Is Coconut India’s Superfood?
Superfoods have been gaining a lot of popularity these days. Fitness enthusiasts and health bloggers can’t seem to stop preaching the benefits of these superfoods, and Instagram feeds of nutritionists are filled with the pictures of them. For those who are trying to improve their health, the concept of a superfood might be very appealing.
But what is a Superfood? Is it another fancy term invented by health food companies to generate more sales, or are there certain food items that are genuinely healthier and more nutritious than the rest? Let’s find out.
Coconut isn’t one of these new-aged fads that a few Brooklyn hipsters discovered while trying to branch out from kale juice
SO WHAT IS A SUPERFOOD THEN?
While many foods claim to be superfoods, there isn’t in fact any separate food group called ‘superfoods’ and hence there is no way to define, identify or validate a superfood. However, in general terms, a food item is considered to be a superfood if it has very high levels of nutritional density, along with plenty of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants, together with being relatively low in calories. Essentially you are looking for a high nutrition to calorie ratio. This definition of superfoods has been accepted widely by many renowned nutritionists and researchers. So by this definition, coconut is definitely a superfood.
But the coconut isn’t one of these new-aged fads that a few Brooklyn hipsters discovered while trying to branch out from kale juice and açai smoothies. The coconut has actually been eaten as a superfood in India for as long as anyone can remember, which by Indian standards is a very long time indeed.
INDIA’S RELATIONSHIP WITH THE COCONUT
In Indian mythology, the coconut tree is referred to as Kalpavriksha – the wish-fulfilling divine tree of life. It takes this very grand title because of the usefulness of coconut in totality: every part of the coconut tree is useful to mankind. Coconut water, the refreshing natural drink is sipped directly from the raw fruit. Grated or desiccated copra is used to make a variety of dishes, and the oil extracted from the fruit is one of the healthiest options for frying and cooking. Even the shells, leaves and trunk of the tree is used to make handicrafts, brooms, and even cabins & huts. It is in fact one of the only plants in the world that can sustain human life indefinitely without even a source of fresh water.
In India, coconut is consumed in every form since the beginning of civilization. It's high time that we acknowledge the significance of this multi-beneficial drupe.
DOES COCONUT MAKE THE NUTRITIONAL CUT?
So where does the coconut stack up on the superfood chart? Coconut can be consumed in various forms and each part it carries a different nutritional benefit. The water from the centre of the coconut is referred to as a ‘natural isotonic’, meaning that the balance of essential salts - or electrolytes - matches the concentration levels that you find in your bloodstream, so drinking more and more coconut water neither dilutes your body’s salts (like water) nor increases the concentration (like most juices and soft drinks).
When it comes to the pure coconut oil that is pressed out of the flesh, we find ourselves with some kind of a wonder product (a superfood you might say?): coconut oil naturally contains a high level (over 50%) of medium chain fatty acids, commonly referred to as MCTs. These MCTs have several health benefits for the body, such as increasing good fats in your body, balancing gut bacteria, aiding ketosis, and even acting as an antibacterial on your skin. Not to mention coconut oil is incredibly moisturising and is great for your skin and hair.
So as far as superfood claims go, coconut is right up there with the best of the best. Very few other superfoods come close when it comes to the diversity and complexity of coconut’s nutritional benefits.
If you have decided it’s time to get more coconut in your life, you can get over to cocofly.co and pick up a bottle of our Extra Virgin Coconut Oil and a case of our Coconut Water. For more information about the benefits of the coconut, make sure you subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media @drinkcocofly.