If you love coconuts, you’re not alone! They’re one of the most popular and widely used tropical fruits in the world, and for good reason – they taste great and have so many health benefits! From their antibacterial and antifungal properties to their moisturizing effects on the skin, there are plenty of reasons why you should be incorporating coconut into your diet. Here are eight surprising ways eating more coconut can benefit your health.
1) Tastes Great
The most obvious benefit of coconut is its taste. The flavor of coconut can be described as tropical and sweet, which explains why it’s a great fit for sweet or savory recipes. To reap these benefits, you’ll need to eat about 1⁄2 cup of shredded coconut per day. That may sound like a lot, but it’s spread out across meals and snacks so you won’t notice anything different from your normal diet. If you love baking, try using coconut flour to give your recipes more texture and depth. In fact, studies have shown that foods with whole grains like rice or wheat provide additional protection against memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
2) Aids in Weight Loss
Those who suffer from coconut allergies may not be aware that there are so many surprising benefits of coconut. First, virgin coconut oil is made from a combination of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), such as lauric acid, which can boost your metabolism and aid in weight loss.
3) Relieves Anxiety & Depression
The smell of coconuts has long been thought to lift moods, and even low-level exposure can help alleviate depression and anxiety. One animal study found that coconut oil reduced symptoms of depression as effectively as some antidepressants. The benefits may be tied to healthy fats like lauric acid, which increases levels of dopamine in our brains—which is also why it’s linked to weight loss. The amino acids in coconut oil may also help promote alertness and energy by reducing our need for sleep while improving memory. Studies have also shown that coconut oil boosts energy expenditure rates, helping you lose weight faster even when not dieting.
4) Prevents Acne
One of the coconut’s most well-known benefits is its ability to fight acne. The fats in coconut oil can help balance hormones that cause acne breakouts, and also keep skin soft and hydrated. If you’re looking for a chemical-free way to treat your skin, try massaging coconut oil into your face. It won’t dry out or irritate your skin like other products might, leaving you with smooth and clear skin all day long.
5) Keeps Digestion Regular
While most of us are familiar with coconut oil, many people are not aware that coconut flesh contains some unique health benefits as well. In fact, studies have shown that consuming a diet high in coconut can help improve digestion and keep things running smoothly through your intestinal tract. If you’re looking for natural alternatives to constipation remedies like prune juice or Metamucil, then adding more coconut to your diet may be just what you need! Coconut is also a good source of fiber, which helps with digestion and weight management. So whether you enjoy shredded coconut on your morning toast or plan to use it in one of our healthy smoothies, there are plenty of ways to add it to your daily meals!
6) Boosts Energy Levels
Oftentimes, those who switch to a high-fat diet report feeling more energetic. Unlike low-fat diets that leave you feeling tired and lethargic, eating coconut is one way to maintain steady levels of energy throughout your day. What’s more? It’s also full of healthy fats that don’t need to be burned off before they are used, making it a great snack for athletes who need steady energy stores and quick recovery time between bouts of exercise. In addition to boosting physical performance, coconut oil can also have powerful positive effects on your brain function. One study found that participants scored higher on memory tests after just four weeks of consuming it regularly—compared with a control group who did not consume any fat.
7) Improves Skin Health
This is one of those old wives’ tales that seems to have been turned on its head by modern science. Evidence suggests that coconut oil can actually help with skin problems like eczema, and psoriasis, and may even reduce acne! In fact, coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties which reduce redness and swelling. It also makes your skin more resilient against UV damage which means fewer wrinkles in later life. So next time you reach for a moisturizer with SPF 15 or an anti-aging cream with retinol, try rubbing some coconut oil into your skin first for better results. Did you know about these surprising benefits of coconut?
8) Treats Dandruff
If you have dandruff, it might be due to a fungal infection on your scalp. If that’s the case, coconut oil could offer relief. In one study, participants who used coconut oil on their scalps every day for a month experienced a significant reduction in symptoms like itching and scaling. The antifungal properties of lauric acid can also help prevent future infections that lead to dandruff; just rub 1 tablespoon of coconut oil into your scalp once or twice a week as needed.