The coconut provides a nutritious source of meat, juice, milk, and oil that has fed and nourished populations around the world for generations.
Other than being a delicious food source, coconuts have many traditional health benefits used to improve digestion & metabolism, bone strength, hair, skin & dental health, weight loss, immune support, stress relief, healthy cholesterol levels, and blood sugar regulation.
Specifically, the coconut’s oil has been found to provide relief from viral, bacterial & fungal infections, kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV, and cancer. These benefits can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and their antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, antiparasitic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
With such nutritional and medicinal benefits, coconut is a perfect Paleo approved health-boosting food to incorporate into your diet.
Coconut water is extremely rich in potassium and trace minerals. It also contains anti-oxidants and cytokinins. Cytokinins regulate cell division and influence the rate at which plants age. These compounds also have an anti-aging effect on human cells and tissues.
You can drink coconut water by itself, and with its growing popularity, you’re likely to find several brands available in your local supermarket such as Vita Coco, ZICO, O.N.E., etc. Alternatively, coconut water can be used to make a delicious probiotic drink called kefir as well.
Coconut water kefir is a delicious way to enhance hydration and recolonize your gut and mucous membranes with healthy strains of microflora. Coconut milk can also be fermented although it needs a little bit of coconut water to provide natural sugars for the kefir microorganisms to feed off of.
For more information about how to make your own coconut water kefir, visit CoconutKefir.org
Coconut oil is commonly used in cooking, especially for frying and is a common flavor in many South Asian curries. In recent years, virgin coconut oil has increasingly become popular in natural food circles because of it’s health benefits. It has a slightly nutty, vanilla flavor that also has a touch of sweetness that works well in baked goods, pastries, and sautés.
Coconut & Almond Butter Bark
• 1/3 cup Coconut Oil, softened
• 1/4 cup Almond Butter or Sunflower Seed Butter
• 2 tablespoons Coconut Flakes, unsweetened
• Dark Chocolate, non-dairy
• 2 tablespoons Honey or Stevia (optional)
• Sea Salt
In a medium bowl, thoroughly mix the coconut oil, almond butter, coconut flakes, and honey or stevia. Spread the mixture on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and lightly sprinkle with sea salt. Use a peeler to shave dark chocolate over the top, and then place the bark in the freezer for about an hour or until the mixture hardens. For thicker bark, refrigerate the almond butter to reduce spreading & settling.
Recipe via Paleo Magazine
Coconut oil can also be used as a skin moisturizer, helping with dry skin and reducing protein loss when used in hair.
Coconut milk is a sweet, milky white cooking base derived from the meat of a mature coconut, and it’s a common ingredient in tropical drinks and cuisines. Coconut milk has been found to have hyperlipidemic balancing qualities as well and antimicrobial properties in the gastrointestinal tract and topically.
Creamy Coconut Chicken Soup
• 1-2 Chicken Breasts, boneless & skinless
• 2 cups Coconut Milk
• 2 cups Butternut Squash, cubed
• 1 Yellow Onion, diced
• 1 cup Celery, diced
• 2 cups Chicken Broth
• 2 teaspoons Curry Powder
• 1/2 teaspoon Garlic, minced or powdered
• 1 pinch Nutmeg
• Sea Salt and/or Pepper to taste
• Coconut Oil or Olive Oil
In a medium-large pot, cook the chicken breasts with coconut milk and a pinch of sea salt over medium heat and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Remove the cooked chicken breasts from the pot, set aside on a plate, and then shred the chicken.
While the chicken and coconut milk is cooking, in a separate medium pan, sauté the diced onion and celery with coconut or olive oil over low-medium heat until onions begin to look golden. Add 2 cups of chicken broth and the cubed squash to the pan, and simmer with the lid on for about 10 minutes or until the squash is soft. Remove the pan from the stove top, and let sit for 5-10 minutes to cool. Put the contents of the pan into a blender, and blend until smooth and creamy in texture.
In the pot with the simmering coconut milk, add the curry powder, minced or powdered garlic, a pinch of nutmeg, and a dash or two of ground pepper, and then pour in the contents of the blender and reintroduce the shredded chicken to the pot. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Once the cooking is finished, serve in a bowl, and drizzle a little coconut milk over the top, and you can add some cilantro for garnish.
Recipe via Mark’s Daily Apple
Coconut flour is a great low-carb, grain-free replacement flour for Paleo eaters. It can be used to bread chicken, bake cookies or muffins, or even to make delicious pancakes with.