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Today in Health & Wellness

Thirst Quenchers of the Tropics

"Coconut Water and Other Coconut products"
By: Maria Paula TolentinoThirst Quenchers of the Tropics

Hawaiians call coconut water, noelani (noway lah-nee), which means “dew from the heavens.” Coconut water has a long history of use as both food and medicine. According to nutritionist and naturopathic doctor, Dr. Bruce Fife, although there are a variety of fruits in many tropical locations, coconut water is prized above all beverages because it not only quenches one’s thirst and brings relief from the hot tropical sun, but it invigorates the body and brings about a sense of well-being and renewed health.

Dr. Fife further states that since it is essentially fat-free, coconut water or juice is relatively low in sugar compared to other fruit juices. It contains only a fifth of the sugar equal to fresh grapes or apple juice. Mildly sweet with a delightful taste, coconut juice is an excellent alternative to fruit juice and sodas.

The effectiveness of coconut water to hydrate the body has been proven over the past two decades. It has been used extensively as a treatment for cholera, dysentery, influenza, and other infectious diseases that promote rehydration. Coconut water has literally saved thousands of lives, especially of children in underdeveloped countries as noted by the Coconut Research Center.

Coconut water’s unique chemical composition is effective in treating severe dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhea. Coconut water rehydrates the body and gives it strength and energy perfect for fighting infection. Because of coconut water, the death rates due to cholera decreased and survival rates increased to 97 percent, according to Dr. Fife.

Because coconut water improves blood circulation, it is beneficial to diabetics. Many of the complications associated with diabetes, such as numbness in the feet, loss of vision, and kidney failure are all consequences of poor circulation. Coconut water helps dilate bloods vessels, improve blood flow, and reduce plaque formation, easing these symptoms. Coconut water also contains certain forms of dietary fiber and amino acids that help moderate sugar absorption and improve insulin sensitivity.

  • Coconut oil has been proven to give vitality to the hair and skin. What most don’t know is that coconut oil contains over 50 percent lauric acid, which helps care for the heart. It helps reduce injury in the arteries, preventing atherosclerosis. Coconut oil can aid in better digestion, immunity, and healing infections or bruises by repairing damaged tissues.
  • Coconut milk has been known not only to be delicious but luxurious to the skin as well. Good coconut milk has a clean, white color and tastes rich, creamy, and mildly sweet with the essence of coconut. It also has complexity and depth of flavor that keeps you intrigued and does not leave an unpleasant aftertaste. Lauric acid, the principle fatty acid in coconut milk, is the same fat known to promote normal brain development and contribute to healthy bones. Coconut milk also has important anti-carcinogenic and anti-pathogenic properties and is less likely to cause weight gain than polyunsaturated oils.
  • A gluten-free alternative, coconut flour contains 39 grams of fiber per 100 grams. This is well over the recommended 25 grams and exceeds the amount of fiber found in other whole grain sources (wheat bran, wheat flour and enriched white flour). Coconut flour is an appropriate alternative for Celiac disease sufferers (since coconut is not a grain) and therefore does not contain gluten unlike wheat, rye, and barley.
  • Creamed coconut, also known as coconut concentrate, is the unsweetened dehydrated fresh meat of a mature fruit of coconut, ground to a semi-solid white creamy paste. Creamed coconut is suitable for consumption without the need for further processing. It is not to be confused with coconut cream. Creamed coconut contains pure virgin coconut oil, is high in dietary fiber and potassium, while being cholesterol and gluten-free!
  • Because of desiccated coconut’s low moisture content and concentrated state, it tends to contain 62 percent fat, 53.4 percent of which is saturated and almost double the amount found in fresh, raw coconut.
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