6 Reasons Why I'm Coco-Nuts
There are so many reasons why I like coconuts so much, I don’t even know where to start! I use so many coconut-based products myself and recommend my clients do so too if they want to have strong, shiny hair, a smooth, hydrated skin, a happy stomach and a fit body! I love that they are a natural, sustainable and healthy fruit (yes, coconuts are technically a type of fruit), goes such a long way. You can have coconuts in the form of food, cosmetics, use it for anti-bacterial purposes… The list goes on!
I was staying with a friend for a few weeks recently and she noticed that I’m totally coco-nuts. My shampoo and conditioner are coconut-based, my moisturiser is made of coconut butter, my hair oil is basically coconut oil, my mouth wash is coconut oil, I cook with coconut oil, I drink and eat coconuts in every possible way… It doesn’t end! Continue reading to find out why I’m so obsessed and how I use coconuts to optimise my body goals.
1. ELECTROLYTES AKA POWER
Let’s start with coconuts’ most raw form. The first thing that comes to mind is that deliciously sweet, yet so refreshing, coconut water. The younger the coconut, the sweeter its water. The amount of electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus), which are needed for energy and a faster recovery, in one single fruit exceeds that in a sports drink by more than double. Coconut water is lower in sugar than most fruit, while the flavour of it is rich, which makes coconut water a great base for smoothies. My current go-to after a workout is coconut water with ice and a scoop of protein powder. So simple and quick, yet so satisfying and replenishing after sweating.
Another benefit of regularly drinking coconut water is that it helps curb sugar cravings. I noticed it when I started having small amounts of coconut water throughout the day and my usual trips to the fridge in the evenings weren’t happening so often anymore. What I do now is always keep coconut water at home to be prepared for any unplanned cravings and have a glass of it with a tiny bit of lemon juice squeezed in and a few ice cubes. It’s like a home made lemonade and it’s a perfect light and healthy option instead of raging through the kitchen pantry or reaching for something not so healthy.
P.S. Make sure your coconut water has nothing else added. Many producers add fructose to sweeten it. Young coconuts are very sweet and don’t need any sweetening. If a coconut water needs sweetening, it means it is not made from fresh coconuts and hence is not the best quality.
2. COCONUT FOOD SOURCES
Besides using coconut oil for basically every meal that is cooked in high heat, I take advantage of all possible forms of coconuts as a form of food.
Since I eat a 90% plant-based diet, coconut milk and coconut kefir milk are always present in my kitchen. I love using both as smoothie basis, making matcha/turmeric lattes with coconut milk, use both for baking or simply carry a coconut kefir milk in my handbag as a snack. Coconut yoghurt and coconut cream are my favourite for adding creaminess to just about anything - porridge, desserts, stews, stir-fries, and muesli.
Coconut oil is one of the most versatile products I’ve ever used. It reacts well with heat, meaning that unlike other popular oils, such as olive oil, coconut oil does not break down and convert into trans fat when exposed to high temperatures. This makes it great for cooking and especially for baking, since it adds an extra bit of natural sweetness.
Important: When purchasing coconut oil, make sure it’s unprocessed (virgin, organic), as processing strips off the nutrients and positive qualities.
Last, but not least - the actual nut can be used for an endless number of purposes. I regularly use it as an on-the-go snack, sprinkle some on salads, and decorate my smoothie bowls with it. Coconut shavings are a must for when I make plant-based desserts. I love making energy balls and rolling them in coconut shavings for a nice, nutty finish. If I drink coconut water out of the actual nut, I always open it and check if it’s young enough to have that unbelievably tasty creamy consistency. It seems kind of slimy, but tastes too amazing to waste it.
Just like coconut water, other coconut-derived products are great for making you feel fuller for longer and hence, crave the bad stuff less! On top of that, they can actually play a huge role in your body being in a ketogenic state. This means that you are burning fat instead of carbs for fuel, which, as you can imagine, works wonders for your figure.
Did you know that coconut oil is the perfect sun block, since it blocks approximately 20% of the harmful rays getting into contact with the skin? On top of that, it adds that beautiful glow and makes you look like a total beach babe! I like mixing it with my sunblock lotion since I find that the oil on its own attracts more heat and turns me into a fried little nugget.
Another holiday hack using coconuts is making a coconut body scrub. It helps to get rid of dead skin cells and get your tan to soak in deeper and last longer. It’s a two step process of mixing coconut shavings with coconut oil and ta-da! Money saved on expensive fancy shmancy products.
Also, coconut oil is the perfect solution for dry skin and hair, as it locks moisture, adds shininess, and acts as a natural conditioner. Not only is coconut oil good for daily use, but it can also be used to treat skin-related issues, like eczema.
I’ve been coconut-based products for cosmetic purposes for years and I swear by them. I used to have very thin hair that broke easily and my skin was so dry that if I didn’t moisturise it twice a day, it used to look like crocodiles skin. While I believe that my currently strong hair and healthy skin formula is a combination of a diet based on whole foods and a generally healthier lifestyle, I’ve noticed that when I travel and don’t bring coconut oil with me, my hair gets drier and breaks more easily.
What you can do to make your hair stronger and shinier almost immediately: dampen the ends of your hair (not just the tips, but good 5cm up) and coat them in a thick layer of coconut oil. Cover the oily ends with a small plastic bag and tie it with a hair tie so that your sheets don’t get oily. Don’t knot or plait your hair as you want to restore it from breaking, and keeping your hair tight can encourage it. I do this for not particular reason or occasion but especially if I have used a heated curler or a straightener in the last few days. All you need to do is wake up 5 minutes earlier to wash the ends of your hair and let it dry while you get ready. This simple trick has kept my hair hydrated, my ends healthy, and visually increased volume since my hair is more dense. Who said you need expensive hair products and treatments?!
Coconuts have been used for centuries as a natural antibiotic due to its antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal qualities. Here is all the healing magic in simple terms: coconuts are known for their high content of fatty acids. 50% of the fatty acids content is lauric acid. When it’s digested, it forms monolaurin, which together which lauric acid kills harmful pathogens.
Coconut-derived food products can be used to cure upset stomach and even more serious digestive problems, like candida, which is when too much yeast is present in the gut, it causes stomach cramps, bloating and digestive abnormalities.
Coconut oil pulling is a simple way to treat mouth and dental infections, and reduce bad breath. So recently my dentist told me that I’m not allowed to use an electric toothbrush because I over brush and try to keep my mouth cleaner than it can possible be by flossing way too hard core. However, to my big surprise, she also told me that she noticed an early stage of gum infection. I still don’t understand how is it possible to get into trouble for keeping my mouth “too” clean but at the same time have a developing gum infection??? Anyway, my dentist advised me that I will have to come back in a few weeks to check on the situation to see whether my gums were simply inflamed from over flossing and over brushing or whether I actually had a gum infection.
Knowing my craziness about natural remedies, the first thing I did when I got home was oil pulling using coconut oil. I did it twice a day after brushing my teeth and within 2 days I could feel that my gums were no longer feeling weird and no longer bleeding when I flossed! I avoided antibiotics being injected in my gums with a scary syringe and was reminded once again how powerful nature is.
You might not have a gum infection but I’m sure you don’t want the guy you like to be unimpressed by your breath? Mints might help here and now but coconut oil pulling is a long-term solution.
5. WEIGHT LOSS
I have already mentioned that saturated fats have a great quality of keeping you fuller for longer and release energie over a longer period of time. This means that you’re less likely to suddenly feel hungry and reach for the first thing you see. You end up consuming so much less junk, which is what you want when you aim for weight loss - to reduce and eventually eliminate processed foods.
In addition, slow energy release and satiety in combination with a ketogenic state (high fat, low carb = your body burns its own fat for energy) means that you automatically burn more fat. To top it off, MCT oil found in coconut oil increases endurance, which means that you have more energy to build muscle, which further helps to break down fat. Basically, coconuts build a domino effect on crashing down all the fat!
Achieving and sustaining ketosis is one of my current goals. I have experienced the benefits before going plant-based, but when I made the switch I found it a little harder to eat a low-carb diet, when all I was eating was grains and lots of vegetables. Now I feel like I’m ready to experiment again and I will keep you posted on what’s it like to be a plant-based ketogenic!
What you can do now to start burning fat for fuel and feel fuller for longer:
- Gradually introduce a variety of coconut products into your diet
- Cook with coconut oil or take MCT oil as a supplement
- Schedule a health goals call with me to discuss what’s the best way for you to transition to a ketogenic state.
6. OTHER HEALTH BENEFITS
(This should count as many reasons in one!)
I briefly touched on the positive impacts that ketones can have on our bodies. I feel like they need a whole separate blog post just about them. To keep it simple and understandable, I will list some of the biggest reasons why coconut oil (which contains ketones) is a must in everyone’s diet:
- The fact that ketones feed on fat and not on glucose (like most cells), insulin-resistance and hence, lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes. I won’t go into details of explaining this, as I think that the end result is far more important than the chemical reactions that take place in our bodies.
- Fatty acids play an important role in heart health, as they lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase the god cholesterol (HDL). Also a large amount of ketones in the blood help lower resting heart rate and reduce the chances of stroke and seizures.
- Antioxidants in virgin coconut oil (extracted in low, heat, maintaining the nutrients and beneficiary powers) reduce inflammation and delay aging, which is otherwise enforced by stress and free radicals.
- Capric acid (a type of fatty acid found in saturated fats) improves thyroid function.
- Fatty acids in saturated fats balance estrogen levels and females hormones, reducing PMS hormone imbalances, period pains and migraines. When it comes to female hormones, we can’t avoid the ups and downs at some stage in our lives and coconut products have earned brownie points from me on this one!
What is your favourite way of including coconut into your life? Let me know in the comments!
I hope this blog post gave you some ideas if you aren’t including it already!