Asian Superfoods: Coconut
One of the best aspects of living in Asia is the availability of fresh coconuts. This delicious drink is fantastic for improving hydration and preventing disease. Coconut water is not the solution to all your problems but it does convey some excellent therapeutic benefits. Research shows coconut water supports hydration, helps fight the aging process, can lower cholesterol (to the same degree as prescription drugs), improves insulin sensitivity, and lowers blood pressure.
However, coconuts have suffered from an unjust reputation at times due to it’s fat content… and what’s more it’s saturated fat!! Most people think that if anything contains saturated fat it’s bad. The truth is that we cannot function without saturated fat; it makes up at least 50% of our cell membrane structure. The right kind of fat helps transport vital vitamins around the body and actually helps burn stored body fat.
Here are some reasons why you should be reaching for a coconut or natural coconut products:
- Increase Metabolism: Coconut oil boosts your metabolism and in turn promotes weight loss. Coconut oil may triple your calorie burn because it contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). American Journal of Clinical Nutrition have published several studies that explain how MCT’s burn three times more calories after a meal than long-chain triglycerides (LCT). MCT’s are more easily absorbed and converted to energy quickly helping to create an effective fat burning metabolism
- Cooking: Coconut oil is one of the best cooking oils without any doubt. It has a higher smoke point than olive oil and this means you can cook with it at higher temperatures. It is harder for coconut oil to go rancid, rancid oils cause free radical damage in the body which is a leading cause of cancer and aging.
- Bug Killer: Coconut contains antiviral and antimicrobial substances. They have fat called lauric acid that gets formed into monolaurin, which is a bug killer. A fantastic feature when living in a country like Cambodia
- Improve health: Coconuts are highly nutritious and rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals. Furthermore, coconut oil helps your body absorb nutrients more effectively, such as Vitamin E
- Fight the aging process: Coconuts contain a wealth of micronutrients such as inorganic ions and vitamins that enhance the natural antioxidant system of the body. The high levels of antioxidants may be its greatest benefit.
- Hydration: Coconut water is famous for containing the electrolytes potassium and sodium, which are important for keeping the body properly hydrated
- Fight inflammation: Inflammation is now identified, as being one of the major factors relating to illness. Coconut water provides a good source of vitamin C, magnesium, calcium, B vitamins, arginine, alanine, lysine, glutamic acid, and other micronutrients and enzymes that are anti-inflammatory
Body Expert Systems Health Tip: Coconut water is a great alternative to diary. Why not try using coconut water on your cereal in the morning and when making vegetable shakes.
The next time you see a coconut cart take the time to invest a few thousand Dong on your health.
Photography: SEBASTIEN GABRIEL
Writer: PHILL KELLY
Editor: CHRIS REED