The other white meat: Coconut for lean muscle mass
If you want to build lean muscle mass, you need to increase your protein intake. Consuming animal products have long been promoted as the best way to increase muscle mass. However, there can be significant negative side effects in taking this approach to body building.
Animal products are a great protein source, yet they also promote many health problems. Cancer, inflammation, heart disease, diabetes, clogged arteries, digestive disorders, and even hormonal imbalances can be linked to excess animal protein consumption.
Now there is a new focus on vegetarian protein sources, with coconut leading the way in healthy body building
How can coconut help build muscles and support overall health?
There are plenty of great plant proteins that are easily accessible and just as beneficial as animal proteins. When people think of high-protein botanical sources items such as lentils, soybeans, chickpeas, tofu, quinoa, peas, black beans, hemp, chia, and vegan protein powders often come into mind.
Coconuts are rarely considered, although they should be.
The original superfood
Coconuts have been used by humans for hundreds of thousands of years – for a reason.
They are enriched with protein and other nutrients. Not only can coconut help to improve lean muscle mass, it also has lots of other great health benefits, because their medium chain fatty acids are naturally antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal.
The majority of nutrients found in this fruit come from the white ‘meat’ and its oil. The meat can be consumed dry or fresh and the oil can be used for cooking, applied topically or eaten straight.
Coconut meat is packed with protein and amino acids
Although not a complete protein source, coconut comes very close. It contains 17 of the 20 amino acids that the body requires for protein development.
Coconut is particularly high in the amino acid threonine. This is needed to support the formation of collagen and protect the central nervous system, liver, and cardiovascular system.
When it comes to muscles, threonine helps to build healthy connective tissues and accelerates recovery. This is important for post-workout recovery. In every ½ cup of fresh coconut meat there is approximately 97 milligrams of threonine.
With regard to overall protein content, 2 tablespoons of coconut flour contains 3.4 grams of protein, 2 tablespoons of coconut butter contains 2 grams of protein, and ½ cup of fresh meat contains 8 grams.
Cooking with coconut oil can be beneficial for overall health. However, it doesn’t contain any significant qualities of proteinogenic protein for building muscle mass.
Other great health benefits of coconut
Supporting the development of strong muscles and increased lean muscle mass is only one of the many benefits of consuming coconut. This tropical fruit has many nutritional qualities that can also enhance other areas of health and well being
Source of iron
Iron is a very important mineral needed to support a healthy circulatory system. It optimises blood flow to the muscles and provides energy for physical activity. Coconut is a good source of this nutrient.
Six percent of your daily iron needs can be obtained in two tablespoons of raw coconut butter, while ½ a cup of fresh coconut meat will provide 11 percent of your daily requirements.
Abdominal fat can successfully be fought with unrefined, raw coconut. The liver processes coconut fat for energy, reducing insulin surges.
This can lower the amount of fat stored in the abdomen.
Metabolism is also boosted when consuming coconut. This is due to the mechanisms the body uses to digest coconut fibre and medium chain triglyceride fats. This provides the body with energy and increases calorie burning by elevating thermogenic activity.
It’s important to remember that that these effects will not be enhanced by eating excessive amounts of coconut. Instead, coconut should be used in small amounts to replace refined grains, sugary foods, and other unhealthy processed foods. A few table spoons a day is sufficient.
Folate and potassium booster
Vitamin B9, commonly known as folate, is needed to support a strong metabolism, healthy blood cells, and normal physical development. Approximately 20 percent of daily folate needs can be found in ½ of fresh coconut meat.
Potassium helps to maintain healthy blood pressure and optimal water balance in the body. The best sources of this nutrient come from fruits and vegetables. Each day the body needs 4,700 milligrams of potassium. In ½ cup of coconut there is 285 milligrams of potassium. Coconut water has a higher content of potassium, while coconut butter and flour are slightly lower.
Great fibre source
Coconut is easy to digest and an excellent source of dietary fibre. This fruit contains more fibre that wheat bran or any other grain. There is approximately 10 grams of fibre in every ½ cup of coconut meat.
How to use coconut
Since coconut is one of the most versatile foods it’s easy to use this fruit as a health protein source. Fresh coconut meat is an ideal and relatively cheap source, although not always readily available. Dried coconut, coconut water, flour and butter are also great protein sources.
You can replace normal flour with coconut flour, or add it to smoothies and yogurt. Coconut butter can be used instead of normal butter or margarine. You can add coconut water to protein shakes, and cook with coconut oil to boost nutritional value.
There are plenty of great recipes demonstrating quick and easy ways to use coconuts in everyday diets. Respected companies such as NIUGINI ORGANICS specialise in coconut products and can help people get the most value out of this remarkable tropical fruit.