Coconut products are taking over the fitness world. They taste amazing and contain plenty of vitamins, minerals and healthy fats, but surely that’s not enough to earn them “superfood” status. So just what is it that makes them so good for health and fitness bods? In this post I look at some of the less obvious reasons why coconuts are king of the fruits in the fitness industry right now…
Yeah, so’s water. What’s your point?
My point is that coconut water contains naturally occurring carbohydrates in the form of sugar and electrolytes. Lower in sugar than many sports drinks, this makes it great for supping post workout to re-hydrate, re-fuel and help prevent cramping. However, look for ones with a higher carbohydrate content and added sodium if you’ve been exercising heavily, as coconut water on its own won’t provide enough to help you fully recover.
For a summery twist on the typical coconut water, try Okobay coconut ices, made from baby coconuts. They are so tasty and refreshing, and much healthier than a sugar packed Calippo!
And for an extra bang for your buck, why not try this protein coconut water from Coco Pro. It contains whey protein as well as coconut water and grape juice, for a banging 20g of protein and a really refreshing taste.
Coconuts, particularly coconut oil, contain medium chain triglycerides, which supposedly increase the rate of fat loss over time when replacing calories with them without exceeding daily caloric requirements. This and the short-term (~ 2 week) increase in metabolic rate from ingesting coconut oil, make it a great swap for other dietary fats. It also has a high smoke point, making it great for frying.
You can also use coconut oil mixed with cocoa powder and agave to make a lovely chocolatey topping for bakes. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, but mixed with liquid ingredients it’s best kept chilled.
Try this coconut oil from MyProtein, which is great value (much better than most supermarkets or health food stores!).
Medium chain triglycerides, which we’ve already established coconuts contain, have been shown to help reduce appetite over the course of the day, perhaps because of ketone bodies that are released when coconut is digested. Ketone bodies help the body break down fat when there isn’t enough insulin to break down sugar for energy, but they also reduce hunger levels.
Try coconut flour in baking, though be careful to increase liquid in the recipe as coconut flour absorbs a lot of fluid. Coconut flour is great for baking as well because it is gluten free (for those who have intolerances), it’s packed with fibre, and also contains a good amount of protein (depending on the brand, around 13g per 100g of flour). Tiana coconut flour is a good quality brand.
I also like to use desiccated coconut in baking, and in oats and snacks, and fresh or flaked coconut makes a great snack too. In fact, this recipe for Coconut Protein Balls is just amazing.
What do you think of coconuts? Are they all they’re cracked (sorry) up to be? Do you have any favourite recipes?
* Some of these products (Okobay and Coco Pro) were kindly given to me as samples to try, as always my opinion is not affected by any items gifted to me.