There are numerous studies that suggest that coconut possesses a wide range of healing properties. But, even though coconut is one of the world’s superfoods, do we know if it’s good for diabetes management?
The question of many people is whether should they consume coconut products if they have high blood sugar, or should they avoid them?
Coconut Nutritional Benefits
Coconuts contain high levels of naturally occurring saturated fat from short-chain fatty acids and medium-chain fatty acids like lauric acid.
The body converts the lauric acid into the beneficial compound monolaurin which fights off different disease-causing organisms. It can beat viral infections like the flu and common colds.
Other beneficial nutrients found in coconut include:
- Thiamin (vitamin B1)
- Vitamin C
The nutritional profile of coconut milk is similar to that of coconut meat. It’s high in protein, fiber, vitamins C, B, and E, and it’s even more abundant in minerals like calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and copper.
Moreover, coconut milk contains high levels of plant sterols and saturated fats with omega-6s.
There are 2 forms of coconut milk:
- A thicker form is known as coconut cream usually found in rich sauces or desserts. It contains more calories than the fluid form, so be cautious with the portion sizes. There are some types of thicker coconut milk that include emulsifiers and are heavily processed. This could be harmful to the gut and raise the chances of metabolic syndrome and obesity.
- A more fluid form that can be used as a milk substitute because of the high amounts of added water
This coconut product is high in dietary fiber which can help lower cholesterol levels as well as reduce the risk of heart disease.
In comparison with corn and wheat, coconut flour is low in carbs which is why it has a mild impact on blood sugar levels. That’s why it’s beneficial for those with diabetes.
What’s more, it’s gluten-free so it’s perfect for those suffering from celiac disease. Those with type 1 diabetes have a higher risk of developing celiac disease, so that’s another reason why they should use this coconut product.
Also, coconut flour is abundant in protein, so it keeps us satiated for longer. The protein from coconut flour is also useful for cell growth and repair.
The high levels of fiber it contains help reduce the glycemic index and load of foods baked with this flour.
The benefits of coconut oil for the skin are quite popular, but the ones from ingesting it might be even greater.
One research suggests that coconut oil can help reduce insulin resistance and waist circumference while increasing the levels of good cholesterol.
Still, more studies are needed to prove the benefits of coconut oil regarding insulin resistance, obesity, and heart disease.
This oil contains medium-chain fatty acids which are linked to weight loss, even though not a significant amount. The participants of one study lost seven pounds in four months consuming coconut oil.
Moreover, coconut oil may help reduce abdominal fat which links to heart disease. What’s more, this oil can help slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s.
One research investigating the effects of coconut oil on rats with diabetes showed that the medium-chain fatty acids it contains could improve the action of insulin and insulin resistance.
However, more human studies are needed to recommend this product as a natural aid for those with poor blood glucose control.
The very refreshing and electrolyte-high coconut oil helps in cases of hangover, nausea, and vomiting. The high levels of water and the absence of coconut flesh make coconut water low in calories and fat.
However, according to Forbes, this coconut product is not recommended for those with diabetes. That’s because it’s high in potassium which can cause hyperkalemia – high potassium levels in the blood.
Still, this conclusion is based on a single patient who consumed a liter of coconut water daily for a long time.