Nourishment, Reconnection and the Health Benefits of Coconut
– By Danielle Roberts, Nutritionist (Bsc Human Nutrition), Energy Healer and Wellness Coach of Fuel Nutrition Ltd
Why is nourishment and reconnection to the body so important?
The present day sees more and more of us desiring to nourish our bodies when it comes to nutrition. Nourishing is the new black and the old ways of calorie counting are out. As a nutritionist, my philosophies have changed over the past couple of years from a strong focus of protein, fat and carbohydrate amounts to micronutrient density (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients), biochemical and medicinal properties of foods. It also has come to my attention in recent years that we are becoming more and more disconnected from our bodies. The more disconnected we become from our bodies the more we tend to feed into the fear of the diseases that are becoming more prevalent in our world. I believe that food only has a small part to play in the onset of disease; our toxic emotions/stresses in our lives and negative self-belief systems can do more harm.
However, the food choices we make can either be used as a tool to help us heal disease, or wrong food choices can exacerbate the disease. Natural, healthy food is really there to nourish the physical, to keep us in balance and a tool to help us heal if we are unbalanced. All of the fad diets or structured ways of eating are creating more of a disharmony in the body because we are not listening to the body, in terms of when it needs nutrients and what nutrients it needs. Take babies for example – when they are unwell they do not eat because they are intuitively listening to the body. The body is saying to them, ‘hey let’s not use energy to break down food in the digestive system or keep unnecessary systems for survival running, let’s give all the energy to the immune system to help the body heal quickly’. As adults with our busy lives, we have lost touch with what are bodies need and when they need it. The quickest way in to getting back in tune with the body is to start listening to its hunger/satiety (fullness) signals again.
It may sound simple but sometimes it is very hard to determine when we are physically hungry or psychologically hungry and when we are physically full or we think we need to keep eating. A lot of this is due to our emotions and also our social environment. During the onset of the industrial revolution someone thought it was a good idea to create breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack breaks at certain times. Now many people think this is the way our bodies are meant to be fed. However, how many of you sitting here reading this can honestly say every day you feel physically hungry for breakfast, lunch and dinner when those times roll around? I’d say a good 80% of you wouldn’t. During those times people had physical jobs and so structured meal times ensured that we replenished our energy. These days a lot of people have sedentary jobs so the amount we need and the regularity with which we need food is less. I believe that listening to the body in order to know what foods with the nutrients you need day to day is going to be the only sustainable route to regain our highest potential of our vitality.
Why coconut yoghurt is a nourishing addition to your diet and can contribute to the healing of your physical body…
Coconut yoghurt has a huge array of medicinal and nourishing benefits. Despite the name coconut, this plant-based food is actually a fruit from the drupe family; like avocados and apricots. What makes the coconut such a medicinal food is that all parts of the inside of the coconut have been used in the Pacific/Asian cultures as a survival food for many centuries. The coconut and its palm tree in ancient times (over 2000 years ago) were used for shelter, food, fuel and tools. One example of the life-saving benefits that the coconut was used for in World War 2 was coconut water. Due to the high electrolytes, it worked as a intravenous rehydration fluid when medical saline wasn’t available. However, I would not advise trying this at home! 😉 This is why coconut water is also very hydrating for us, alongside it being naturally high in potassium and natural plant sugar, to draw the electrolytes through our cellular membranes.
Coconut (containing oil/milk) is known for its many health benefits, including:
- Strong aphrodisiac and reproductive system (hormonal) balancing properties
- Restores energy and enhance the physical state of the body rejuvenating it. Partly attributed to the alkalising nature of the coconut, balancing the pH levels of the body especially if the diet and lifestyle of the person is acidic.
- Improves eye sight
- Strengthens hair follicles, controls dandruff
- Moistens and softens the skin, smoothing out the wrinkles
- Favours thyroid gland function – by balancing thyroid hormone production
- Aids to relax muscles
- Boosts the immune system, and increases the bodies resistance to various infections – through balancing the digestive system and its antimicrobial/ antiviral compounds
- Wound healing activity – through boosting the immune system
- The lauric acid (short chain fatty acid) content, normalises the cholesterol level in blood
- Lowers the risk of atherosclerosis (plaque build-up on the arteries) and other illnesses of the cardiovascular system as well as different forms of cancer
- Can act as an anti-inflammatory
Please note: It is important to always be listening to the body as you experiment with a variety of foods to help your body remain in a biochemical and energetic balance.
The biochemical properties of foods effect the way our body functions whether we believe it or not. All of the edible components of the coconut have properties in traditional Chinese medicine is that they are very cooling, yin like energy (calming and restorative). Having too many yin foods without balancing it with the yang can slow down energy production in the body. Dairy products like milk/yoghurt produced from cows milk, has a cold/yin energy which dampens the energy of the body i.e. is often linked to increased mucus production throughout our respiratory system. In comparison milk products miss the medicinal benefits of the coconut. If you are struggling to release excess weight that doesn’t serve your body, then making sure you balance a cooling food like the coconut yoghurt with a yang food like a little bit of ground up ginger sprinkled on your breakfast or snack will help to balance the energy. Ginger is a yang, energy producing and warming food, so the combination helps to balance your bodies energy. Coconut yoghurt is a great alternative for digestive issues that some people have with dairy products (i.e. lactose intolerance) and aids in the reduction in damping of the energy/life force system in the body. It’s also great for those who are vegan, in order to get a food-based source of probiotics.
Remembering how I mentioned balance of the body above – do not over dose on the yoghurt. 1 – 2 Tbsp a day is plenty. This recommendation is not because coconut cream is higher in fat – don’t buy into that fear-based education. The coconut cream used to make the coconut yoghurt is very high in medium chain fatty acids, which research suggests is great for energy that is created from fat as a food source, hence helps us to metabolism fat better. This also is why people say coconut meat is great for blood glucose balance (reducing spikes and decreasing the risk of type 2 diabetes) and is satiating (fulling). Why I recommended a range on the serving is simply for the fact that anything in excess is going to create an imbalance in the body somewhere. You will know if you have overdosed anyway because you may feel a bit queasy or you will feel sleepy/irritable. Those who have liver or gall bladder issues need to be mindful of the amounts they have as they can find it harder to digest fat. Bile, the substance that digests fat, is made in the liver and then stored in the gallbladder (to be released when we eat foods containing fat). If you are not able to digest fat very well your stools will be loose and have more of a yellowy tinge to them.
Start your year off with the aim of discovering your true health and happiness.
Experiment with what nourishing foods fit your body’s biochemical/energetic needs to help you feel the best you can be. Remember to include other non-physical components of health and wellness which compliment you nourishing your body with the food Mother Nature has provided for us.
Eat with love,
Have you found a way to optimise your own health using the amazing powers of coconut?
Share your tips and tricks on our Facebook Page or use the hashtag #raglancoconutyoghurt on Instagram!