The health benefits of coconuts

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coconuts(NaturalHealth365) Coconuts seem almost miraculous in their abilities to help us stay healthy or heal from digestive issues, but the question is….which coconut is better for us, the brown or the white ones?

Today, we are going to demystify the health benefits of coconuts and which ones are best to eat.

Brown coconut meat is just as valuable as the young soft meat as far as the medium-chain fatty acids are concerned for heart health, but the young coconut meat has one other benefit to them. They are softer in form and higher in enzymes – which tends to be better for improving digestion and nutrient absorption.

In addition, the young meat is also easier to consume, especially in smoothie form. However this meat does not and will not last as long as the harder white meat from the mature coconuts (brown), so you can store the mature meat longer. (3 weeks versus 1 week).

42 outstanding health benefits of coconuts

1. Eating coconuts will help to kill viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS, AIDS, and viral illnesses.

2. They kill bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum disease and cavities, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, and other diseases.

3. Fungi and yeasts that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, diaper rash, and other infections can NOT thrive.

4. Coconuts expel or kill tapeworms, lice, giardia, and other parasites.

5. When eating coconuts, you’ll experience a boost in energy and endurance – enhancing mental and physical performance.

6. Want to improve digestion and absorption of other nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids? You guessed it, eat coconuts.

7. Improves insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose.

8. Relieves stress on pancreas and enzyme systems of the body.

9. Reduces symptoms associated with pancreatitis.

10. Helps relieve symptoms and reduce health risks associated with diabetes.

11. Reduces problems associated with malabsorption syndrome and cystic fibrosis.

12. Improves calcium and magnesium absorption and supports the development of strong bones and teeth.

13. Helps protect against osteoporosis.

14. Relieves symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and stomach ulcers.

15. Improves bowel function.

16. Relieves pain and irritation caused by hemorrhoids.

17. Reduces inflammation in the entire body.

18. Supports and aids immune system function.

19. Helps protect the body from breast, colon, and other cancers.

20. Is heart healthy; improves cholesterol ratio reducing risk of heart disease.

21. Protects arteries from injury that causes atherosclerosis and thus protects against heart disease.

22. Helps to protect the body from harmful free radicals – which promote premature aging and degenerative disease.

23. Does not deplete the body’s antioxidant reserves like other oils do.

24. Improves utilization of essential fatty acids and protects them from oxidation.

25. Helps relieve symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.

26. Relieves symptoms associated with prostate infections and tumors.

27. Reduces epileptic seizures.

28. Helps protect against kidney disease and bladder infections.

29. Dissolves kidney stones.

30. Helps prevent liver disease.

31. Is lower in calories than all other fats.

32. Supports thyroid function.

33. Promotes loss of excess weight by increasing metabolic rate.

34. Is utilized by the body to produce energy, in preference to being stored as body fat like other dietary fats.

35. Helps prevent obesity and overweight issues.

36. Applied topically helps to form a chemical barrier on the skin to ward of infection.

37. Reduces symptoms associated the psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.

38. Prevents wrinkles, sagging skin and age spots.

39. Promotes healthy looking hair and complexion.

40. Provides protection from the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

41. Helps control dandruff.

42. Will not form harmful by-products when heated to normal cooking temperature, like other vegetable oils do. This is a great oil to use when you are cooking.

Linda Kordich answers your health questions about coconuts

Question: How can coconuts help to heal our heart when they are made of saturated fats?

Answer: Coconut water contains a powerful plethora of electrolytes, which help regulate normal heart function and are high in naturally occurring minerals plus lots of digestive enzymes. Also, extremely hydrating to our bodies, coconut foods can help us to recover from either hot weather chores (excessive perspiration) or strenuous exercise sessions. Coconut water is rich in potassium, magnesium and manganese.

The difference between saturated coconut fats and the fats from animal flesh foods or dairy products is located in the fat molecule.

Question: Why should we consume coconut water?

Answer: Coconut water is highly beneficial to the heart and a good source of hydration – as it’s rich in trace minerals (hard to find) as well as very high in enzymes. Known to help kidney stones – it’s also low in calories and has more potassium than four bananas, and super high in electrolytes.

Nothing is better for you to consume, as a liquid, than naturally sweet and delicious coconut water – which comes directly from Mother Nature’s water stream!

Question: Don’t coconuts make us fat?

Answer: Coconuts are vastly different from almost all fats in our diet. It’s due to the way the coconut fats are organized. Medium-chain fats (triglycerides) act differently than long-chain fats. Coconut fats go directly to the liver, from the digestive tract, where they are either used for energy right away or turned into ketone bodies.

For those of you who suffer from liver/gallbladder disorders, it’s best to keep your intake of coconut oils to a minimum for the first 30 days. Not more than 1 tablespoon per day for the first 30 days, and then you can consume more in the next 30 days and so on. Try to remember to drink the coconut water more often than the fats in the beginning.

Question: Where can we find coconuts in the USA?

Answer: 99% of them are being flown over from Thailand non-organic, but from what we hear most of these growers don’t use any pesticides on their coconuts because they live high up in the trees where pests can’t get to, and besides the coconuts are protected by heavy husks whereby the pests cannot puncture.

Most all grocery stores have the brown coconuts, available at all times, yet the young coconuts can usually be found at your local health food store.

How to pick, puncture and extract the meat from coconuts

Mature (brown) coconuts:

  • Dark brown (mature) coconuts should have three eyes to them. Look at them and make sure that there is no visible mold on them.
  • Make sure that the mature coconuts are brown, not grey. If they are grey in color, then you will most likely be consuming a coconut that is either too old or ridden in fungus.
  • Shake to see if there’s water inside of them. If you can hear the water, it’s good and the heavier the better.
  • if you can’t hear water, it means the coconut is not worth buying because either it’s too old, or the meat will be too dry. Remember, buying coconuts are for two reasons: the meat and the water.
  • Brown coconuts have about half the amount of coconut water in them than the younger Thai coconuts.
  • To pierce the coconut and get the water out, find the roundest and flattest hole out of the three and take a paring knife and puncture (carefully).  This will open up the hole and allow you to drain the water out.You need to pick the one hole that is flat, without the brows or ridges that will appear on two of them.

How do I crack (and extract) the meat from a mature coconuts?

1. Take a cleaver and use the butt end (not the sharp end) so turn it upside down and tap and twist and tap and twist and tap and twist – until the entire coconut splits open. It’s easy and safe this way.

2. To extract the meat, it’s tricky. I, personally, like to turn each half upside down and use the butt end of the cleaver and hit it a few times. This way, they come out in chunks and then I can use my coconut meat extractor (sort of like a bendable plastic knife) or you can use a butter knife or a pate spreader to remove it. This can be laborious – so be patient.

3. Final points: Brown coconuts cost about half the amount of the young coconuts, but their meat is not all that good for smoothies and such. They are great for snacks and for using in your Cuisinart to shred and use for toppings on foods and smoothies, as well as dehydrating them for chips, but the younger coconuts are the best for using the meat for smoothies.

Just to be clear, we don’t recommend using the mature coconut meat for smoothies. Mature coconut water is not as sweet as the young Thai coconuts.

Jay and I prefer the young coconuts to the mature coconuts because the meat is easier to use and more versatile for us. We also like to use them in smoothies. We feel that coconut meat that is younger is fresher, and the more fresh it is the more enzyme activity it has to help aid our digestion.

How to open up a young Thai coconut

1. Get a good cleaver and use it to chop four or five (octagonal) looking cuts on the top. Keep doing this until you can use your hands to peel off the top. You will either see meat (soft) straight away or you will see the water.

2. Empty the water out of the coconut and then either use the butt of your cleaver to cut open the coconut or use your hands. Take a coconut knife or a spoon and extract the meat, wash it off and then store it.

Don’t let it store for more than 48 hours. It’s alive and fresh – which means it will start to grow bacteria on it. Best to always use the meat straight away in smoothies or you can eat it.

Here’s one of our favorite smoothies – you’ll love it!

“Coconut Bliss Smoothie” – use your blender for this.

  • Extract the meat from two young coconuts
  • 1 cup coconut water and 1 cup ice
  • 8 dates (pitted)
  • 1 inch of fresh vanilla bean – scrub the inside of the bean pod
  • Blend and prepare for a heavenly delicious taste. (It really IS that good)

I know this was quite a long article – but I get lots of questions about coconuts and I hope this information helps you to enjoy the health benefits of coconuts.  Feel free to post your comments or ‘coconut experience’ below.

About the author: Linda Kordich has been married for 33 years to Jay Kordich, world renown health educator and the “Father of Juicing”. She is the co-author of their new book, Live Foods Live Bodies and teaches throughout the world on the ‘Powers of the Gentle Art of Foods and Juices’. For more information about Jay and Linda Kordich – visit:

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  • Ava Fox

    Linda, thanks for listing all the health benefits associated with the use of coconuts. I had no idea that coconuts could do all that. From now on they will be part of my diet.

    • Linda Kordich

      Hi Ava! Fantastic….glad to see you have taken the time to read the article. This is precisely why we wrote it, because the benefits from these coconuts are well worth the investment in time and effort.

  • Edna Wilson

    Does anyone know if coconut oil has the same benefits?

    • Kevin Smith

      It probably has most of the same benefits. The fatty acids in coconut oil can help rid one of pathogens and help prevent infections. There are many studies showing coconut oil reduces triglycerides, total and LDL (bad cholesterol), while increasing HDL (good cholesterol).

      Coconut Oil relieves the symptoms of Alzheimer’s patients and helps them function.

      The oil found in coconuts have been shown to be a powerful antioxidant.
      It seems that it also can boost immune function, help with digestion and regulate metabolism and is good for diabetics. Some of the benefits are attributed to the presence of antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-fungal, and anti bacteria components.

      • Steve

        Yes, coconut oil does increase HDL levels; mine went from 36 to 75 after I began liberally using coconut oil. I get mine from Tropical Traditions; their Gold Label organic VCO is produced the “old world” method and has been tested to have the highest nutritional content. I get the 5-gallon bucket. Once in a while they even have free shipping or a sale on the oil. Note that even LDL plays an important role by directing calcium into your bones. Don’t be afraid of cholesterol; it is just one molecule away from vitamin D!

  • Janet

    Does anyone have some information about the health benefits of coconut sugar?

    • Ray Fisher

      Janet, coconut sugar contains about 71% sucrose (table sugar), 3% glucose and 3% pure fructose. This means a little over three-fourths of coconut sugar is plain sugar compared with 100% of table sugar. The other quarter is made up of inulin and antioxidants.

      Inulin is a type of dietary fiber that acts as a prebiotic and helps the good bacteria in the intestine. Even though coconut sugar contains a nice amount of this, I still would not call it a health food.

  • Ilene Feldstein

    It seems like a big job to get the coconut water, can you use packaged coconut water and get the same benefits? This would be so easy to add to smoothies. Does anyone have a good brand they can recommend?

    • Linda Kordich

      Hi Ilene!

      That’s a really good question. There is a significant difference between them both. Young or Brown coconuts have not been tampered with by anybody, as you can see that their waters are nicely (and naturally) preserved. Any manufacturing company must flash pasteurize their coconut water in order to preserve it. Most of its ‘magic’ so to speak, is lost through this process; meaning its naturally occurring enzymes have been destroyed as well as many other beneficial properties it contains. However, there are some manufacturing companies (you can find the coconut water in places like Whole Foods) where they say ‘raw’ coconut water. This is probably your best bet, but they are very expensive, most likely around $3.00 to $4.00 for 8 ounces.

  • David T.

    I have many coconut palms with many coconuts. I typically drain the water and store in a refrigerator. Some times the water turns a light pinkish colorl/ I have been consuming it anyway. Is there a danger in drinking it? It sometimes gets to be 1-2 weeks old before I drink it, depending on how many coconuts I drain at a time.

    • Linda Kordich

      Hi David, most definitely we do not recommend drinking the pink water. Bacteria is growing on that water (because it has not been pasteurized whereby all the enzymes die). And because it hasn’t been pasteurized, bacteria will grow rapidly, even if it’s been refrigerated. Once it starts to turn pink, we throw it out.

  • Star

    Ok, I’m confused after the first few sentences you said… “but the question is….which coconut is better for us, the brown or the white ones? Brown coconut meat is just as valuable as the young soft meat as far as the medium-chain fatty acids are concerned for heart health, but the young coconut meat has one other benefit to them. They are softer in form and higher in enzymes – which tends to be better for improving digestion and nutrient absorption. In addition, the young meat is also easier to consume, especially in smoothie form. However this meat does not and will not last as long as the harder white meat from the mature coconuts (brown), so you can store the mature meat longer. (3 weeks versus 1 week).” So, I guess my question is… what color on the outside is the YOUNG coconut? You said “brown coconut meat” and “young coconut meat” and “hard white meat from mature coconuts”. What color are the young coconuts – and is their meat white too? I guess is my question.

    • Linda Kordich

      Hi Star, so sorry for the confusion! The Young Coconuts are ALWAYS WHITE, and the Brown (mature) cocontus are always brown, and very hard. The White Young Coconuts are usually always wrapped in plastic, and the brown ones are not.

  • jeannonkralj

    Your instruTake a cleaver and use the butt end (not the sharp end) so turn it
    upside down and tap and twist and tap and twist and tap and twist –
    until the entire coconut splits open. – See more at:
    naturalhealth365. com/health-benefits-of-coconuts-1165.html#sthash.ZOgg1wm3.dpuf
    Your instructions about using the butt end or handle end of a cleaver and then to tap on the coconut and then twist do not make sense. Twisting will not work unless you have something sharpt wedged into the shell of the coconut and therefore only then would twisting have leverage and be able to work. A blunt handle cannot insert into the shell and therefore cannot be twisted.

  • Penny Combs

    Coconuts are versatile and I think what you can come away from with this article is both mature and young coconuts are good to use. I would not worry if the mature coconuts aren’t as rich in certain substances, but that I get some in my diet.

    • Linda Kordich

      Yes Penny! Plus the mature coconuts are also half price from the white coconuts.

  • farrnaweigh

    Great article. How about some pointers on how to select a good Young Thai coconut? My local 99 Ranch Market always has them by the box so, picking a good fresh one or two can be challenging. Thanks for all your great advice.