Ok, so this week has definitely had a definitive theme of coconut here in Berlin for me. I’ve tried coconut smoothies, iced coconut ‘kakoa milch’ (a combination of raw cocoa powder, cinnamon and coconut milk), coconut green curry and the most incredible coconut cream pie, homemade, by one of my darling friends last night.
I find myself chatting about this potential ‘super food’ more and more, and no wonder! With it’s popularity booming, all things coconut are at the peak of food trends, from savory to sweet, snacks, meals, drinks and as far as it climbing into our breakfast bowls in the mornings, as a nutrition packed trendy milk substitute.
So what is the whole hype about…and is it really all that it’s made out to be?
I thought I would highlight a few of the pros and cons on the subject.
Pros… Yes the list of benefits of including coconut into your diet, are fairly extensive.
1. Coconut is an incredibly versatile food and can be used in sweet or savory dishes.
2. Coconut flour can be used to replace regular wheat flour, which brings the refined carb content and G.I. down.
3. Unlike other plant oils that can be toxic/dangerous to humans when heated too high (where it starts to smoke), coconut oil can be used safely for cooking at a higher heat.
4. Eating anything with coconut keeps you feeling fuller for longer and with the added fiber keeps your systems regular and clean.
5. Coconut water is the earth’s natural sports drink, incredibly hydrating and packed with electrolytes and potassium.
6. Fresh coconut pieces are a great low carb snack option compared to other regular fruit options.
7. Coconut cream can be whipped, flavoured and frozen in place of your normal tub of ice cream, plus it is decadently rich without the guilt or sugar spike.
8. Desiccated coconut can be used to replace flour in tempura or battered options like prawn, fish and chicken strips. It does spike your insulin (fat storing) hormone, which is useful when working with oil.
9. Though it has many ‘nutty’ characteristics, coconut actually belongs to the fruit family so, people who have nut allergies can generally safely enjoy coconut choices without adverse effects.
10. It is so much more than just edible. This magic substance is amazing to use in your hair or on your skin as a moisturizer or hydrating mask.
But beware…since this food is so incredibly rich in energy and nutrients, one can easily over do it. Even though I would refer to it as having ‘GOOD’ calories, it contains a lot of calories nonetheless and, at the end of the day, calories are what affect the energy in vs. energy out factor. RE leading to body weight dipping or climbing, as we all know. Some things to bear in mind when ‘coconutting’ it up are mostly linked to practicing moderation.
1. Coconut oils, butters and other products are high in saturated fat, so consumption must be controlled and enjoyed in moderation.
2. A little goes a long way, which means it is easy to overeat this powerful punchy snack and send your calories through the roof.
3. Coconut is great for cooking, but packs a whopping 120 calories per tablespoon.
4. A cup of coconut milk has ‘445Cal’ of energy vs the ’40-60’ per cup of almond milk, or ‘100-150’ regular milk.
5. It can be an expensive alternative, however I truly believe the health benefits make the cost totally worth it.
In conclusion, go ahead and enjoy this island style super food, just be mindful about doing so in moderation. If you find yourself longing for that coconut holiday smell you can go as far as to start including it in your personal care regime… try this amazing hair mask to help moisturize dry tired or damaged hair in less than 2 applications.
Coconut Oil Hair Mask Recipe:
2 Tbs coconut oil melted
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs Aragon oil
I sometimes add a drop of fragrance or extract i.e. rooibos, vanilla, lavender
Using your finger tips gently work the mask into your hair from the tips up to about midway up your hair length. If you have dry hair like me, you can literally just chuck the whole lot on your head and leave it over night in a loose bun.
In the morning wash it out gently. It may feel oily for a day or two so I suggest wearing up if you are going out.
I typically do this twice a month.