Saturday, 23 June 2012

HEALTH BENEFITS OF COCONUT


THE COCONUT

Compiled and posted by:

INYANG EKEMINI.

(Project supervisor)

The Research Support Department,

EAGLESISLAND TECHNOLOGIES – NIGERIA. www.eaglesislandtech.blogspot.com,   mobile: +234-8025909870.

Email: eaglesislandtech@yahoo.com )

 

 

 

NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS OF COCONUT

The coconut is a tropical fruit that is well-known for its nutritional benefits. Its meat, juice and oil are popular all over the world due to its delicious taste and abundance of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Coconut was used by primitive people to treat a number of ailments, and is still recognized today for its nutritious and healing properties.


Nutritive Values

A 1 cup (80 g) serving of shredded coconut contains 283 calories, of which 224 come from fat. There are 27 g of fat in a serving of coconut, 24 of which are saturated fat and the rest consisting of monosaturated fat and Omega-6 fatty acids, which are extremely beneficial for the body. There is no cholesterol in coconut, and only 16 mg of sodium. A serving of coconut consists of 12 g of carbohydrates and 3 g of protein. It also contains 7 g of fiber and 5 g of sugar.

Vitamin and Mineral Content

Coconut is an excellent source of manganese, and contains 60 percent of the recommended daily intake of that mineral. It is also contains 11 percent of the recommended intake for iron, 9 percent of phosphorus and 8 percent of potassium. There are trace amounts of other nutrients in coconut, including zinc, calcium and magnesium.


Physical Benefits

Coconut is rich in protein. Because of its high calorie and fat content, coconut is a healthy food to consume for those who are trying to gain weight due to emaciation and for body-builders who need high-protein foods to help build muscle. Coconut provides quick and lasting boosts of energy. It also benefits the outward appearance of the body in a number of ways, including softening skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, controlling dandruff, and keeping the scalp and hair healthy.

Healing Properties

Coconut meat contains lauric acid, which helps fight bacteria from intestinal parasites and wards off countless infections ranging from HIV to the common cold. Coconut water helps the kidney and bladder maintain proper functioning. Eating coconut helps fight gas, constipation, ulcers, and other digestive and stomach ailments. Coconut also supports thyroid function and can help prevent goiter (an enlarged thyroid) because it naturally contains iodine. Coconut has even been shown to protect the body from cancer and osteoporosis, dissolve kidney stones, reduce epileptic seizures, and reduce symptoms associated with pancreatic disorders.

Drawbacks

Coconut contains a high amount of saturated fat, which tends to be less healthy than other types of fat. However, over 50 percent of the fatty acids in coconut come from lauric acid, which is antiviral and antibacterial and is extremely beneficial in fighting off infection. For that reason, coconut is generally considered healthy in its natural form, but has serious drawbacks when it is processed in unnatural ways. For example, hydrogenated coconut oil is altered in a way that removes the lauric acid and has been proven to clog arteries and decrease heart health.


COCONUT WATER NUTRITIONAL FACTS

Coconut water is the juice in the interior or endosperm of young coconut. The water is one of the nature’s most refreshing drinks consumed worldwide for its nutritious and health benefiting properties.
Its juicy water is usually obtained by opening a tender, green, healthy, and undamaged coconut. The liquid is clear, sweet, and sterile and composed of unique chemicals such as sugars, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, enzymes, amino acids, cytokine, and phyto-hormones. In general, young and slightly immature nuts harvested when they are about 5-7 months of age for drinking purpose.
Botanically, coconut plant belongs to the Arecaceae family of palm trees and has scientific name: Cocos nucifera.
Each nut may contain about 200 to 1000 ml of water depending on cultivar type and size. Any nuts younger than 5 months age tend to be bitter in taste and devoid of nutrients. Whereas, older nuts have less water and their endosperm becomes thicker as white edible meat (kernel). Coconut milk obtained from the meat is therefore should not be confused with coconut water
Coconut palm flourishes well along the costal tropical environments. A coconut tree may yield several hundred tender nuts each season. Several hundred species of coconut palm grown all over the tropics, so taste and flavor of water thus vary according to saline content, distance from sea shore, mainland etc.

Health benefits of coconut water

Coconut water is a very refreshing drink to beat tropical summer thirst. The juice is packed with simple sugar, electrolytes, and minerals to replenish hydration levels in the body.
Research studies suggest that cytokinins (e.g., kinetin and trans-zeatin) in coconut water showed significant anti-ageing, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-thrombotic effects.
Coconut water has been generally offered to patients with diarrhea in many tropic regions to replace fluid loss from the gastrointestinal tract and reduce the need for intravenous therapy. The osmolarity of tender coconut water is slightly greater than that of WHO recommended ORS (Oral Rehydration Therapy) osmolarity. Presence of other biological constituents like amino acids, enzymes, minerals, and fatty acids may account for this higher osmolarity. However, unlike WHO-ORS, its water is very low in sodium and chlorides, but rich in sugars and amino acids. This well-balanced fluid composition with much needed calories would be an ideal drink than any other brand of soft drink beverages in dehydration conditions.
Coconut water is composed of many naturally occurring bioactive enzymes such as acid phosphatase, catalase, dehydrogenase, diastase, peroxidase, RNA polymerases etc. Altogether, these enzymes aid in digestion and metabolism.
Despite very light consistency, its water has much better composition of minerals like calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, and zinc than some of fruits like oranges. (Compare mineral composition of oranges).
Its water is also a very good source of B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pyridoxine, and folates. These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish.
Coconut water contains a very good amount of electrolyte potassium. 100 ml of water has 250 mg of potassium and 105 mg of sodium. Together, these electrolytes help replenish electrolytes deficiency in the body due to diarrhea (loose stools).
In addition, fresh coconut water has small amount of vitamin-C (ascorbic acid); provides about 2.4 mcg or 4% of RDA. Vitamin C is a water-soluble ant-oxidant.


SEE THE TABLE BELOW FOR IN DEPTH ANALYSIS OF NUTRIENTS:

Coconut water (Cocus nucifera), Fresh,
Nutrition Value per 100 g
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Principle
Nutrient Value
Percentage of RDA
Energy
19 Kcal
1%
Carbohydrates
3.71 g
3%
Protein
0.72 g
1.5%
Total Fat
0.20 g
1%
Cholesterol
0 mg
0%
Dietary Fiber
1.1 g
3%
Vitamins


Folates
3 µg
0.75%
Niacin
0.080 mg
0.5%
Pantothenic acid
0.043 mg
<1%
Pyridoxine
0.032 mg
2.5%
Riboflavin
0.057 mg
4%
Thiamin
0.030 mg
2.5%
Vitamin C
2.4 mg
4%
Vitamin A
0 IU
0%
Vitamin E
0 mg
0%
Vitamin K
0 mcg
0%
Electrolytes


Sodium
105 mg
7%
Potassium
250 mg
5%
Minerals


Calcium
24 mg
2.4%
Copper
40 mcg
4.5%
Iron
0.29 mg
3.5%
Magnesium
25 mg
6%
Manganese
0.142 mg
%
Zinc
0.10 mg
1%
Phyto-nutrients


Auxin (Gibberlin)
Present
--
Carotene, beta
0 µg
--
Cytokines
Present
--
Lutein-zeaxanthin
0 µg
--
Leucoanthocyanin
Present
--

SELECTION AND STORAGE

tender coconuts ready for drink

Fresh tender coconuts are readily available in the markets in tropical countries all around the year. However, in the semitropical and cold regions they have to be imported. These days, however, shelled tender coconuts are made available in USA and Canada imported from Thailand and Malaysia.
In the stores canned coconut water available, however, they have some added preservative and not up to the mark in vitamins and enzyme levels.
Tender nuts can be stored at room temperature for about 5-10 days. Once opened the water should be used soon otherwise it will turn sour in taste and off flavored. Instead, store in refrigerator if not used immediately.

Preparation and serving tips

coconut drink
coconut water juice
Refreshing coconut drink.
Iced coconut juice with tender coconut meat topping.
Photo courtesy: Andrew currie.
Tender coconuts chiseled at bottom end using long sickle and the tip of the shell is cut open. The water is then sipped using straw. Otherwise, the whole nut is tilted upside down to transfer its water in to wide mouthed bottle or bowl. 
·         Drink coconut water without any additions.
·         Iced coconut water can be a refreshing drink.
·         Fresh water can be made special drink adding lemon slices, mint leaves, orange zest etc.
·         Gel like meat (kernel) in the young tender coconuts is very sweet and delicious.

Safety profile

Coconut water is a universally appealing drink. There are no known reactions of any sort notified so far using it. It is not only cherished in healthy but is considered safe in pregnancy, infants as well as in diseased conditions as well.

Note:

The discussion in this page is solely dedicated to water or solution of young coconuts and not about coconut milk, meat, coconut oil or any products of coconut tree.

COCONUT OIL HEALTH BENEFITS
Coconut oil health benefits have been known for hundreds of years in traditional cultures in tropical regions of the world. Many cultures have used coconuts and coconut oil not only as food, but also as a source of health and healing.
The centuries-old use of this wonder food, its scientifically proven health benefits, and the absence of negative side effects contrast with most modern drugs and industrialized foods. You can be sure of the safety of coconut as well as coconut oil's health benefits because traditional peoples across the globe have used them safely for centuries with excellent results.
Most native people living in tropical climates had beautiful hair, soft, smooth skin, and an amazing lack of the health challenges that face man today--until they adopted much of the typical modern processed food diet. The good news is you don't have to live in the tropics to enjoy and take advantage of coconut oil's health benefits.
In this section, we'll provide you with information regarding coconut oil health benefits from scientific research as well as anecdotal evidence.
People are losing weight by adding virgin coconut oil to their diets.
Coconut oil increases the body's metabolism and therefore causes your body to burn more energy (fat) and gives you more energy to do the things you want to do!
Coconut oil is the best food source of lauric acid, second only to mother's milk! Lauric acid has many wonderful properties, among them anti-bacterial and anti-viral functions. Fats in coconut oil also enhance immune system function and help balance and normalize body lipids. Coconut oil contains health-building medium chain fatty acids.
We'll leave the rest of the benefits for the articles you see mentioned below.

Coconut Oil Strategies

The first step to fully reap coconut oil health benefits in your life and health is to eliminate all modern vegetable oils from your diet and replace them with virgin coconut oil. Making this change is well worth the effort, and the coconut oil health benefits you reap far outweigh any difficulties and challenges you might encounter in making this change.
Making this simple change relieves your body of the stress and damage provoked by the polyunsaturated acids found in the vegetable oils and the toxins also found in these oils because of their rancidity and the traces of solvents from processing.
There is ample evidence in the scientific literature supporting the use of coconut oil. Health benefits of the saturated fatty acids found in coconut oil are well documented. Though some of the articles there are long and somewhat complex, they are an excellent source of sound scientific facts and explanations regarding fats, oils, and their effects on our health.

Coconut Oil Benefits

There are so many coconut oil health benefits that some people think we are exaggerating when we talk about them. The truth is it's not an exaggeration. If anything, we are understating the benefits.
Studies of traditional cultures where coconut and virgin coconut oil were used as staples in the diet show great heart health, virtually no diabetes, and almost no cancer. What a wonderful world it would be if everyone could live like that!
Of course, there are other reasons we have such high levels of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, but it's worth noting that consuming virgin coconut oil isn't a cause of any of these modern plagues, and has shown positive results when used in combination with other natural means to better man's overall health.

Weight Loss

Many people today find it difficult to understand how consuming fats daily can help you lose weight. This seems contrary to so much of what we read and hear in the news and on TV. But that is because the food industry and the oil industry have been responsible for most of the information that has been fed to the world through the media on this subject. They even influence what your doctor tells you.
Whole industries in third world countries were ruined while the US vegetable oil industry was promoted, and all this was done under the pretext of promoting "a heart-healthy diet." Truth be told, it's just not that way.
Coconut oil and other fats help control cravings, such as for sweets, sugar, and carbohydrates. The essential fatty acids are necessary for good health. They are not necessary evils, either. They are good for us and we should not only eat them, but ideally, we should enjoy eating them.

Coconut Oil and Chocolate

What in the world do chocolate and coconut oil have to do with each other?
In our search for a healthy chocolate bar, we discovered a way to make our own healthy chocolate, using coconut oil as one of the main ingredients. What we make is healthier, more natural, and cheaper that any kind of healthy chocolate we could buy.

Coconut milk is extracted by grating mature coconuts and squeezing them by using cheesecloth or both bare hands. This milky white liquid is called santam in Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia, and gata in Philippines. It is used in several food recipes like sauces, delicious curries and desserts. Apart from making foods tastier and creamier, coconut milk is also a healthy addition to various food preparations.
http://www.drgranny.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Benefits-of-Coconut-Milk.jpg

Nutritional Values of Coconut Milk:

Following are the nutritional values present in 100 grams of fresh coconut milk:
  • Calories – 230
  • Proteins – 2.3g
  • Fat – 23.8g
  • Carbohydrates – 5.5g
  • Dietary fiber – 2.3g
  • Sugar – 3.35g
  • Vitamin C – 2.8 mg
  • Vitamin E – 0.15 mg
  • Vitamin B1 – 0.026 mg
  • Vitamin B6 – 0.033 mg
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) – 0.183 mg
  • Folate – 16 mcg
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin) – 0.76 mg
  • Iron – 1.64 mg
  • Selenium – 6.2 mcg
  • Sodium – 15 mg
  • Calcium – 16 mg
  • Magnesium – 37 mg
  • Phosphorus – 100 mg
  • Potassium – 260 mg

Benefits of Coconut Milk:

Following are some of the health benefits of coconut milk:

1.   Helps to maintain blood sugar places:

Glucose intolerance may cause manganese deficiency in your body. Coconut milk is a rich source of manganese. Whole grains, legumes and nuts are some other excellent sources of manganese.

2.   Keeps skin and blood vessels flexible and elastic:

Copper is a very important mineral for most of the bodily functions. Copper and vitamin C help to maintain the flexibility and elasticity of the skin and blood vessels.

3.   Aids in building strong bones:

Coconut milk is not rich in calcium, but it is rich in phosphorus. Phosphorus is an essential nutrient that the body needs for strengthening bones. It is must to take phosphorus with calcium particularly to prevent bone loss because it supplies phosphate to the body.

4.   Helps to prevent anemia:

Lack of iron is the most common nutrient deficiency among the people throughout the world. Iron deficiency in body does not allow the body to develop enough hemoglobin for keeping sufficient oxygen levels in red blood cells, resulting in anemia. Each cup of coconut milk supplies the body with nearly a quarter of daily value of iron.

5.   Relaxes muscles and nerves:

Whenever you feel muscle cramps or muscle soreness, have some food along with coconut milk. It is rich in magnesium and can help you in relieving the problem. One of the functions of magnesium is it acts as a gate block in many nerve cells. If magnesium is not present in body, nerve cells become very active because of calcium that activates nerves. Excess contraction of muscles is caused by over-active nerve cells.

6.   Helps in Controlling Weight:

This can be good news for people who are trying to reduce weight. Coconut milk makes you feel full very quickly because of high concentrations of dietary fiber.

7.   Decreases the risk of joint inflammation:

Selenium is an important antioxidant. It controls the free radicals and thereby helps in relieving the symptoms of arthritis. It is observed that people with low levels of selenium may suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.

8.   Helps in lowering high blood pressure:

People who are concerned about their blood pressure will not face any problem consuming foods containing potassium. Potassium helps in lowering blood pressure levels in the body.

9.   Helps in maintaining healthy immune system:

Coconut milk helps in warding off colds and coughs by keeping the immune system healthy. It supplies vitamin C to the body which boosts the immune system.

10.               Promotes the health of prostate gland:

Zinc plays a vital role in promoting the health of prostate gland. A preliminary study showed that it slows down the activities of cancer cells.
I hope the above mentioned information helps you in understanding the relation between health and coconut milk. It can also be consumed by people with cow’s milk allergy. It is free from gluten and soy. Hence people who are allergic to these substances can also use coconut milk.

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INYANG. E

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