As a superfoods brand, it’s safe to say we’re nuts for coconuts. The health benefits of coconut are unique to the world of fruits, as it’s nutrition profile includes healthy fats, protein, several minerals and less carbohydrates and vitamins than your typical fruit. You may have heard through the grapevine (or through the coconut trees?) some of the amazing health benefits associated with coconut. Keep reading to learn about how coconut uniquely fuels our body and is an essential player in any good plant-based diet.
If you’ve read our blog before, you know we love to nerd out on some historical facts before diving into the nitty gritty of our favorite superfoods. Before we get into the health benefits of coconuts, here’s some interesting facts you can share with your book club:
Fossils in New Zealand show that coconut-like plants have been growing on Earth for over 15 million years.
Arab traders moved the coconut East, and eventually the trading on the Silk Road continued its reach. Now, the coconut (which floats!) grows on every subtropical shoreline across the globe.
In many cultures, the coconut tree is called the "Tree of Life." This is because every bit of the coconut tree can be put to good use (just as Moana's dad crooned.) They offer everything from shelter, drinks, food, fuel, utensils and even musical instruments and clothing.
It takes almost a year for a coconut to mature. A good reminder in patience, isn’t it?
The Health Benefits of Coconuts
Coconut nourishes us with minerals.
Coconuts provide many essential minerals that our bodies need to function. They’re especially high in manganese, offering 1.2mg in a serving (75% of the Daily Value!). Manganese is crucial for metabolizing carbohydrates, amino acids and cholesterol. It is also essential for bone health and development, wound healing, and has antioxidant properties. Coconuts are also a good source of copper and iron, two minerals that are commonly deficient in plant-based diets. These minerals help form red blood cells. Coconuts are also loaded with selenium, an important antioxidant.
Coconut can help with regularity and aid digestive health.
If you didn’t know, our friend the coconut is packed with fiber, giving us 7.2g per cup serving (FYI this is more than 20% of our daily recommendation!). This fiber helps to bulk up our stool and make us more regular, which supports the health of our entire system. Coconut is also high in healthy fats that help our body absorb fat soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K), calcium, and magnesium.
Coconut is a great source of fuel.
Coconuts are mostly fat which is mainly in the form of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). According to the science, MCTs are used more efficiently in the body, they go straight from your gut to your liver where they can be used as an instant energy source. Some studies show that this rapid energy release can curb sugar cravings in their tracks. Not to mention, fat is very satisfying and provides more than twice the energy per gram than proteins or carbohydrates. This makes coconut such a great fuel for athletes. If we had to guess, Michael Phelps is probably sponsored by coconuts.
As a bonus, coconut may be linked to staving off Alzheimer’s Disease.
More recently, research has shown that coconut may have the ability to help us avoid Alzheimer’s Disease. Coconuts contain certain compounds and hormones that can help block the aggregation of amyloid-B-peptide, a key marker of Alzheimer’s. In the coming years, some believe coconut could be an important tool in avoiding Alzheimer’s Disease.
Coconut: A Smoothie All-Star
Because of its creamy consistency, delicious flavor (that immediately transports us somewhere tropical) and stellar nutritional profile, coconut is a popular smoothie add-in. Coconut milk makes a great smoothie base, coconut oil adds some important fats and nutrients to your smoothie, and coconut meat can help turn a smoothie into a meal. If you’re looking to take advantage of the health benefits of coconut and give your tastebuds a party, might we suggest trying Pina Colossal, our superfood take on everyone’s favorite beachside beverage. Our version ditches the sugar and chemicals typically found in Pina Colada mix and contains coconut (of course), pineapple, ground almonds, banana, mulberries, chia seeds, hulled hemp hearts, and papaya. It’s like the cocktail you love, made from the foods you need. As the weather warms up in the Northern Hemisphere, there’s arguably no better way to nourish your body--although we might be biased.
Cheers to the health benefits of coconuts!