8 Reasons to Add Coconut to Your Diet

By Kathryn Shakespear
Kathryn Shakespear
Kathryn Shakespear
August 22, 2013 Updated: August 23, 2013

The majestic, easy-to-grow, multi-talented coconut—including the fruit’s water and flesh—has abundant health and beauty benefits. It’s no wonder in the tropics they call it the “Tree of Life.” Here are eight great benefits of coconut. To learn how to incorporate more coconut in your life see: 5 Ways to Add Healthful Coconut to Your Life

Interesting side note: Botanically, the coconut is considered a fibrous one-seeded “drupe.” A drupe is a fruit with a hard stony cover enclosing a seed, like a peach or olive. If that’s hard to picture, it’s because when we buy whole coconuts in the store, the outer fibrous layer has been removed.

1. Hydration

You have probably noticed coconut water springing up everywhere on supermarket shelves. Well that’s because advertisers made it hip, but we also cottoned on to the benefits of making it a regular part of our diets. Coconut water is more hydrating than regular water. It’s isotonic, so it contains the same amount of electrolytes as our blood. So when you sweat during exercise, it replaces what you lose, rehydrating you more quickly.

Interesting side note: coconut water was used as an intravenous fluid to replace blood when nothing else was available during WWII and is still used in remote equatorial regions when nothing else is available.

2.Vitamins & Minerals

Fresh Coconut water is full of vitamins and minerals. It has more potassium than bananas, around 300 mg per coconut, so it’s good for healthy muscle function. It also contains calcium, zinc, phosphorous, magnesium, vitamins B1, 2, 3, 5, 6, folate, vitamin C, and quite a bit more. Remember these vitamins are naturally occurring, they aren’t whizzed up in a laboratory then added to your sports drink.

3. Antioxidants

Antioxidants in coconut water help flush out toxins and maintain your body’s PH balance, which should be between 6.0 and 7.5. You can buy PH test strips if you want to know your body’s PH level. When our PH level becomes more acidic (a lower number) it weakens our bodies systems, which makes an ideal environment for disease to develop. Our body is made up of 70 percent water, so it makes sense to drink natures water to help keep up with the demands of today’s world.

4. Aids Weight Loss

Blending coconut water and coconut flesh in a smoothie not only tastes amazing, (once you master the art of opening coconuts), but it keeps you full for longer. It helps increase your metabolism, which means you burn fat faster. Some also report that their sugar cravings decrease once they start consuming coconut oil.
Here’s a quick smoothie recipe:

1 Baby Thai Coconut, water and flesh
2 Ripe Bananas
1 Ripe Mango
Add all ingredients to a blender, blend until smooth. Yum!


5. Keeps Ya Regular

Some might think this is not something to be excited about, but intestinal health is integral to our overall health, and we need to keep things moving along! Coconuts contain plenty of dietary fibre, which helps speed up digestion and keep you regular. Coconuts are also found to be natural antihistamine, anti-viral, anti-microbial, and contain lauric acid (in breast milk too), which kills fungi, bacteria, and intestinal yeast.

6. Energy Booster

Even though coconut oil contains saturated fat, it is quickly absorbed into the liver and converted directly to energy. It helps to regulate blood sugar, so you can go longer before needing to eat. Athletes use coconut to stay hydrated and improve their endurance during performance. It also helps promotes healthy thyroid function which aids the symptoms of chronic fatigue.

7. Beauty Products Galore

This is where coconut oil comes in. Virgin, cold pressed, organic coconut oil can be used as a facial moisturizer, lip balm, body moisturizer (provides light sun protection), and you can use it in your hair for extra shine. It can also be used as massage oil and in pregnancy to help prevent stretch marks. The skin is the largest organ and absorbs everything you put onto it, so it makes sense that what you put on your skin be edible. Some also use it as a light mouthwash, and brush their teeth with it because it fights bacteria that cause tooth decay.

8. A Healthy Oil Alternative

Coconut oil is a diverse oil which can be used as an alternative to butter in baking, used in sweet desserts, and used for light frying. It has a high smoke point (350°F, 177°C) and it does not degrade once heat is added to it. Unlike other oils, it doesn’t produce free radicals—cells that kill working cells just by interacting with them. It also has a long shelf life and doesn’t develop rancidity when exposed to light, like other oils. Aside from the oil, you can also blend the flesh and water into milk and add to Asian cooking.

Kathryn Shakespear
Kathryn Shakespear