Coconut and its Benefits: Coconut Oil

10 11 2011

http://www.asiatatler.com/hong-kong/users/tiana-harilela/column – Tiana Harilela

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As winter approaches here in Europe, I find myself reminiscing on the hotter climate found in Asia, yes, I miss the warm oceans and one other thing, coconuts. Whenever I am in India I find myself drinking coconut water, as this is very much part of my yogic practice. I would walk to the yogashala (yoga studio) at 3:30 am in preparation for my practice to start with 80 other yogis at 4:00 am. A crazy hour to be awake, but a powerful one at that.

 

After practice, which is usually two hours long, I would walk outside and find a friendly face. This beaming face was none other than the man who sold coconuts. He would be parked with his pick up truck full of coconuts and a machete to slice open the tropical fruit. He would stand for hours as each yogi came out of the shala cutting the tops of the coconuts to reveal the most amazing thing ever – wonderful coconut water.

 

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On average I would drink two a day, and through this ritual I came to realise that this wonderful water I was drinking had many benefits. This soon led me to learn more about coconuts and to explore the amazing benefits of the fruit. I learnt that in some cultures the coconut is the staple diet. Everything from the juice to the meat and the oil, can be used. According to the coconut research centre, “coconut is highly nutritious and rich in fibre vitamins and minerals”. It is also “classified as a “functional food” because it provides many health benefits beyond its nutritional content.”

 

I thought it is best to start by exploring the oil of the coconut. For a start, the oil is excellent to cook with. This is because it can be used at very high temperatures without becoming bad for our system. The oil at a high heat doesn’t turn rancid and therefore is a great substitute for other oils.

 

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Organic Facts state that the benefits of coconut oil come from the “presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin”, that is claimed to help fight viruses such as influenza and herpes.

 

In addition to this, coconut oil has a large amount of vitamin E and K. Vitamin E is known to do wonders for our skin, helping it stay healthy, young and keep it glowing. It is also a fantastic vitamin to help restore cells in the body.

 

The best way to take coconut oil is by taking it raw; about two tablespoons per day. You can usually buy this at any health food store. The oil is cold pressed and therefore very thick. At first it is quite hard to take so I recommend adding it to any smoothies you make.

 

As well as helping us internally, coconut oil is extremely wonderful when we put it in our hair. This is another thing I learnt from being in India. It is a quick solution to ridding an itchy scalp and an easy way to help your hair become thicker and more shiny.

 

 

 

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