As we are about to travel to Mozambique I thought this next blog could be on something that is found along the beautiful coast line….Coconuts.
Coconuts are making a huge comeback as a health food, and you will find them in many forms in your local health food shops or even supermarkets. From hydrating coconut water, to coconut jerky!!
My favourite product produced from the coconut has to be its oil - it has so many uses and over 20 major proven health benefits! The coconut oil comes from the more mature coconuts which have harder flesh. This flesh is shredded and then cold pressed. The oil is a medium-chain fatty acid, which means its more easily absorbed, less likely to be stored as fat because it is processed by the liver to be used as energy. Always remember when buying coconut oil - go for the cold pressed extra virgin option, and make sure it comes in a glass jar.
I love cooking with the oil - it is one of the only oils that can be heated safely to high temperatures. Its also great for baking - and I often substitute butter for coconut oil. Another surprising use of the oil is ‘oil pulling’ where you put 2 teaspoon of coconut oil in your mouth - (it will melt quite quickly) and then start swishing it about and pushing it through your teeth. The only downside of this is you need to do it for 10-20minutes!! If you feel like your jaw is cramping up take a rest every couple of minutes. This should be relaxing - not a strenuous workout! The benefits of this are reduced cavities, kills bad breath, heels bleeding gums, helps prevent heart disease, whitens teeth and improves the immune system.
My favourite chocolate happens to also be made from coconut oil. If you haven't already tried it - do yourself a favour and buy a bar of Pana chocolate. It is quite pricey for the size of the bar - but in my opinion its 100% worth it! Otherwise keep a look out for my coconut oil chocolate recipe which will be up on the blog in the next month.
Coconut water which comes from the young green coconuts also has some amazing health benefits - from being an excellent rehydrater due to its high amount of electrolytes to large amount of potassium. In terms of a sports drink I think this is the best option out there. But remember, even though its 100% natural it does have 15g carbohydrates per 100ml. So if you are counting your macros of trying to stick to a low carb diet watch your intake!
Coconut flour is made from the dried flesh of a coconut which is the ground into a fine powder. The powder is gluten and grain free making it an excellent alternative to regular flour. Like the oil the flour also contains high amounts of Lauric acid - which has immune boosting properties. One thing to remember when baking with this flour you can’t substitute one cup of coconut flour for one cup of regular flour. Try using 1/3 cup of coconut flour for every cup of regular flour. Alternatively follow an already tried and tested recipe - there are loads of delicious coconut flour recipes online.
To me sugar is sugar - and unfortunately our bodies think the same. Our bodies process all sugar the same - be in white sugar or a ‘healthier’ version like agave. The only benefits to using this more natural form of sugar are the extra nutrients we can get from them.