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Coconuts are good for you

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Coconuts, particularly young green coconuts and coconut water, are an excellent source of good saturated fats. Coconuts are as high as 70% fat with 90% of that being saturated fat. Coconut oil is the most saturated of all vegetable oils, which makes it very stable and slow to go rancid. The fat in coconut is almost all in the form of health promoting, immune boosting medium chained saturated fats.

Despite the bad reputation of saturated fat, whole coconut, coconut milk and cold pressed coconut oil are good for you. Coconut in these forms has not been shown to increase cholesterol levels or heart disease but rather to lower cholesterol and raise HDL in some populations. It is only when the fats in coconut are hydrogenated and turned into trans fats that they become harmful.

In many traditional diets coconuts have been used as a nourishing and strenthening food and as a medicine with special healing powers. Thailand, where coconut is abundant in the diet, has the lowest cancer rate of the fifty countries surveyed by the National Cancer Institute.

Coconut milk is close to human breast milk in its pH, and fat and nutrient content. Coconut milk is a good source of calcium, manganese, selenium, zinc and iron. Coconut water measures the same pH as human blood.

Coconut milk and coconut oil contains lauric acid (whose only other abundant source in nature is human breast milk). Lauric acid is considered antiviral, antibacterial and antiprotozoal and is converted by the body into monolaurin, which is believed to cause the disintegration of viruses, including HIV, measles, herpes simplex virus, cytomegalovirus influenza virus, and pneumonovirus. Monolaurin, from coconut milk has been shown to inactivate H.pylori. Furthermore, H.pylori has not been able to develop resistance to monolaurin and coconuts natural antimicrobials, as it has to many antibiotic drugs. Coconut milk has also been shown to eliminate many fungi, yeast and protozoa, including several species of ringworm and to be an effective agent used against bacteria and viruses.

Even with its heavy fat content, coconut oil appears to promote weight loss. Coconut oil has not been found to increase body fat and it actually decreases white fat stores, is related to the production of fewer fat cells, increases thermogenesis by 50% and increases the body’s metabolic rate.

Research suggests that the average adult would benefit from 24 grams of lauric acid daily, which can be obtained by eating 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil, 10 ounces of pure coconut milk, or 7 ounces of raw coconut daily. Since allergies to coconut are caused by the protein, the oil is usually safe for those who are allergic – but check first. Coconut contains oxalate which some people with a history of oxalate containing kidney stones may need to avoid.

You can use coconut in many forms:

Fresh- once opened refrigerate and use within 7-10 days

Dried coconut meat - store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month or freezer for longer; be sure to avoid the types sweetened with sugar or with added preservatives and other additives especially propylene glycol (used in antifreeze)

Creamed coconut - store in the refrigerator fresh for 7-10 days

Canned coconut milk - be sure and buy whole fat, not low fat coconut milk which has had many of the benefits of coconut’s special medium chained fat removed ; store unused portions in the refrigerator for 7-10 days

Coconut oil – choose only food grade, cold pressed oil that has not been hydrogenated ; best if used within a month after opening

You can easily incorporate coconut into your life by making curries, putting coconut milk into your protein drinks, using coconut oil to cook, and in place of butter.

Thai Curry

Here is a favorite recipe co-created by my youngest daughter and my husband:

  • Protein– chicken, turkey, pork (all cut into bit size pieces) or shrimp
  • Vegetables – mix and match the following: onions, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, mushrooms, chard, kale (all cut into bit size pieces) bean sprouts
  • Cilantro- we like a lot – a good size handful cut up
  • Red bliss potatoes – cut into bit size pieces; a bit less than the amount of veggies
  • Organic free range beef or chicken broth
  • Coconut milk – we like the organic kind sold in Whole Foods; avoid lite coconut milk - 1 can of coconut milk per 6 servings
  • Thai green curry paste –1 tablespoon per can of coconut milk makes it all moderately spicey- the way we like it.
  • Olive oil

Sautee the protein and potatoes in a small amount of olive oil (if you are using the shrimp add the uncooked shrimp and potatoes together; if you are using cooked shrimp, cook the potatoes and veggies first).

When the protein and potatoes are almost cooked add in the vegetables. Sautee the veggies until just crisp.

Add in the cilantro and sautee.

Mix the curry into the coconut milk. Add enough chicken or beef broth to the curry coconut mixture so that the liquid covers the vegetables, protein and potato mixture. Heat. Serve in bowls.

Quick and yummy!

Related Information:

Diets, diets, everywhere!
If you want to find out what diet is right for you, let’s set up a time to talk about your needs. You can give me a call at 434-263-4996 or email me

© Copyright 1997 - 2008 by Mary Ann Copson and Evenstar. All rights reserved.

About the Author:
Mary Ann Copson is the founder of the Evenstar Mood & Energy Wellness Center for Women. With Master's Degrees in Human Development and Psychology and Counseling, Mary Ann is a Certified Licensed Nutritionist; Certified Holistic Health Practitioner; Brain Chemistry Profile Clinician; and a Health, Wellness and Lifestyle Coach. Reconnect to your physical, emotional, mental, psychological and spiritual natural rhythms at

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