The joy of taking refreshing swigs of ‘nariyal paani’ in summer from a tender coconut is unmatched. The satisfaction doubles up when you dig into the coconut malai! The sweet, white flesh inside the coconut shell is so delectable, it could give a scoop of ice cream a run for its money! But wait, there’s more. Not only does it taste great, but it’s also loaded with health benefits. So grab a coconut, sit back, and let’s explore the wonders of coconut malai!
Coconuts are the big seeds or fruits of coconut palms named Cocos nucifera. Coconut meat, coconut cream or coconut malai is the sweet, white flesh inside a shell that is high in nutrients and could be eaten fresh or dried, and is known to be very beneficial.
Extracted from the flesh of mature coconuts, coconut malai is rich in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), lauric acid, and other beneficial compounds. Let’s take a look at its benefits as explained to us by dietician and Nutritionist, Avni Kaul:
Despite being high in saturated fats, coconut malai has been found to have a positive effect on heart health. The MCTs in coconut malai have been linked to lower levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides, which are risk factors for heart disease. Additionally, the lauric acid in coconut malai has been shown to improve blood pressure levels, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
“The MCTs in coconut malai have been linked to weight loss, as they can increase energy expenditure and reduce appetite,” says Kaul. Studies have found that adding coconut malai to a diet can lead to greater weight loss and reduced waist circumference compared to other types of fats.
Kaul drew our attention to a study that appeared in the Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine which observed that the daily consumption of 100 grams of fresh coconut helped to lower blood glucose levels in 80 healthy persons, thereby preventing type-2 diabetes.
The nutritionist explains that since it is rich in dietary fiber, consumption of foods that are good in dietary fiber supports improved digestion. The fiber in coconut malai helps to regulate bowel movements and prevent constipation. Additionally, coconut malai contains compounds that have been shown to have a positive effect on gut bacteria, promoting a healthy gut microbiome.
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The nutritional composition of coconut malai is such that it is beneficial for pregnant women as it can help in the growth and development of the fetal brain and nervous system, can help reduce nausea and morning sickness and help boost immunity of the mother-to-be.
Whether you add it to your cooking or use it as a topical treatment, coconut malai is a versatile and natural way to promote health and well-being. Now you’ve got all the more reasons to dig in, isn’t it?