Health Benefits of Coconut Oil, Water and More : 5 Uses and 5 Products Under $5
Summer is officially here and this evokes thoughts of the beach, BBQs and tropical drinks. One of my favorite summer drinks is the Pina Colada, topped off with an umbrella of course. It just screams fresh and fun!
Did you know that the coconut is actually very useful in many ways other than to put in your alcoholic concoctions? Here are five great uses for it along with five cool products under five bucks.
- Coconut Water: I love coconut water. It's tasty, refreshing and so good for you. Coconut water is derived from the clear liquid inside young coconuts and is very high in potassium and minerals. In fact, it's even been used as an IV in third world countries where medical saline could not be found. There are many types and brands of coconut water, but my favorite brand is Taste Nirvana with pulp. It's naturally sweet, doesn't taste like sweetened water (like some other brands) and contains pulp which gives it a straight from the coconut flavor. It can be found at your local grocery store or at Amazon for around $2.50 per can.
- Coconut Oil: This oil is extracted from the meat of the coconut and is great for cooking, especially frying due to its high smoke point of 280 degrees F. Some claims have been made that coconut oil helps in weight loss due to its short and medium fat chains, but I have yet to test that theory. Coconut oil is also good for beauty needs, often used to relief dry skin. It can also be massaged into the scalp to get rid of dandruff, lice or lice eggs. And, if you have a bruise, put some coconut oil to help speed up the healing process. You can find coconut oil at your local grocery or drugstore and online for around $4.
- Coconut Milk: Mmm...who here likes coconut milk? It's so good and a staple in tropical cuisines. Derived from the meat of the mature coconut, the sweet fluid contains high amounts of oil and sugar. It's a common ingredient in Thai curries and soups. Not only does it taste good, it's also good for you. Used to heal sore throats and ulcers, it's also good for boosting immunity. And, like coconut oil, coconut milk has short and medium fatty chains which means the body converts this into energy instead of storing as fat. However, it is very high in calories (553 calories in 224 g) so please drink sparingly. You can find coconut milk at your Ralph's, Trader Joe's or local grocery store for around $2 a can.
- Coconut Meat: Even though it's not very common, coconut flesh can be eaten and is very beneficial to your health. Its meat contains mostly fat and fiber which the body needs. The fat is used as pure energy and the fiber helps to clean you out, so to speak. In India, coconut meat has been used to treat parasite infections which sure beats taking some nasty prescription drug. It might be harder to find coconuts at your local grocery store, but most Asian supermarkets sell them for around $5.
- Nata de Coco: Say what? A chewy, translucent jelly-like product made from fermenting coconut water. It originated from the Philippines and is a popular in desserts. Translated from Spanish, it literally means "cream of coconut." Think of it as a healthier version of boba. I've yet to try this sweet treat, but will definitely check it out next time I go to a boba shop. You can also get nata de coco puddings on Amazon for around $1 each if you're really interested.
Are you a fan of coconut? What are some ways you enjoy this all-purpose fruit?