Coconut Water vs. Coconut Milk vs. Coconut Oil

coconutThe coconut has earned a great reputation for itself lately, and rightfully so. Especially over the last couple of years, it seems everywhere you look you hear about “coconut this” and “coconut that”.

For a while, coconuts were actually given a bad rap, because of their high saturated fat content. Most people get instantly turned off when they hear the word “fat” with their food, especially when trying to lose weight, but as I discussed before, the human body needs fat in order to be healthy.

Some people are still a little doubtful and that’s completely understandable, especially since some things tend to be a “fad” and get lot of hype for not a lot of reason, and once you’re taught something it can be difficult to relearn, but there are some impressive facts about coconuts you simply can’t ignore.

The Benefits

Coconuts are rich in fibre and full of antioxidants. They’re good for your health but they’re also deliciously fragrant. Who doesn’t automatically think of relaxing on a tropical beach when you get the smell of a coconut? (even when you’re actually working away all day).

Considered a “superfood“, the coconut is antiviral, antifungal, and antiparasitic. Absolutely delicious and nutritious, everyone should include coconuts in some way in their diet. You can use the meat of the coconut, coconut water or coconut milk, or the coconut oil. What’s the difference? How can you incorporate each of these in your own life? There are a few things you need to know.

Coconut Water

Coconut water is the juice of the coconut, that liquid goodness you can hear sloshing around inside a fresh coconut. On it’s own in its natural state, coconut water is packed full of electrolytes, enzymes, vitamins, minerals and phyto-nutrients. Tender young coconuts are considered to have the finest coconut water.

You can get coconut water yourself out of a fresh coconut, or find it at most supermarkets and health food stores. It’s so tasty, and even if you’re not a fan of the coconut meat, you may still enjoy the taste of its liquid goodness. Drink it on its own, or use it in soups or marinades.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is actually the water of the coconut mixed with some of the coconut meat. This is what gives it a whiter, thicker appearance than its water counterpart. Because of the added meat, coconut milk offers some extra nutrition, including medium chain fatty acids, and saturated fat, which is the good type of fat your body needs to strive.

Coconut milk is great for adding to smoothies, or even enjoying on its own. You can also add it into rice dishes, soups and curries. Try it out in a few recipes of your own and see how even a small amount of this stuff makes a huge difference in the overall taste. Especially in the warm summer months, it’s absolutely delectable.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is the oil that is extracted from the meat of matured coconuts. As long as you use it with moderation, it’s a fantastic, heart-healthy oil you’re sure to become a fan of (I know I have). You’ve probably seen it in a ton of hair and skin products, and it is great as a soothing and hydrating ingredient. As someone with rather thin, fine (and extremely long) hair, I like to use coconut oil on its own or in a conditioning product on my hair overnight, or even just for a few hours through the day, and it’s amazing what a difference it makes. It leaves your hair feeling thick, smooth, and smelling tropically tantalizing.

Coconut oil is definitely a winner, and is even considered to “possess healing properties above and beyond that of any other dietary oils“. Try using it in place of your regular oils on occasion when cooking, for instance when baking sweet potato fries or preparing some stir-fry. Not to mention in your skin lotion, for making your own homemade mayo, or even as a massage oil.

The best drink for your body is, always has been, and always will be water. Your body is made up of about 60 percent water, so I mean it only makes sense. There is no percentage of soda pop or coffee, that’s for sure. Other liquids can also help keep you hydrated though, along with your regular water intake, and that includes coconut water and coconut milk as two of the top contenders.

It’s so important to make sure you stay hydrated through the day, and that means drinking plenty of water, but for times when you want something with a bit of flavour to it, any of these three make a great choice. They’re also packed full of electrolytes and vitamins you don’t get in water, making it a great addition to any diet. Just make sure if you’re not using fresh coconuts, you read over the list of ingredients on any coconut product you’re buying, to make sure it’s as fresh and natural (namely, without a ton of added sugar) as possible. Health food stores often have a great selection to choose from.

It’s not so much a competition between the three, because it’s easy to see after learning more about them, that they all have some impressive qualities to offer. The best idea is to incorporate them all into your day here and there, I’m sure you’ll be happy you did.

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