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Coconuts are considered to be so auspicious that they are offered to deities during several rituals and festivities in our country. It’s so wholesome that most of its parts can be utilised.
If coconut water offers instant energy due to high levels of glucose then the inner flesh is used for making sweets and savoury delicacies. Hence, it is referred to as a tree which provides humans with everything that is necessary for a living. The coconut palm known as Cocos nucifera bears this fruit which, technically speaking, is a drupe and not a nut. Drupe or nut, the bottom line is that coconut is extremely healthy. In fact, it needs to be consumed regularly if you want to boost your overall health.
Here are 5 benefits of coconut that ensure you always stay healthy:
Coconut is rich in fibre, protein, carbs, vitamins and minerals that are involved in many functions of the body. It is a good source of manganese that improves the metabolism of protein, carbohydrates and cholesterol and is essential for bone health. What’s more, it is a healthy source of copper, iron which is known to form RBCs, and selenium which is an antioxidant.
Coconut reduces the risk of heart diseases. In fact, coconut oil is known to maintain cholesterol levels of the body and reduce belly fat. Excess belly fat increases the risk of diabetes and heart diseases.
Coconut is high in fibre and fat but low in carbs. So, it can help stabilise blood sugar levels. Basically, consuming coconut improves beta-cell function whose main function is to regulate the production of insulin which is the hormone stabilising blood sugar levels. The high amount of arginine found in coconut is what improves the beta-cell function. The high fibre present in coconut can slow the process of digestion and improve insulin resistance which results in improved regulation of blood sugar levels.
Coconut includes powerful antioxidants which are known to protect the cells from oxidative damage. The phenolic compounds found in coconut include gallic acid, caffeic acid, salicylic acid and p-coumaric acid. These also control cholesterol levels in the body, protect against cell damage and reduce the risk of heart disease.
You can use coconut in shaved or flaked form. It adds a nice taste and aroma to all dishes. Its flavour and meaty texture work well when added to delicacies like fish stews, curries, rice dishes, and shrimp. Shredded coconut is great for baking and adds a flavour of natural sweetness to muffins, cookies and bread. It can be added raw to yoghurt or pudding, a tasty calorie-booster for someone who wants to gain weight. Coconut flour is used as a substitute for wheat flour. It’s nut-free, gluten-free, vegan and a good option for anyone who is counting carbs.
With so many health benefits, it’s clear you need to add more coconut to your diet!