Over generations, Indian homes have been using the goodness of coconut in its various forms. Rich in vitamins, minerals and calories, coconut is considered as a complete food. One fruit can provide you with a daily dose of almost all essential nutrients.
Coconuts are known for their great versatility, as evidenced by many traditional uses, ranging from food to cosmetics. In India, coconut is called kalpavriksha in Sanskrit, and the coconut tree is the tree that provides all that is necessary. This large fruit is exploited in all its forms by the inhabitants of the south and the coastal regions and also form a regular part of their diets. This mature fruit is one of the most used ingredients in the kitchens of India. Offering for the gods of the Hindu temples, this nut is also used to make ropes, mattresses, and even musical instruments.
Coconut meat along with the coconut water, coconut oil, coconut milk and coconut flour is extremely beneficial for health. Eating coconuts strengthens your immunity as every part of this fruit possesses strong anti-viral properties.
Coconut water is not only a delicious and refreshing drink, it is also rich in electrolytes, enzymes and minerals which help in digestion and boosts metabolism. Coconut water is also considered to be more nutritious and healthier than whole milk. Cytokinin, one of the elements found in coconut water, possesses potent anti-carcinogenic and anti-aging properties. It also cures hangover.
In India, coconut water is drunk directly by making an opening on the top of the young green fruit. It is now marketed in Europe and the United States where it is stored under bricks without added sugars and without preservatives.
Its natural concentration of mineral salts makes it a source of hydration and mineralisation. A third of a litre of coconut water quenches and refreshes the body like a litre of water. As its high content of potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc are natural, its assimilation by the body is maximum.
The drink is isotonic, that is, the density of coconut water is close to that of our blood. It slows the exhaustion of muscle and reduces fatigue. In addition, it balances the level of electrolytes in the blood and helps lower blood pressure.
It also has a draining effect to eliminate aqueous cellulite. Poor in fat and sugar, it is a low-calorie drink: 13 calories/100 ml is less than a lemon juice for example, so it can be sipped by people with diabetes.
Coconut water can also be used to treat oily skin as it washes away excess oil from the skin and keeps the skin tone even. Coconut water is also very effective on acne, black spots and blemishes.
Coconut kernel is rich in copper, iron, manganese and zinc, which makes it one of the best sources of these essential minerals. The fruit not only provides nutrition but also improves ability to absorb magnesium and calcium, two elements which are essential for bone health. Therefore, eating coconuts regularly reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis.
Its meat is disproportionately high in saturated fats in comparison to other common edible nuts, but coconut has many bioactive compounds that are essential for better health.
One of the most important coconut benefits is that it helps in boosting cognitive functions and reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The fatty acids release ketones during metabolism in the body and these ketone bodies can act as an alternative source of energy to the malfunctioning brain cells and bring the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease under control. According to Dr Mary Newport, keto acids can even restore and renew neurons and brain nerve functions after trauma.
Coconut oil extracted from the dry kernel is one of the healthiest natural oils and is extremely beneficial for the heart. It is also widely used for cooking. The Lauric acid present in coconut oil raises the level of healthy HDL cholesterol in the blood. It also helps in weight loss and reduces abdominal fat.
The benefits of coconut oil for skin and hair are very effective. It is one of the best natural remedies for dry lips and dry skin. Massaging the skin using pure, cold pressed coconut oil on a daily basis can reduce skin dryness and flaking of skin. It is an amazing anti-aging skin remedy that delays the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and skin sagging. For pregnant women, it will prevent the appearance of stretch marks. It is also an excellent make-up remover and it nourishes the skin at the same time without blocking the pores.
Present in many masks and hair care, coconut oil has nourishing properties for hair. It is best to apply it one hour before shampooing for dry hair and just add a few drops for the daily care of normal hair.