Coconuts have a bad reputation. That’s because their meat is largely composed of saturated fat. But while that may sound unhealthy, the hard science tells a different story.
Researchers in the Philippines found that coconut oil is an excellent skin moisturiser and it also kills germs.
The primary saturated fat in coconut flesh, cream and oil is lauric acid, which lowers the markers of heart disease risk by improving your ratio of total cholesterol to good HDL cholesterol, report scientists in the Netherlands.
Like olive oil and butter, coconut oil is ideal for cooking because heat doesn’t cause its fats to oxidise – a reaction that can create unhealthy free radicals.
Most of the saturated fats in coconuts are medium-chain fatty acids. “These fats are preferentially burned for energy instead of stored as belly fat,” says Cassandra Forsythe, a nutrition scientist at the University of Connecticut.
Coconut oil has anti-microbial properties, which may help fight off infections and pathogens, according to a recent study from Nigeria.
Fresh coconut water, which is found in young, green coconuts, contains potassium, sodium and glucose, and is very palatable. In fact, scientists in Malaysia concluded that it’s an ideal beverage for rehydrating after exercise.