If you are on or looking at a Paleo diet (NOTE: I use the work “diet” in the sense of foods one habitually eats as opposed to a restrictive program to lose weight) than you are going to come across coconuts.
And it comes at you in all sorts of forms… You’ve got oil, water, milk, cream, aminos, flakes, shredded, dessicated, flour, sugar, butter, nectar, syrup….
But how good for you is it really, how much should you have and can you over do it?
Firstly, why does coconut anything seems to be the go-to wonder food in a Paleo or LCHF (Low Carb/High Fat) regime?
It’s becoming more and more accepted that a diet higher in fat (and yes that includes those saturated ones that everyone runs screaming from) is actually critical to our overall health, for nutrient transport, immune function, energy source, healthy brain function to name a few.
Coconut oil fantastic source of saturated fats (Say it after me – Saturated fats are not my enemy! Check out the research here) And it has a relatively high burning point making it ideal for cooking. It also contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCT’s) reported to hep boost metabolism, improve mental clarity and support cardio-vascular health.
Coconut milk and cream make great substitutes for dairy.
Coconut Aminos are a superb replacement for soy sauce.
Coconut flour can be used in place of wheat or grain flour – just be careful of the ratio’s as it produces a much drier baked good!
Coconut water – oh don’t get me started on this… I am just a little bit obsessed! While the jury is still out on whether it is worth the hype, it is my absolute favourite way of hydrating. I’ve never been able to stomach water, I get bloated after a couple of mouthfuls – this has been my rehydration saviour after a hard workout.
Like any tree-nut, though, people can have sensitivities to coconuts as well. And well, coconuts hold a special place in the heart of the paleo inspired so it can be easy to go a little over board. If you are sensitive all these great benefits can be found from other sources, eg Ghee or avocado oil.
And when it comes to coconut sugar…remember..it is still a sugar.. so moderation please.
What are your experiences with coconut products? Don’t forget to share!