Wonderful uses, benefits and side effects of coconut. Actually, Nature is bountiful in the gifts it has given us, and the fact is that everything we need for a healthy and happy life can be received from nature in the most inexpensive and natural ways.
One such gift of nature is food – that grows on trees and plants and is one of the main sources of all the nutrients required by our body for healthy functioning.
Coconut is commonly known as Aki oyibo in Igbo language, Kwakwa in Hausa and Agbo among Yourubas.
It’s a popular fruit around the world but it holds a special significance in Nigeria, not only for the many health benefits it offers but also for its connection in making nutritious foods or meals.
Meanwhile, World Coconut Day is celebrated on the 2nd of September every year. It is observed by the Asian and Pacific Coconut Community (APCC) to emphasise on the importance of the fruit in poverty reduction.
As we observe World Coconut Day 2020, it is important to remember how the fruit is beneficial for the human body and mind, and how can we incorporate it in our diet, or use it in several other ways to stay healthy and fit, and live a long life.
However, below are some of the wonderful uses, benefits and side effects of coconut;
Coconut Helps In Boosting Immunity
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began, a lot of focus has been laid on immunity boosting.
Coconut is a fruit rich in antioxidants, and eating a few pieces of coconut every day, or drinking coconut water, can help in boosting immunity and fighting diseases.
Coconut For Managing Blood Sugar
Coconut can also be used to manage blood sugar levels for diabetics. Coconut is low in calories, high in fat and fibre, which helps to slow down the release of sugar into the blood, and helps in better management of blood sugar for diabetes patients.
Coconut Oil For Hair
Coconut oil is widely used as hair oil, especially in Africa (Nigeria). Coconut oil can help tackle hair problems such as dry and rough hair, dandruff, hair fall, etc.
Coconut Oil For Skin Healing
A grandmother’s remedy for any skin issue, from mosquito bites to wounds, coconut oil is one of the best ways to heal your skin from scratches, scabs, scars, and wounds.
Coconut Meat As An Ingredient In Food
Have you tasted coconut rice before? The aroma alone can make you cloud-9. Coconut meat is the flesh inside the coconut. It is edible, and a source of healthy fats and nutrients.
The distinct taste of coconut meat can also add taste and texture to any dish and can be used as an ingredient in food, both sweet and savoury.
Side Effects Of Coconut & Safety
Coconut doesn’t have too many side effects, but it does have a lot of fat. Coconut is made of up of polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and saturated fats, but is mostly saturated fat.
However, in some adults and children, eating coconuts might cause an allergic reaction. Symptoms may include skin rashes and difficulty breathing.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking coconut as medicine if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
So therefore, stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Allergy to coconut oil or related plants: Coconut might cause serious allergic reactions in people who are allergic to coconut oil, coconut palm pollen, components of coconut, or other members of the Arecaceae plant family.
High cholesterol: There’s some concern that coconut might increase cholesterol. Some research found that people who eat large amounts of coconut have higher cholesterol than those who eat less.
But not all research agrees. Some research shows that eating foods with coconut flour can actually decrease cholesterol. The reason for the different results might relate to the type and amount of coconut eaten.
Coconut contains coconut oil. Coconut oil is made up of saturated fat, like earlier mentioned. So, eating large amounts of coconut might increase cholesterol due to its saturated fat content.
But eating coconut in normal amounts probably isn’t a concern. And eating coconut flour is also probably safe, since coconut flour is processed to remove fats.