Coconut (Cocos nucifera) belongs to the Palm family (Arecaceae) and is classed as a fruit. This nourishing fruit from the coconut palm comes in a number of derivatives including coconut cream, oil, milk and water. Coconut is one of the few foods that can be classified as a “superfood”, which is defined as a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being. Coconuts are used widely across the world and has many amazing benefits. Coconuts are highly nutritious and rich in fibre, vitamins C, B vitamins and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium¹.
Here I list 5 Amazing benefits:
- Having Caribbean roots, I am quite used to coconut being used in dishes. Its popularity stems from the sheer versatility of coconut and the rich flavour it adds to dishes.
- Coconut can be used as a butter, oil, milk or cream in dishes. For instance, coconut milk is a lactose free milk alternative and can be used in curries.
- Coconut water can be used for rehydration, even after exercise as it has a similar electrolyte balance to isotonic drinks¹.
- Immune enhancing
- Good for skin
- It can be used as a moisturizer as it hydrates the skin and increases the skin lipid levels³.
- Found to help in certain skin conditions such as Xerosis (condition that causes dry and itchy skin) ³.
- Good for hair
- Coconut oil penetrates the hair shaft and this reduces protein loss. Due to this coconut oil can reduce hair damage⁴. I personally have used unrefined coconut oil for my hair and I would say it definitely has helped my hair from breakage.
- Prevents hygral fatigue-Coconut oil has been identified as an oil that can prevent hygral fatigue⁵. Hygral fatigue is the weakening of hair caused by the strands swelling during the uptake of water and contracting when the water is lost. If the elasticity of your hair strands are reduced, then that may be a sign of hygral fatigue. People that have more of a vulnerability to hygral fatigue are those who have a high porosity; the hair strands easily absorb and lose water and moisture quickly.
- By applying coconut oil to the hair (wet or dry) about 30 minutes before washing your hair can reduce hygral fatigue.
- Deep conditioning treatment-Coconut oil can be used as a deep conditioning treatment. If you are using it to deep condition your hair, after washing, you can apply the coconut oil onto the hair and leave it on for about 15 minutes or more if you feel like it and then rinse.
- Coconut oil can also be applied to dry ends.
- For best results, use unrefined/extra virgin coconut oil.
- Good for nails
- Coconut oil can also be used as a treatment to moisturize and strengthen nails & cuticles⁶.
- How to: All you need to do is rub a small amount of coconut oil onto your nails and cuticles every night.
As you can see, coconut has amazing benefits, but just like other foods, it is important that it is consumed in moderation, especially due to coconut’s saturated fat content.