Crack Open The Top Benefits of Coconuts & Coconut Nectar
Coconuts have become the superfood heroes of the health and wellness world, and for good reasons. Its rugged, unassuming, husk-covered shell hides a treasure trove of healthy fats and nutrients boasting a surprising array of health benefits.
So, let’s crack open the goodness of this incredible tropical fruit (yes, it’s a fruit!) and dive into the science. You’ll soon see why coconuts, coconut nectar, and all the other wonders this multitasker produces deserve a permanent place in your clean eating routine.
Coconut 101: Nature’s Multitasking Marvel
Coconuts are the fruit of the coconut palm tree (Cocos nucifera). Technically, they’re considered drupes, like peaches. Many cultures believe coconut trees are “the tree of life” because every part of the coconut can be used.
As the poster fruit for sustainable, eco-friendly farming, coconuts give us:
Coconut Meat: Main Character Energy
Most people are familiar with the creamy, white flesh of coconuts. You can eat this fresh, dried, or shredded. It’s also what makes coconut milk, a delicious non-dairy, plant-based milk alternative.
Coconut meat is loaded with fiber, vitamins, and healthy fats — most notably, medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
Coconut Oil: The Richest Source of MCTs
Coconut oil contains up to 65% MCTs, making it the most abundant source of these super-healthy fats. These give coconut oil its outstanding health benefits and its unique properties, such as its high smoke point and tendency to stay solid at room temperature.
Coconut Water: The OG Sports Drink
Coconut water is nature’s best hydrating elixir. Packed with electrolytes (essential minerals such as potassium, sodium, magnesium, and calcium) and a bit of natural sweetness, studies suggest it can combat dehydration better than plain water.[*]
We lose electrolytes and body water when we urinate, sweat, or even breathe. That’s why hydrating with water alone isn’t enough; you should get in the habit of rehydrating with water and electrolytes.
So, What is Coconut Nectar?
Coconut nectar is the sweet sap tapped from coconut blossoms. This rising star in the natural sweetener world is gaining quite a reputation. It’s minimally processed, contains minerals like iron, zinc, calcium, and potassium, and imparts a yummy hint of caramel-like flavor.
But the biggest coconut nectar benefit? It’s one of the best natural, better-for-you sugar alternatives. It only contains a fraction of the fructose found in regular sugar. Plus, it’s low-glycemic, which means it steadily releases into your bloodstream rather than spiking blood sugar levels.
All these perks prove why coconut nectar makes a potentially weight-loss and diabetic-friendly choice over refined sugars.
4 Benefits of Coconuts and Coconut Nectar
So, why should all-things-coconut become your best friend? Here’s a snapshot of the top coconut benefits for your health and well-being:
1. Coconuts Fight Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is one of the primary drivers of aging and health conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, neurodegeneration, and more.[*]
But coconuts contain potent antioxidants and polyphenols that may fight off damaging free radicals and prevent oxidative stress that causes inflammation.
Anti-inflammatory antioxidants are another win coconut nectar has over refined sugar, making it even sweeter for your health.[*]
2. MCTs Boost Your Metabolism and Fat-Burning
Satiety is one of the best reasons to incorporate healthy fats into your diet. The combination of coconut’s healthy fats and fiber can help you feel fuller for longer, potentially aiding weight loss and preventing those afternoon sugar cravings.
Even better news? Studies show MCTs can fire up your metabolism, so you burn fat more efficiently and torch those extra calories.
In one meta-analysis of 13 trials, researchers learned that MCTs decreased participants’ body weight, waist circumference, hip circumference, total body fat, total subcutaneous fat, and visceral fat without impacting cholesterol profiles.[*]
3. Digestive Delight: Better Gut Health and Stronger Immunity
Struggling with tummy troubles? The high fiber content in coconut flesh can keep things moving smoothly to prevent constipation, bloating, gas, and more.
Research also shows that MCTs can nourish your gut bacteria, promote the growth of beneficial bacteria to conquer the bad, repair intestinal cells, and potentially reduce inflammation that causes IBD.[*]
4. Cognitive Prowess and Long-Term Brain Health
Your noggin may get the prize for the best coconut benefits. Emerging research highlights all the ways MCTs might be the fuel your brain craves.
Studies suggest that MCTs improve mental performance and boost memory — even in people with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.[*][*] They’ve also been shown to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s as you get older.[*]
🥥 Finding Your Coconut Nirvana
Coconut isn’t just for piña coladas and tropical desserts. Here are some ways to incorporate this natural food (and it’s healthy MCTs!) into your healthy routine:
- Blend coconut water into smoothies for a refreshing electrolyte boost.
- Add coconut flakes to yogurt, oatmeal, homemade trail mix, and more for a satisfying crunch.
- Use coconut oil for all your cooking and baking.
- Make coconut milk-based soups and curries for a creamy, flavorful twist.
- Swap your coffee creamer for non-dairy coconut milk.
- Add coconut oil (or MCT oil) to your coffee, tea, smoothies, and homemade salad dressings.
- Ditch the sugar and stick to coconut nectar whenever you need a touch of sweetness.
Time To Kickstart Your Coconut Craze!
The humble coconut, once relegated to beach vacations, is now a powerful staple on your health and wellness journey. From sparking your metabolism to fueling your brain, this tropical treasure is a delicious way to nourish your body and mind.
Don’t have the time, energy, or tools to crack open a coconut yourself? You can still score all the benefits with our coconut nectar-sweetened vegan protein bars. They make a tasty treat even if you’re not living the plant-based life!
Made from just 4 or 5 whole-food, minimally-processed ingredients and 15 grams of protein, Rise Bar is the simplest protein bar on the planet. We believe better nutrition fuels better health, and coconuts can help.
🏝️ Fun fact: Coconuts can float for months and even travel across oceans! Have they made their way into your pantry yet?
Author: Devan Ciccarelli