Superfood Series: Coconuts
Coconuts have a very unique nutrient profile that makes them much more useful that simply a topping on desserts. They have a very high concentration of electrolytes, healthy fats, and fiber, making them a great all-around addition to any diet.
Lately there has been an incredible surge in popularity for coconut water. The liquid inside the coconut, commonly known as coconut water, is full of electrolytes (i.e. potassium, sodium, and magnesium) and has about 6 grams of sugar per cup. As such, coconut water is great for hydrating and refueling our bodies, especially during exercise. In fact, recent studies have shown that pure coconut water is equally as effective at post-workout rehydration as commercial sports drinks like Gatorade. Also, coconut water has a low Glycemic Index, meaning it will not cause a rapid spike in blood sugar like many other sugary sports drinks cause.
While coconut water is good for you, not all types are created equal. The recent surge in commercial popularity for coconut water has created an over abundance of options on the market. 100 Percent Pure Coconut Water is the best choice for hydration. Many others are full of added sugars, flavorings, chemicals, and calories. Also, while coconut water is good for you it should be consumed in moderation – just like any other sports drink.
While the liquid part of the coconut may get the most commercial attention lately, the solid white “meat” of a coconut is extremely beneficial as well. Coconuts have a high amount of Lauric Acid, a form of saturated fat. Usually, saturated fat is considered the “bad fat.” However, Lauric Acid is actually processed by our bodies more similarly to carbohydrates and has been shown to boost metabolism and lower cholesterol. As a result, coconut oil has seen a recent surge in popularity as we begin to realize its full potential.
Coconut Oil is great for cooking. It has a Smoke Point of ~350 Degress Farenheit, similar to Canola Oil and higher than Olive Oil. Smoke Point refers to the temperature at which cooking oils lose their stabilty and many of their health benefits. Higher Smoke Points mean an oil can be used to cook at higher temperatures while still retaining their healthy properties.
Coconut Oil can also be blended into smoothies or whipped into desert toppings. As with any oil, it is highly caloric and should be consumed in moderation.