So, it seems like every year there is a new super food. I’m sure you’ve all seen the posts on coconut oil, and how it seems to be a cure all. From fixing split ends, moisturizing skin, aiding in fat loss… So what about coconut itself? Busy health enthusiasts everywhere are constantly on the hunt for healthy on the go snacks. Personally, all health reasons aside just love coconut, coconut milk…coconut water…coconut chips…coconut in chocolate. So is there some validity to ease my snack guilt?
While fresh coconut meat is nutritionally superior, being fresh and contains higher levels of water which we can all use more off, prepackaged dried flaked coconut or dried shredded coconut is far more continent on the go. Unsweetened dried shredded coconut or coconut flakes can improve insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose. This is because the healthy fat in coconut slowsdown any rise in blood sugar and helps to reduce hypoglycemic cravings. Fat of course, not being all equal, is another component of coconut. It providing healthy short chain and medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) that are essential to good health. Close to 98% of all fatty acids consumed are composed of long-chain fatty acids (LCFA), which are very different from MCFA that have no negative effect on cholesterol ratios. Unlike other fats, the unique properties of coconut also contain a large amount of lauric acid, which is the predominant fatty acid found in mother’s milk.
Another huge component lacking in the North American diet, and of particular importance to any dieter is fibre. As previously discussed, fibre will help reduce bloat, but is also important for drawing out water and keeps the waist tight!! . Coconut supplies an impressive 61% dietary fibre! Foods contain two types of carbohydrates – digestible and non-digestible. Digestible carbohydrates (soluble fibre) consists of starch and sugar and promote calories. Non-digestible carbohydrates (insoluble fibre) contains NO calories. Since the body cannot digest the dietary finer in coconut, no calories are derived from it and it has no effect on blood sugar. Which in turn leads me to touch lastly on the related issue of digestion.
It’s important to be absorbing the nutrients you consume for one, but also to ensure things are moving fluidly through the digestive track. Coconut can help by supporting absorption of other nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids while also providing beneficial dietary fibre all at once. Lastly, when you’re hungry, depleted, tired, or just need to “treat” yourself, coconutprovides a readily available source of energy. Coconut is utilized by the body to actually produce energy, rather than to store it as body fat. It supports improved endurance during physical and athletic performance. As well, it promotes healthy thyroid function and helps to relieve the symptoms of chronic fatigue! So, as always, it depends on what stage in your dieting you may be, what what may be “coach approved”, but coconut can be a great addition to any health conscious athlete, competitor, or just the average busy body looking to I,prove their health! I’m currently awaiting a package of new coconut “chip” flavours to try this weekend post show!!