There’s a growing natural movement emerging as many people make the conscious choice to go all-organic, whenever possible. If you’re looking for the latest natural ingredient taking the health world by storm, why not consider the coconut?
As well as the delicious taste of coconut milk, several other parts of the coconut palm offer health benefits for your everyday routine. Read on to find out more about how you can make the most of this tropical super-plant.
About the coconut palm
Also known as Cocos nucifera, the coconut palm is grown in many locations around the world. It needs lowland tropical and sub-tropical conditions to thrive, but the natural products made from various parts of the plant can be found almost anywhere today.
The coconut is extremely versatile. The stem near the top of the plant can be tapped to provide a type of sugar which is also used in some types of alcoholic beverages. The husk of the coconut is full of fibre, which has traditionally been used for making mats, ropes and other similar items. The edible part of the coconut (also known as the endosperm tissue) consists of the meat of the fruit itself as well as coconut water.
It’s important to note that coconut water is not the same as coconut milk. The water is taken from the aqueous part of the endosperm tissue, while the milk is created from grating down the solid part of the fruit.
Coconut has many uses stemming from different components of the plant, but two of the most common are coconut oil and coconut sugar.
Benefits of coconut oil
We all know the dangers of ‘bad’ fats, which are the trans fats and (to a lesser degree) saturated fats. While we do need some of these in our bodies, an imbalance between these and mono- and polyunsaturated fats can lead to all sorts of problems, particularly for your heart.
Coconut oil is of the saturated variety of fats, but it does contain a beneficial substance known as lauric acid. This acid has been shown to have potential in increasing the amount of HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol levels in the body, and it may also help to support normal thyroid function (which also supports lower cholesterol).
There are many ways you can incorporate coconut oil into your daily routine. Its high smoke point means it’s good for use in baking and stir-fries, or even as a dairy-free butter replacement in your recipes.
Coconut oil can also be used on the tips of the hair for a moisture boost, or as a homemade lotion for the face. Rubbing coconut oil onto the skin is also a good way to emulsify and remove makeup (known as the oil cleansing method).
Benefits of coconut sugar
Coconut palm sugar is another benefit of the coconut plant. It is made from the sap created by cutting the flower buds on the tree. It looks and tastes similar to brown sugar, but there are a few more nutritional benefits.
The main advantage of coconut sugar is that it is mostly made up of sucrose, with smaller amounts of fructose and glucose. While all sugars should be eaten in moderation to promote better health, high levels of fructose consumption have been linked to high triglycerides, which is one of the factors known to increase your risk of heart disease.
Substituting coconut palm sugar for other products high in fructose can be a healthier choice – although it’s important to note that lower sugar consumption overall is more beneficial for your body.
Coconut sugar is also a source of vitamin C, B vitamins and some amino acids, so it can be a better choice of sweetener for your diet.
With so many versatile uses, the coconut plant can be a great addition to your health routine.
BioBalance Certified Organic Virgin Coconut Oil is a rich source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. It is high in lauric acid – a rare medium chain fatty acid found in human breast milk – giving it antimicrobial and immune supporting properties. Buy it now from our secure on-line shop.
Tired of reading about Coconut Oil? Come watch our cute & cuddly video clip … all about the benefits of this incredibly healthy oil!
We’d Love Your Feedback
What’s your favourite thing about the humble coconut palm (a certain product, memories of tropical holidays…)?
Do you use any coconut product on a regular basis? What is it and how do you use it?