At every street market in Brazil, you will find a stand overflowing with bright green coconuts. Brazilians love their naturally sweet liquid, and use their crunchy pulp in a number of desserts. Whether in its oil, water, milk, pulp, flour, or sugar, we can’t get enough of coconuts. You can eat, drink, or use coco extract as a skin lotion or hair cream. Brazilians have a number of amazing dishes with coconuts, the most popular of which is the cocada. The traditional dessert is easy to make, just follow our recipe guide here.
But beyond its delicious taste, the coconut also carries a number of little-known health benefits. It’s a great source of calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and more. Here’s our list of eight healthy reasons to eat this tropical fruit so dear to Brazil.
1. Increase your energy & burn more fat
Coconut oil is one of the richest sources of saturated fats on the earth. While fatty oil may not seem like a health benefit, hear us out. 90 percent of its fat content is saturated, but not like the unhealthy saturated fats found in cheese or meat. In fact, coconut oil’s saturated fats contain Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs), which metabolize differently than the long chain fats. The MCTs head straight for our digestive tract, where they provide a quick source of energy.
Thus, with all that energy and healthy fat, coconut oil is known to help people actually burn more fat in the long run by eating less and exercising more.
But be careful to consume only unfiltered, unprocessed coconut oil. Coconut oil comes from compressing the harder flesh of a more mature fruit. These good fats also come in coconut water, milk, and pulp.
2. Natural medicinal benefits
Once in our system, the MCTs from coconuts transform into ketones, which can have therapeutic effects on the brain, helping to treat diseases like Alzheimer’s and seizures. Coconuts also improve insulin secretion and other symptoms related to diabetes. Furthermore, coconuts naturally restore and support thyroid functioning.
3. Lower your cholesterol
Drinking that daily glass of coconut water or switching your cooking oils out with coconut oil regulate your blood pressure. The good saturated fats can lower your bad cholesterol and boost your good cholesterol, which protects your body from strokes, heart attacks, and hypertension.
4. Improve your digestion
Remember the MCTs? Well they also help to detoxify your digestive tract, increasing the absorption of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
5. Moisturize your skin and hair
Rub coconut oil in to your skin and hair for a natural daily moisturizer. In addition to keeping everything shiny and beautiful, coconut oil smells amazing! Many pregnant women also rub coconut oil on their growing bellies to help avoid stretch marks. Finally, coconut oil provides natural protection from the sun without that nasty sunscreen smell.
Who doesn’t love a nice coconut oil massage? Well, turns out just drinking coconut water can also keep our stress levels down. The anti-oxidants in coconuts protect our skin from stress oxidants, keeping us calm and feeling rejuvenated.
7. Supports a healthy immune system
Coconut products are naturally anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-parasitical, and anti-fungal.
8. Hydrate yourself on a hot day
Coconut water replaces the necessary mineral salts to properly hydrate your body. So forget the Gatorade and pop a straw into a delicious coconut!