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NUTRITION CORNER: Coconut – the tree of Life

The coconut (scientific name, Cocos nuciferais) is known all over the world not only for its delicious taste but also for providing a nutritious source of meat, juice, milk, and oil that has nourished people for generations..

A study undertaken on the health benefits of coconut revealed that a cup of serving of shredded coconut contains 283 calories of which 224 of them come from fat. There are also 27 grams of fat in a serving of coconut, of which 24 grams are saturated fat and the rest are monosaturated fat and Omega-6 fatty acids, which health authorities said are beneficial to the body. Over 50 percent of the fatty acids in coconut come from lauric acid, which is antiviral and antibacterial and helps in fighting off infection.

Coconut contains only 16 mg. of sodium and no cholesterol and that a serving of coconut has 22 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber and 5 grams of sugar.

Coconut contains 60 percent of the recommended daily intake of manganese, 11 percent of the recommended intake of iron, 9 percent of phosphorus and 8 percent of potassium.  It contains also trace amounts of other nutrients such as zinc, calcium and magnesium. It is a rich source of protein making it a healthy food for those who want to gain weight and for body builders who want to build muscles.

As a traditional medicine, coconut is known to treat numerous health problems such as  asthma, baldness, bronchitis,  constipation, cough, dysentery, fever, gonorrhea, irregular or painful menstruation, kidney stones, malnutrition,  scabies, scurvy, skin infections,  syphilis, tuberculosis, tumors, typhoid, ulcers, and other conditions.

Studies in medical journals have unlocked the secrets to coconut’s amazing healing powers such as the following:

Kills viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS, AIDS, and other illnesses; bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum disease and cavities, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, and other diseases; and fungi and yeasts that cause infections such as ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, diaper rash.

It reduces symptoms and problems associated with pancreatitis, malabsorption syndrome and cystic fibrosis; helps relieve systems associated with diabetes, prostatic hyperplasia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

It supports and aids immune system function; helps protect the body from breast, colon, and other cancers; improves cholesterol ratio reducing risk of heart disease and protects arteries from injury that causes atherosclerosis and thus protects against heart disease.

It helps to protect the body from harmful free radicals that promote premature aging and degenerative disease, and against kidney disease and bladder infections.

No wonder that coconut is called the “tree of life”.#