Coconut is a fruit of the coconut tree that belongs to the genus Cocos nucifera palm and is widely available all over the world in hundreds of varieties. Coconut provides several health and beauty benefits due to the abundance of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, dietary fibers, and lauric acid, etc.
Health Benefits of Coconut
(1) Reduces The Risk Of Diabetes
Coconut is good for people with diabetes, and for those who are at the risk of developing diabetes.
Coconut has a low glycemic index of 35 which means it slows down the rate at which sugar is released into the bloodstream, prevents a sudden spike in the blood sugar level, and thus aids in managing diabetes.
The dietary fibers in the coconut (around 61%) slow down the rate at which sugar is absorbed by the bloodstream, and thus regulates blood sugar level.
Dietary fibers in coconut also relieve pancreatic stress, improves enzyme systems, and thus reduces the risk of developing diabetes.
(2) Improves Insulin Secretion
Dietary fibers also provide satiety to our stomach and minimize cravings for sweet food items ( which can hurt the blood sugar level), and also improves the secretion of insulin, and ensures proper utilization of blood glucose.
(3) Boosts Immune System
Our immune system is a complex defense mechanism that aids in the prevention and treatment of microbial infections, injuries, and diseases.
Vitamin C and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols in the coconut protect our immune cells aka white blood cells from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals, and thus strengthens our immune system.
When our immune system is stronger, our risk of getting infected by cough, cold, fever, and flu, etc diminishes automatically.
Other nutrients like zinc, iron, and magnesium, etc in the coconut also play a significant role in strengthening immunity.
Antioxidants also enhance the production of white blood cells which is an added advantage for our immune health.
(4) Provides Relief From Abdominal Fats
Moderate consumption of coconut aids in getting rid of the abdominal fat, the stubborn fat that gets deposited around the abdomen and is a leading cause of health problems like heart diseases, hypertension, diabetes, stress, obesity, respiratory problems like asthma, etc.
Eating coconut can significantly reduce the BMI and also improve the waist circumference of the body.
(5) Energy Booster
Coconut is a natural energy booster that provides us quick energy for performing various day-to-day activities. It aids in burning stubborn fats around the abdominal region and provides an additional boost of energy that we may need.
The triglycerides present in coconut oil increase the rate at which our body burns calories and thus helps with weight loss.
Dietary fibers in the coconut help control overeating which means those who consume coconut regularly can go without eating food for several hours with no effect of hypoglycemia.
Coconut improves thyroid function and also minimizes the symptoms of chronic fatigue.
(6) Promotes Weight Loss
Moderate consumption of coconut is beneficial for obese people who would like to get rid of some extra pounds.
Dietary fibers in the coconut provide fullness to our stomach, minimizes the urge to eat again and again, and thus controls overeating which is a major cause of obesity.
The triglycerides in the coconut increase the rate at which our body burns calories, and thus aids in getting rid of stubborn abdominal fat.
However, even with this weight-loss benefit, it is important to limit the intake of coconut as their higher consumption may lead to weight gain because of their high caloric value. Eating 100 grams of coconut provides around 354 calories of energy.
(7) Helps In Treating Epilepsy
The high fat and low carbohydrate content of the coconut makes it a suitable food item to be a part of the ketogenic diet. It is the diet that aids in increasing the concentration of ketones in the blood.
The ketogenic diet is very beneficial for children with epilepsy as it reduces the seizure rate in epileptic children at a dramatic rate.
(8) Reduces The Risk Of Cancers
Vitamin C and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols etc in the coconut protects our cells and tissues from the oxidative stress caused by the free radicals, and thus reduce the risk of various cancers like colon cancer, breast cancer, abdominal cancer, intestinal cancer, etc.
Free radicals are unstabilized ions that get stabilized by stealing electrons from neighboring molecules, but while doing so, it causes oxidative damage to them.
(9) Keep Us Hydrated
Water plays an important role in our body as it aids in various biological functions. Our body is made up of 70 percent water, and for some vital organs like lungs and kidneys, this level is above 80 percent.
Lack of water in the body can lead to dehydration and other health complications like low blood pressure, rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, fever, and sunken eye, etc.
When it comes to hydration, coconut water is better than plain water as it not only keeps us hydrated, but also provides essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals, and aids in maintaining the electrolyte balance of the body.
(10) Is More Nutritious And Healthier Than Whole Milk
Drinking coconut water not only keeps us hydrated but also aids in maintaining our electrolyte balance as it provides essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals to our body.
The lauric acid present in coconut water makes it even more nutritious and healthier than whole milk.
Drinking coconut water also assists with a hangover.
(11) Prevents Urinary Tract Infection
Coconut is diuretic in nature which means it increases the rate at which urine is produced and released by our body.
The increase in urine flow helps in the proper removal of toxins out of the body and thus helps in reducing the risk of urinary tract infections.
(12) Maintains Proper Blood Cholesterol Levels
The dietary fibers in the coconut aids in managing our cholesterol level as it reduces the level of bad LDL cholesterol and increases the level of good HDL cholesterol.
It prevents the accumulation of plaque and fat deposits in the arteries, and thus reduces the risk of atherosclerosis, a condition that leads to hardening and narrowing of the arteries and is a leading cause of several cardiovascular issues.
However, coconut also contains saturated fat which is infamous for increasing the level of bad LDL cholesterol and thus increases the risk of various cardiovascular problems.
To manage cholesterol levels, enjoy coconut in moderation.
(13) Improves Heart Health
Coconut is good for our heart and improves our cardiovascular health due to the presence of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and dietary fibers in them.
Antioxidants like vitamin C and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols etc in coconut protect our cardiovascular system from free radical damage.
Dietary fibers in coconut aids in managing cholesterol levels, and thus improves our cardiovascular health.
The short-chain and medium-chain fatty acids in the coconut manage cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular problems.
As per studies, using coconut as a dietary staple reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems and manages high serum cholesterol.
The lauric acid in the coconut also improves cardiovascular health.
(14) Controls Acidity And Heartburn
Drinking coconut water not only aids in maintaining the electrolyte balance of the body, but also relieves gastrointestinal problems like acidity and heartburn, etc.
(15) Beneficial For Pregnant Women
Coconut is good for pregnant women due to the abundance of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, polyphenols, and dietary fibers, etc.
Antioxidants like vitamin C and other relevant compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols in the coconut protect the uterus and the baby developing in the womb from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals.
The anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties of the coconut protect the fetus from microbial infections, and thus aids in maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
Dietary fibers in the coconut help with the efficient elimination of toxins, pollutants, and other unwanted substances out of the body. It also aids in regulating the blood sugar level during pregnancy.
Coconut water boosts the amniotic fluid level and improves the overall health of the fetus.
Other nutrients like potassium, iron, and magnesium, etc in the coconut also aids in maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
(16) Provides Antibacterial, Antiviral, And Antifungal Benefits
The high concentration of monolaurin and lauric acid in the coconut makes it a wonderful anti-bacterial,anti-viral,anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic food item that protects from disease-causing microbes like bacteria, virus, and fungi, etc. and thus minimizes the risk of various microbial infections and diseases.
(17) Improves Dental Health And Maintains Oral Hygiene
Because of its anti-microbial properties, rinsing off your mouth with coconut water is an efficient method to kill the bacterias responsible for causing bad breath in the mouth.
Doing so improves overall dental health.
(18) Make Our Bones And Teeth Stronger
Consuming coconuts regularly strengthens our bones and teeth.
Antioxidants like vitamin C and other relevant compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols in the coconut protect the bones and teeth from free radical damage.
It also improves our body’s ability to efficiently absorb bone-strengthening minerals like calcium and manganese, and thus reduces the risk of osteoporosis, a condition in which our bones become extremely weak and fragile.
(19) Improves Overall Health
Consuming coconut regularly improves our overall health because of its rich nutritious profile that comprises essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, lauric acid, and dietary fibers, etc.
In some countries like Sri Lanka, coconut is used as a staple food and is added to almost every dish.
Beauty Benefits Of Coconut For Skin
(1) Prevents Skin Dryness
Massaging coconut oil on the skin prevents our skin from becoming dry and flaky, and also keeps it properly moisturized.
This reduces dry skin problems which further reduces the risk of neurosis, a skin condition that makes our skin dry and flaky.
Coconut oil also protects from Staphylococcus aureus infection and reduces the severity of atopic dermatitis.
It is a wonderful cleansing agent that neutralizes toxins, fungi, bacteria, and other microbes from the outer layers of the skin.
It helps with detoxification, and also protects from various skin infections.
(2) Reduces Dryness Of Hands
Household chores like laundry and dishwashing can make your hands and palms hard and dry.
Rubbing few drops of extra virgin coconut oil on the hands and palms after household activities can prevent the dryness of the hands and palms, and also restore the lost moisturization of the hands and palms.
Coconut oil is cheaper and healthier alternative to chemical-laden beauty products.
(3) Reduces The Risk Of Skin Cancers
Regular consumption of coconut and as well as the topical application of coconut oil on the skin aids in protecting us against skin cancer.
Antioxidants like vitamin C and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols etc in the coconut protects our skin cells and tissues from the oxidative stress caused by the free radicals, and thus minimizes the risk of skin cancer.
Coconut oil also improves the moisture and fat content in the skin that blocks the harmful UV rays of the sun and further minimizes the risk of various skin cancers.
Applying coconut oil on the skin provides moisturization to the skin, and also replenishes the natural oils.
(4) Keep Our Skin Youthful
The presence of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, etc in coconut oil makes our skin youthful.
Antioxidants and relevant compounds in coconut oil protect our skin from free radical damage and keeps various signs of premature aging like fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, dark spots and skin blemishes, etc at bay.
Coconut oil provides moisturization, hydration, and nourishment to our skin and keeps it healthy. It makes our skin soft, supple, and radiant.
(5) Keep Our Skin Clean
Coconut oil is a wonderful cleansing agent that aids in getting rid of toxins, pollutants, and other unwanted substances from the outer layers of the skin.
This minimizes the outbreak of the skin and provides relief from skin rashes and irritation.
Eating coconut regularly keeps us well hydrated, and improves the smoothness of the skin.
(6) Promotes Effective Circulation Of Blood
Regularly and gently massaging the skin with coconut oil improves blood circulation in the affected area. An improved blood circulation ensures that our skin cells are healthy and well-nourished.
(7) Reverses The Effects Of Sun Tanning
Coconut, coconut oil, and coconut water all are efficient in protecting our skin from damage caused by harmful UV rays.
Antioxidants and other relevant compounds in the coconut protect our skin cells from the free radical damage caused by the harmful UV rays of the sun.
The high-fat content in the coconut oil protects the skin cells from harmful UV rays of the skin, and also minimizes the risk of skin cancer.
Similarly, coconut water can be used for reversing sun tanning.
To reverse sun tanning, mix some coconut water to fuller earth to form a paste, and gently apply this paste to the affected area.
Let it dry for 20 minutes and then wash off with cold water.
Use this face pack twice a week to get tan-free skin.
(8) Helps In The Treatment Of Oily Skin Problem
Our skin glands produce natural oils to keep our skin moisturized and healthy.
However, in some individuals, these glands produce excess oil which could worsen skin problems like acne and pimples.
Coconut water is efficient in regulating oil secretion from our skin glands.
To get rid of oily skin, add one teaspoon of sandalwood powder, half teaspoon of turmeric, and some coconut water together to form a fine paste.
Gently apply this paste to the affected area and let it dry for 20 minutes, and then wash off with water.
Regular use of this paste thrice a week will not treat oily skin, but also provides relief from acne, pimples, and skin blemishes.
(9) Good For Removing Eye Makeup
Our eyes are very sensitive, and both application and as well as the removal of the makeup on the eyes should be done gently.
Coconut oil can aid in the easy removal of makeup from the eyes.
To remove eye makeup, put few drops of coconut oil on the cotton ball and gently wipe your closed eyes with it.
Coconut oil will breakdown the ingredients of the strong makeup, and makeup will come out easily.
While removing eye makeup, it also provides moisturization to the skin of the eye.
(10) Incredible Body Scrub
Coconut is a natural exfoliating agent that helps in the efficient removal of dead and dry skin cells from our body.
To use coconut as a body scrub, mix one cup of brown sugar and some coconut oil to form a thick paste. This paste can be used as a body scrub to get rid of the dead and dry skin cells.
Adding one tablespoon of coconut water and lentils to the mixture further enhances the exfoliating properties of this paste.
Gently rub this paste on the face, and then wash off after two minutes.
Beauty Benefits Of Coconut For Hair
(1) Prevents Scalp Infections
Because of its anti-microbial properties, coconut oil is very efficient in protecting our scalp from microbial infections, and thus minimizes the risk of scalp problems like dandruff, itching, and lice, etc.
(2) Keep Our Hair Healthy
Regularly massaging the hair and scalp with coconut oil improves our scalp health and strengthens our hair follicles due to the presence of saturated fat in them.
Coconut oil not only makes our hair follicles strong and healthy but also adds a natural shine to them. This might be the reason people in the Indian subcontinent use coconut oil as a natural product to condition and nourish their hair.
Coconut oil prevents dryness of the scalp, and also protects it from microbial infections. This reduces the risk of scalp problems like dandruff and itching etc.
Iron in coconut improves blood circulation and thus contributes to scalp health.
Antioxidants in coconut oil protect our hair follicles and scalp from free radical damage.
(3) Make Our Hair Shiny And Silky
Gently massaging warm coconut oil on the hair and scalp regularly makes our hair strong and lustrous due to the abundance of essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals etc in them.
These compounds provide a natural shine to our hair.
By nourishing our hair and scalp, coconut oil reduces the risk of hair and scalp problems like hair loss, dandruff, itchy scalp, and dry scalp, etc.
(4) Coconut Milk And Hair Benefits
Just like coconut oil, coconut milk is also very useful in making our hair healthy and beautiful because of the essential nutrients like fats, proteins, iron, and manganese present in it.
For using coconut milk for hair benefits, extract coconut milk by grating dry coconut and then grinding it to a smooth paste.
When it comes to hair health, coconut milk is as beneficial as coconut oil because of its rich nutritious profile that includes vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fats, and phytonutrients, etc.
To get coconut milk, grate a dry coconut and grind it to a smooth paste. Now, strain this paste with a fine cloth to separate the coconut milk.
Massage coconut milk on the scalp and hair follicles (from roots to tip).
Let it air dry, and then rinse off with water for two hours.
Allow your hair to dry naturally, and shampoo on the next day.
Weekly treatment of coconut milk on the hair follicles and scalp reduces hair fall and makes our hair smooth, silky, shiny, and healthier.
Alternatively, whisk one can of coconut milk, four tablespoons of honey, and four tablespoons of extra virgin oil together in a large bowl to form a mixture.
Slowly pour this mixture onto the head.
Cover your head with a plastic cap and then wash off your hair after 30-45 minutes. It will assist hair growth, and make your hair strong and shiny.
The information contained in the post is for general purposes only and shouldn’t be considered as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice. Although I’ve tried my best to keep the information contained in this post as accurate and updated as possible, I make no guarantee of the accurateness of the same.
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Bharat Sharma is a Delhi-based writer who loves reading and writing research-based topics revolving around health, fitness, and nutrition. His love for writing started during his teenage and continues till date. After his graduation, he worked for GE Money, and IBM, but later found his true love i.e. blogging.