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Coconut for wellness

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The delicate flavor and distinctive aroma of coconut is appreciated by all, whether in sweet cakes or in the curry soups famous in India and the paradise islands.

Oil or cream, milk or powder, water or pulp, … the extracts and by-products of the multi-purpose coconut make this large ball a source of food and a refreshing drink, attracting the interest of nutritionists and the various food and cosmetics industries.

Coconut, though widespread and famous, is not universally acclaimed for its health benefits. To discern the true from the false, we’re going to take a closer, objective look at its qualities.

Coconut facts

Common name : Coconut, coconut, copra, fruit of the coconut palm.

Scientific name : Cocos nucifera, from the Palmaceae family.


Origin: probably from the tropical countries of Southeast Asia. As the fruit is able to float, it probably took to the sea and spread to several countries between the tropics. This is probably why coconut is available all the time and almost everywhere.

The different uses and benefits of coconut

Known for centuries, the coconut tree has provided humans with food, oil, water and beauty products. In some cultures, it has been dubbed the “tree of life” or “tree of a hundred uses”.

This reputation is well-deserved, as coconuts continue to provide by-products for both natural and industrial uses. It’s even gaining more and more notoriety, prompting scientists to experiment with it in several health fields.


Coconut oil is famous for nourishing skin and hair. Its fatty acids have a strong affinity for penetrating hair, and the oil is highly effective in combating lice by suffocating them without the need for pesticides, which are not recommended for children.

Coconut milk is an excellent make-up remover, effective and gentle, and can be prepared at home without preservatives or allergenic additives.

Coconut powder is an excellent natural exfoliant. Its slight roughness removes impurities and dead skin cells without harming the skin, and it’s easy to prepare at home without the addition of chemicals.

For all these cosmetic products, which require small quantities of product, we strongly recommend using organic products that are easy to find in specialized stores.


Coprah oilor coconut oil has long been used as the main fat in Indian and Sri Lankan dishes. Its density and resistance to heat make it ideal for frying without burning.

This oil is also used in pastries and cakes in these regions. The dried, grated flesh is used to make sweet treats, known in the West as coconut boulders.

Coconut milk and cream are extracted from the still-fresh husk and subtly flavour soups, stews and spicy dishes typical of the Pacific and Indian regions, and recently discovered and adopted in Western kitchens, which are discovering the added taste and creaminess of these products.

The flesh : Fresh or dried, in chunks, flakes or powder, it’s famous for its beautiful white color, unique smell and taste. It can be used in salads, and of course to make the delicious macaroons so sought-after in French cuisine.

Coconut water : This is undoubtedly the most interesting part of the coconut, but it is not widely available, since it is only found in the immature fruit.

The image of tourists drinking directly from a still-green ball of coconut with a straw is the best advertisement for the benefits of this precious water. Coconut water is very rich in minerals that quench thirst and provide energy, ideal for hydrating after physical exertion.


Coconut is a fruit rich in several nutrients that offer the consumer a balanced intake of lipids, fiber and antioxidants, which combine to make coconut a health food.

Improved transit : Thanks to its insoluble fibers, which are not assimilated by the body, coconut combats constipation and offers intestinal comfort, drawing many toxins out of the body at the same time.

Appetite control : Fiber has an undeniable effect on reducing cravings. By providing a feeling of satiety, excessive recourse to food is reduced.

Coconut fruit

Effect on diabetes mellitus: Some natural foods are enriched with coconut flour. This has the effect of lowering the glycemic index thanks to the flour’s high fiber content, which is conducive to better glycemic control.

Effect on weight loss: Without going so far as to consider coconut as a slimming product, it can be said that the particular fat content of coconut does not lead to an excessive caloric load. It should therefore be considered as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

These fatty acids have a chemical peculiarity: they are made up of medium chains, and chemists give this type of lipid fewer calories than other conventional fatty acids.

Coconut composition


Coconut is a major source of fats used in human nutrition in many countries where coconuts are abundant and cheap.

Most of these lipids are saturated fatty acids! On this basis, it is accepted that consumption of coconut oil could induce a rise in LDL, the bad cholesterol.

All medical studies have shown a direct relationship between excess consumption of saturated fats, mainly from animal fats, and the incidence of cardiovascular disease caused by a defective ratio between good and bad cholesterol.

Coconut oil would not normally be included in a balanced diet. But its lipids are special, and even though they are part of the saturated fatty acids, their composition is particular.

For a start, half the fatty acids in coconut are lauric acid, which is no less than the essential saturated fatty acid in breast milk! This fatty acid, although saturated, does not increase the risk of coronary heart disease.

What does science have to say? The choice between saturated fatty acids or trans-fatty acids (very common in industrial baked goods), is quickly made: it would be better to consume lipids that have not been transformed or hydrogenated, and in the best situation unsaturated fatty acids are best recommended.

We then discover that whole coconuts contain other compounds with a blood lipid-lowering effect. It therefore appears that coconut, consumed in moderation as part of a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, is beneficial to cardiovascular health.


Coconut has a moderate protein content, higher than that of most plants, and is rich in arginine, an amino acid involved in lowering blood lipids.


Coconut is rich in iron, essential for the synthesis of red blood cells. Like all vegetable iron, it is less well assimilated than animal iron. However, this absorption can be improved by consuming a good source of vitamin C at the same time.


Coconut is an excellent source of copper, which is essential for the synthesis of hemoglobin and collagen, which helps repair damage to body tissues.


Fresh coconut kernel and milk are rich in manganese, a trace element that helps eliminate free radicals and is an important factor in the enzymes that regulate various metabolic reactions.


Constituent of cell membranes and essential for bone health.


Coconut contains a high level of potassium, helping to maintain various metabolic exchanges, in addition to its recognized effect on heart health and muscular contractions.


With a respectable content, coconut helps destroy the notorious free radicals, and maintains the balance of thyroid hormones. Selenium is responsible for activating these hormones, which are involved in weight regulation, among other things.

Group B vitamins

These vitamins are essential for the various reactions that provide the body with energy.

  • Vitamin B3: helps extract energy from carbohydrates, lipids and proteins.
  • Vitamin B5: involved in metabolism for the synthesis of steroid hormones.
  • Vitamin B6: involved in the transformation of glycogen into glucose, helps red blood cells function better and improves oxygenation of the body.

How should coconut be consumed, and at what dosage?

Coconut milkWidespread in many countries, coconut is consumed daily by Indians and people in Southeast Asia and the Caribbean islands. Consumption is less common in the West.

To make the consumption of coconut useful and to benefit from its nutrients without excess, it is necessary to consume the fruit fresh, which can be bought in supermarkets. Remember to shake the fruit to ensure that it still contains water: this is the guarantee of good quality and a supply of nutrients and minerals.

Coconut oil is easily counterfeited. For safe use, choose virgin oil extracted by simple pressing, rather than industrial oils with added solvents and no guarantee of quality or origin.

Coconut flakes and powder are sold in sachets or in bulk. Smell the powder, which should give off a nice coconut scent, not that of an oil that has gone rancid. Also, look for a white powder with no brown spots, a sign that the product is not the freshest.

Finally, coconut can be included in certain dietary supplements to benefit from its fiber and mineral content. In this case, be sure to choose a trusted supplement that guarantees top-quality ingredients.

Last updated on 23 March 2024.
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