The Wonders of the Humble Coconut
Growing up, I hated coconut. I don’t remember if I had a problem with the flavor, but I absolutely hated the texture. As an adult, and someone who’s pretty conscious of health matters, I’ve come to fall in love with this tropical treat. I still avoid anything with the texture of dried coconut flakes, so it’s a good thing there are so many other forms to choose from. Keep in mind that a coconut is not an actual nut, so those with nut allergies have nothing to worry about here.
Coconut water is my go-to choice for replacing electrolytes after a good workout. This beverage has a texture like water, so it isn’t thick or sticky, though it is lightly sweet. Coconut water is full of the vitamins and minerals I need to recover, or just hydrate on a hot day. I’ve used it as a base for my protein shakes too.
If you’re avoiding dairy (which many of us should do), coconut cream is a great substitute. It can be used in coffee as a creamer replacement, and you can use it to make your own ice cream. It has only a hint of coconut flavor, so it can be easily covered up if you need to.
I’m convinced coconut oil is a magical substance, because it has so many uses and benefits. It has an excellent fatty acid profile, and is high in MCTs, medium chain triglycerides that help to boost our metabolism. It helps to smooth and soften skin when used cosmetically. It’s stable at high temperatures, which make it ideal as a cooking fat. It’s also mildly antibacterial and antiviral, and is said to decrease the chances of many diseases. You can even use it as massage oil!
Coconut is being added to more and more products, but the best way to use it is to get each whole ingredient on its own, so you know what you’re getting is high quality. Look for products that have the fewest other ingredients, and get organic and sustainably farmed when you can.