COCONUTS

COCONUTS

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Benefits of Coconuts

  • Coconuts have one of the highest plant-based sources of saturated fats and have a small amount of plant-based proteins. So coconuts are great allies for vegetarians and vegans (and for meat-eaters too).
  • Coconuts are high in healthy fats, especially medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs are unique fats that break down fast and directly absorbed by the intestines. They are a quick energy source, may boost brain function, and may promote weight loss.  Note: “Triglyceride” is the fancy word for fat. There are many different types of fat.
  • Coconuts may be cardiac protective by improving lipid profiles. Lauric acid, a MCT, raises HDL,  high density lipoprotein (good cholesterol) and lowers triglycerides which can clog up arteries in the heart and body. It also decreases LDL, low density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol). This means that nutrients in coconut can potentially help prevent cardiac disease.
  • Coconuts help your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins (similar to avocados). Without healthy fats from sources like coconuts and avocados, our bodies can’t use certain vitamins.
  • Coconuts are an abundant source of fiber, so they’re great for gut health. Fiber from coconuts helps keep your bowel movements regular.
  • Coconuts provide lots of energy even though they are low in carbohydrates. Coconuts and avocados are staples for any low-carb diet. This high energy, low-carb quality also helps to stabilize blood sugar.
  • Coconuts have antimicrobial effects and boost the immune system. They are antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal.
  • Coconuts are high in essential minerals such as copper, iron, selenium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. It contain extraordinarily high amounts of manganese.
  • Coconuts contain important antioxidants which slow down damage from free radicals and may be cancer preventing.
  • Coconut water (not coconut milk) is nature’s Gatorade! It is an ideal source for extra hydration support. It contains mostly water, electrolytes (potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium), natural sugar, and a little fat. Pro tip: Best consumed after exercise or prolonged movement! It aslo contains bioactive compounds such as cytokinin, and enzymes help in digestion and metabolism.
Coconut drink

Minerals

ESSENTIAL

*up to 35-65% daily amount in 1 serving

– Supports bone health
– Antioxidant
– Reduces inflammation
– Regulates blood sugar
– Decrease seizure activity
– Supports brain health
– Supports thyroid health
– Assists in wound healing

ESSENTIAL

– Antioxidant
– Heart healthy
– Anticancer
– Decreases inflammation 
– Decreases mental decline
– Supports thyroid health
– Boosts immune system
– Reduces asthma symptoms

ESSENTIAL

– Supports bone and teeth health
– Necessary for muscle contraction and relaxation
– Heart healthy
– Co-factor (has to be present) for many reactions to take place
– Supports healthy blood pressure – Supports normal blood clotting

ESSENTIAL

– Prevents anemia (deficiency of red blood cells)
– Improves muscle endurance
– Boosts energy
– Boosts immune system
– Improves sleep 
– Reduces bruising
– Supports normal blood clotting

ESSENTIAL

– Boosts immune system
– Speeds up wound healing
– Reduces acne
– Decreases age-related illnesses
– Decreases inflammation
– Part of many enzymes for building protein and genetic material (DNA)
– Critical for normal taste
– Supports fetal development
– Assists in sperm production
– Necessary for normal growth and sexual maturation
– Helps with water balance in the body
– Necessary for normal muscle contraction and relaxation
– Supports brain and nervous system health
– Regulates blood pressure
– Promotes skin health

*Must come from diet, body cannot make*

– Supports bone and muscle health
– Improves energy
– Aids in tissue and cell repair (found in every cell)
– Necessary for proper nerve conduction
– Normalizes heart beat
– Maintains a healthy pH (acid/base balance), allowing cells to perform optimally

ESSENTIAL

– Regulates the body’s fluid balance
– Nervous system health
– Regulates heart and muscle contractions
– Lowers blood pressure
– Protects against strokes
– Prevents kidney stone
– Protects against osteoporosis

FAT

MOST AMOUNT OF THE FAT

*Mostly MCTs (medium chain triglycerides)
*Lauric acid (type of specific MCT)

Note: “triglyceride” is a technical term for fat

– Rapid source of energy
– Precursor to ketones (alternative energy source to glucose especially for the brain)
– Stabilizes blood sugar
– Reduces insulin secretion by pancreas
– Boosts brain function
– Promotes weight loss
– Antimicrobial (fights bacteria, virus, parasites, and yeast).
– Heart healthy, especially lauric acid which raises HDL
– Promotes a healthy gut

SMALL AMOUNT OF FAT

-Omega-3 Fatty acids (vegan source)
-Omega-6 Fatty acids

– Reduces mental decline
– Improves infant development (especially DHEA)
– Heart healthy

LEAST AMOUNT OF FAT

– Anti-inflammatory
– Heart healthy
– Provides energy

Vitamins & Antioxidants

(>5% RDA)

-B1 (Thiamin)
-B9 (Folate, Folic acid)
-B5 (Pantothenic acid)

– Supports cellular health
– Increases energy
– Improves eyesight
– Improves cardiovascular health
– Increases muscle tone
– Improves nerve function
– Increases brain function
– Supports fetal development

– Boosts immune system
– Antioxidant (prevents chronic disease)
– Anti Inflammatory (reduces inflammation)
– May decrease blood pressure (relaxes artery walls)
– Lowers cholesterol and triglycerides
– May reduce anemia (helps absorption of iron)
– May slow down dementia and protect memory

Phenolic compounds

– Reduces cell damage from free radicals released during metabolism, inflammation, infection, etc.
– Anti-cancer

Fiber & Carbohydrates

– Insoluble (75%)
– Soluble (25%)

*recommended daily fiber
– Children 1-3 years: 19 grams
– Children 4-8 years: 25 grams

– Girls 9-13 years: 26 grams
– Girls 14-19 years: 26 grams

– Boys 9-13 years: 31 grams
– Boys 14-19 years: 38 grams

– Can help with weight control due to reduction in appetite
– Reduces blood sugar spike
– Supports gut health and a healthy microbiome
– Contributes to a feeling of being full
– Regulates bowel movements and reduces constipation
– May reduce the chance of colon cancer
– May lower cholesterol levels

Small amount

-Carbohydrates are important but NOT essential. 
-*Fiber is also a carbohydrate.

– Provides energy

Coconuts are fruits, nuts & seeds

Coconut is one of the most versatile SuperHero foods (plus one of our son’s favorites). Coconut water, coconut oil, and coconut meat are full of nutrients and can be prepared in many different ways. Plus, they’re delicious.  You can also  enjoy it as milk, as flake or chips, or just straight out of the hull! Try them all and find out which is your favorite. 

Coconut oil

How to eat:

Coconut oil has a smoke point of 350 °F so it works well for both cooking and baking. If you roast or saute veggies, use coconut oil for a different flavor profile.  Try a spice like Garam Masala (we like the Frontier Co-Op Brand) to complement the unique coconut flavor. Roast carrots and sweet potatoes in coconut oil with a touch of cinnamon and some salt – it’s delicious! 

When baking, substitute coconut oil for vegetable oil or butter. Coconut oil has more nutrients than vegetable oil and can be a great alternative to anyone who is sensitive to dairy. If you want to cash in on the coconut flavor, add coconut flakes or chips to your baked goods too!

Sometimes we simply put a dollop of coconut oil on our kid’s plate.  They eat it with a spoon, dip something into it, or put it on their hands and lick it. We’re happy with any of these methods.  Coconut oil contains a beautifully high amount of lauric acid which combats viral infections like the flu and the cold. Plus it’s great for brain and heart health.

How to buy:

When buying coconut oil, always look for unrefined or raw, and organic. Unrefined ensures that it is minimally processed which usually means that the coconut meat is removed from the coconut and cold pressed to just get the oil. 

Coconut oil

Where to buy:

You can find coconut oil at almost all grocery stores and health food markets.  I look for the criteria above and then choose whatever brand is on sale that month. Here’s one we found online.

Coconut milk

How to eat:

Coconut milk is a creamy combination of coconut water and coconut meat. It’s high in good, healthy fat and is a wonderful addition to soups, curries, smoothies, and coffee. 

Just scoop out some coconut milk from the can and add water to thin it out. I steam it in the morning and add it to my coffee with a little honey.  My kids love coconut steamers. Steam some coconut milk, add some cinnamon and honey, and my kids get to “have coffee” with mom in the morning 🙂

There are some amazing recipes out there for coconut milk ice cream and popsicles, coconut curries, and coconut soups!

Coconut ice cream

How to buy:

It’s easiest to buy in a can.  You can find many brands but I look for an organic brand with no guar. My favorite brand is Native Forest Simple Organic with no guar.

Where to buy:

I have found that the cheapest way to buy coconut milk is in bulk via Amazon.

Coconut water

How to eat:

We know that plain ole water is the best everyday drink for staying hydrated, but some days  call for something a little more fun. Coconut water has lots of electrolytes to give your kids a boost when it’s hot and humid outside

How to buy:

We’ve tried so many different coconut waters and hands down the best is Harmless Harvest. This brand is great because it’s organic, raw, and minimally processed.  Plus, coconut water is the ONLY ingredient.  Many brands add sugar.  Harmless Harvest is more expensive, but you can buy the largest bottle because it keeps for about 4 days.  Make a mix of half coconut water and half regular water to savor it.  It still tastes delicious and sweet.  Natural coconut water is fairly high in sugar so this cuts the sugar amount in half per serving too.

Coconuts water

Where to buy:

I find that the most cost effective way to buy is in bulk from their website directly.

Coconut butter

How to eat:

Prepare to be awed!  Coconut butter is delicious.  It is also called Coconut Manna. Manna means  an unexpected or gratuitous benefit–it’s that good! It is just dried, pureed coconut flesh. You can use it like a spread or a dip for fruit.  I cut up apples and let the kids dip it in coconut butter as an alternative to peanut butter.  I also put it in smoothies.  It is so good that my kids often eat it on it’s own!

Coconut butter

How to buy:

When buying, look for organic and raw. We love the Nutiva brand.

Where to buy:

Most grocery stores sell this brand and you can also find it at Thrive Market with great prices.  When I find it on sale I often stock up and buy 2 or 3 jars.

Shredded coconut and coconut flakes

How to eat:

Shredded coconut and coconut flakes are great for texture play. Add a little pile to your kids’ morning plates or add it to nuts and seeds for a fun trail mix. Make coconut chips by toasting coconut flakes for a few minutes in the oven (be careful that they don’t burn!). Coconut chips have a fun crunch with a deliciously sweet and fatty finish.  For a snowy, textured finish to baked goods, consider sprinkling some shredded coconut on top.

How to buy:

Always look for full fat, raw, and organic with no added sugar when buying shredded coconut and coconut flakes.

Coconut flakes

Where to buy:

You can find it at most grocery stores but be careful of the kind in the baking section as it’s usually full of added sugar. Thrive Market sells both at a great price and quality.

Whole coconuts

How to eat:

Coconuts are unique fruits, tough on the outside with sweet, bright treasures within. If you can buy one whole from your market or on vacation, kids can learn where coconut oil and coconut milk come from. Show them how you cut the tops off to drink the water inside.  Then scoop out the meat from the sides and eat it plain (a family favorite). And I’m sure your kids can think of something fun to do with the hull!

Whole coconuts

How to buy:

Buy a few and leave them in your refrigerator because once your kids have fresh coconut water, they’ll keep asking for more.

Where to buy:

In most grocery stores, you can find them whole with the hull removed. You can often find whole coconuts at the best price at ethnic food markets.

Coconut Water is Nature’s Gatorade!

COCONUTS DRINK

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