrient levels drop barely when coconut is dried.
Both uncooked coconut water and freshly squeezed coconut milk are rich in a host of minerals, along with potassium, manganese and magnesium.
For conventional film-theater taste (with out the mystery ingredients), strive kettle-popped popcorn in a few tablespoons of coconut oil (enough to cowl the lowest of the pan). Or pinnacle air-popped popcorn with equal components melted coconut oil, olive oil and butter.
Kitchen Tricks
Do not boil coconut milk whilst cooking, due to the fact it is able to curdle, keeping apart the oil from the liquid. Instead, stir continuously on low heat. When making curries, for instance, you may upload coconut milk at the quit of the cooking procedure, and warmth just to a simmer.
To make your very own certainly sweetened dried coconut, place about three cups unsweetened shredded or grated coconut on a baking sheet and toss with ¼ cup maple syrup. Bake at 150 degrees F for approximately 11 hours to dry out the coconut.
For toasted coconut, region freshly grated coconut in a skinny layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees F for about 5 minutes — stirring each minute to prevent burning — until golden brown.
Shopping and Storage Tips
Look for whole, unopened coconuts which are firm, heavy for their size and free of dampness across the “eyes.” Small black spots can be an early signal of mold. When you shake the coconut you need to pay attention plenty of water slosh around inner.
Use inside a few weeks to make sure freshness and reduce the danger of spoilage. If a coconut smells “off,” don’t devour it.
Once opened, store fresh coconut meat within the fridge for up to at least one week or freeze for up to six months.
Most prebagged shredded coconut is sweetened. Look for unsweetened shaved or shredded coconut inside the bulk section at natural markets.
How to Open a Coconut
You’ll need a hammer and screwdriver (optionally available: heavy gloves to defend your arms). Carefully puncture the eyes of the coconut by way of using hammer to power the screwdriver into the coconut shell. Turn the coconut over and drain the coconut water right into a smooth dish.
Next hammer firmly across the coconut in circles till the shell cracks barely. Wedge the screwdriver into the crack and faucet sharply with the hammer; the coconut should smash apart into halves
Use a pointy-facet utensil to pry or scrape the beef far from the shell. Trim the brown skin off the chicken with a paring knife.
Island Spinach Salad
This colorful salad bursts with flavor, way to nutty toasted coconut and a tangy lime French dressing. The highly spiced coconut cashews can be sprinkled on top of the salad or served on their personal as a short appetizer.

Makes 4 servings

8 cups clean spinach
1 mango, diced
half cup shredded toasted coconut
half of cup cashew nuts or coconut chili-glazed cashews
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. Honey
1/4 tsp. Ground cumin
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of sea salt and pepper
Arrange the spinach on a huge platter. Top with mango, coconut and cashews. In a jar with a lid, add the lime juice, mustard, honey, cumin and oil. Shake to mix, season with salt and pepper, and pour over salad.

Coconut Chili-Glazed Cashews
Makes 4 servings

1 tsp. Coconut oil
3 tbs. Honey
1 Thai red chili, seeded and finely chopped (or 1/2 tsp. Overwhelmed crimson pepper)
2 cups raw cashew nuts
1 cup unsweetened coconut, shredded
Salt and pepper to flavor

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