Sunday, May 8, 2011

Let's Talk About Coconut !

For some of us, coconut milk is that delicious, creamy substance that satisfied our need for creamy goodness when dairy in our bodies isn't the best idea. After all, coconut milk can be a substitute for so many places in a recipe that calls for milk! In ice creams, in soups, in Thai cooking and in curries...coconut milk is fantastic!

But why use it? Why not use some other milk substitute, you ask?

Did you know that some cultures and people consider coconut as a miracle food?

Coconut water, and the subsequent 'milk' (made from said water plus pulp) contains electrolytes, vitamins and minerals like calcium and potassium. It's better than Gatorade for replenishing those fluids, and people are starting to find out!

See? Three different kinds for sale on Amazon of all places! Did you know you can buy groceries on Amazon now? Wow.

(Forgive my playing with the Amazon links, I've only newly discovered this feature for blogging and might be a bit out of hand with it.)

Anyway, where was I?

Coconut! Right!

Saturated Fat - yep, I said it! The saturated fat in coconut is made up of short-chain and medium-chain fatty acids. This means that our bodies quickly turn these fatty acids into energy instead of storing them as fat. Translation: even though it's high in saturated fat, coconut can aid in weight loss. Fat - not the evil enemy the media would have us believe it is. True!

A fantastic book on the benefits of coconut oil has been written by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig - if this is a subject that interests you, I highly recommend this book:

Half the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut milk are composed of lauric acid, which is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal.

Researchers in the Philippines have even begun studies to prove the effectiveness of lauric acid against HIV/AIDS because of its strong antiviral properties.

Learn more by reading the full article.

So what we're saying here is that the regular consumption of coconut products like coconut oil, coconut water and coconut milk can help boost the immune system.

And from the coconut research center, just look at this giant list of healing uses of coconut! To quote just a few the whole list because really, it is so impressive! Just look at this list:

  • Kills viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS, AIDS, and other illnesses.
  • Kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum disease and cavities, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, and other diseases.
  • Kills fungi and yeasts that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete's foot, thrush, diaper rash, and other infections.*
  • Expels or kills tapeworms, lice, giardia, and other parasites.
  • Provides a nutritional source of quick energy.
  • Boosts energy and endurance, enhancing physical and athletic performance.
  • Improves digestion and absorption of other nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
  • Improves insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose.
  • Relieves stress on pancreas and enzyme systems of the body.
  • Reduces symptoms associated with pancreatitis.
  • Helps relieve symptoms and reduce health risks associated with diabetes.
  • Reduces problems associated with malabsorption syndrome and cystic fibrosis.
  • Improves calcium and magnesium absorption and supports the development of strong bones and teeth.
  • Helps protect against osteoporosis.
  • Helps relieve symptoms associated with gallbladder disease.
  • Relieves symptoms associated with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and stomach ulcers.
  • Improves digestion and bowel function.
  • Relieves pain and irritation caused by hemorrhoids.
  • Reduces inflammation.
  • Supports tissue healing and repair.
  • Supports and aids immune system function.
  • Helps protect the body from breast, colon, and other cancers.
  • Is heart healthy; improves cholesterol ratio reducing risk of heart disease.
  • Protects arteries from injury that causes atherosclerosis and thus protects against heart disease.
  • Helps prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay.
  • Functions as a protective antioxidant.
  • Helps to protect the body from harmful free radicals that promote premature aging and degenerative disease.
  • Does not deplete the body's antioxidant reserves like other oils do.
  • Improves utilization of essential fatty acids and protects them from oxidation.
  • Helps relieve symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Relieves symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (prostate enlargement).
  • Reduces epileptic seizures.
  • Helps protect against kidney disease and bladder infections.
  • Dissolves kidney stones.
  • Helps prevent liver disease.
  • Is lower in calories than all other fats.
  • Supports thyroid function.
  • Promotes loss of excess weight by increasing metabolic rate.
  • Is utilized by the body to produce energy in preference to being stored as body fat like other dietary fats.
  • Helps prevent obesity and overweight problems.
  • Applied topically helps to form a chemical barrier on the skin to ward of infection.
  • Reduces symptoms associated the psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.
  • Supports the natural chemical balance of the skin.
  • Softens skin and helps relieve dryness and flaking.
  • Prevents wrinkles, sagging skin, and age spots.
  • Promotes healthy looking hair and complexion.
  • Provides protection from damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
  • Helps control dandruff.

* - This gets its own paragraph, because it is so important for so many of us who have lived with this: Coconut oil has also been proven to kill the Candida Albicans yeast.That's Candida. Taking coconut oil regularly has helped people to get that Candida under control. Just ask Bee! She has many great links about coconut oil in healing Candida

And coconut products, there are many! 

In addition to the coconut meat itself, there is shredded, flour, oil, water, cream, and the young coconuts themselves - so so delicious when they're in season! I love making smoothies, desserts and noodles from young coconut - the flesh is so soft and supple! It is amazing what one can do with all of these different coconut products - and in future I'll share some more of what I do with them, of course!

And remember, coconut milk is dairy-free, soy-free, lactose-free, grain-free, gluten-free, and even animal-free! This means that pretty much no matter what your dietary preferences, it's pretty likely that coconut can be a part of your life. Huzzah!

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