I’m not sure how General Mills would feel about me doctoring up one of their best advertising campaigns, but I’m not really worried what those sugar peddlers think! Can you imagine if there were advertising campaigns with delightful cartoon characters pushing wonderful things like kale and coconut water? Creating veggie addicts at the ripe ages of 2-5 rather than sugar addicts? Oh what a wonderful world!!
Anyway, I digress. I am coocoo for coconuts!! In all it’s beautiful shapes and forms, but specifically two forms; water and oil. Coconut water is quite literally, Mother Nature’s energy drink. I always use it in my smoothies for a little added energy. Coconut water contains more potassium than most sports and energy drinks. It has less sodium, and it contains natural sugars where sports and energy drinks contain high amounts of altered sugars. Why bother with sugary drinks like Gatorade, Vitamin Water or Sobe when you can enjoy natural electrolytes from the beautiful coconut?
Who knew a hard shelled hairy fruit could be power packed with so much amazingness!!
For those of you that only recognize the coconut that comes in a bag in shredded form, here’s a quick little coconut primer. Coconuts grow in the tropics and are a member of the palm family. The scientific name for coconut is cocos nucifera (nucifera meaning “nut bearing”). Early Spanish explorers called it coco, which means “Monkey Face” because they three eyes on the hair nut resembles the face of a monkey.
Coconut is a nutritious source of meat, juice, milk and oil that has fed and nourished island and tropical populations around the world for generations.
The coconut is super nutritious. It’s rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. It is often classified as a “functional” food because it provides many health benefits beyond its nutritional content.
Coconut oil is exactly what makes coconut a functional food. Coconut oil has been used in traditional medicine in Asian and Pacific populations for years. Pacific Islanders consider it to be the cure for all illness. Recently, modern medical science has begun to “validate” coconuts amazing healing powers. I used the quotations around validate because I find it amusing (frustrating and annoying) that modern science needs to play catch up with traditional medicine – “validating” traditional herbs and whole foods cures that have been in use for thousands of years- but that’s a separate soap box in its entirety!
Anyway, back to the wonderful coconut!
Coconut oil is a saturated fat, liquid when warm and semi-solid/congealed when cooled. Now, before you start judging our little coconut with a big fat “bad” for its saturated fat content, remember that not all saturated fats are created equal! The structural make up of coconut oil is unique. While it has the highest source of saturated fat at 92%, it also contains 62% of medium chain triglycerides. Half of these triglycerides are made up of lauric acid, the most important essential acid in building and maintaining our immune system. Other than coconut oil, the only other source of lauric acid in such high concentration is breast milk! Check out all ways coconut oil can benefit your health!
I have had a few friends recommend oil pulling with coconut oil. Oil pulling is a traditional Ayurvedic remedy where you swish with oil to remove toxins from the body. Oil pulling is said to benefit many chronic diseases and illnesses such as inflammation, arthritis, allergies, digestive issues including IBS and constipation, and even PMS! After all of this coconut oil research I think I am going to give it a try. I’ll let you know how it goes!