Coconut which is often regarded as the ‘holy’ fruit in Indian Hindu Mythology actually comes with many incredible health benefits. Coconut is the fruit of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) whose meat and water has been used in almost every Indian ritual for decades. The South Indian state of ‘Kerela’ is blessed with the highest number of coconut trees and coconut production. Other major coconut growing states are Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh with more than 90 percent of area and production. Moreover, coconuts have been grown in tropical regions for more than 4,500 years but recently saw an increase in popularity for its flavor, culinary uses, and potential health benefits. But very few people know that coconut can actually help in controlling major diseases like diabetes, heart health and promote blood sugar control.
Let’s know about the unknown health benefits’ of coconut.
It's highly nutritious than you think
The coconut meat and water contains protein, several important minerals, and small amounts of B vitamins. However, they’re not a significant source of most other vitamins.
Moreover, the minerals in coconut are involved in many functions in your body. Coconuts are especially high in manganese which is essential for bone health and the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and cholesterol.
Here are the nutrition facts for raw and dried coconut meat.
Raw coconut meat Dried coconut meat
Calories 354 650
Protein 3 grams 7.5 grams
Carbs 15 grams 25 grams
Fiber 9 grams 18 grams
Fat 33 grams 65 grams
Copper 22% of the DV 40% of the DV
Selenium 14% of the DV 26% of the DV
Magnesium 8% of the DV 23% of the DV
Iron 13% of the DV 18% of the DV
Coconut is Good for Heart Health
As per reports, consuming virgin coconut oil, which is extracted from dried coconut meat, may reduce belly fat. This is especially beneficial because excess belly fat increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
As per reports, a study in 20 people with obesity found the waist size of male participants decreased by an average of about 1 inch (about 3 cm) after they consumed 1 ounce (30 ml) of virgin coconut oil daily for 4 weeks. The female participants did not experience a significant reduction.
Coconut Promotes Blood Sugar Control
As coconut is low in carbs and high in fiber and fat, so it may help stabilize your blood sugar. The report says that the high fiber content of coconut meat can also help slow digestion and improve insulin resistance which can help regulate blood sugar levels as well.
Coconut Contains Powerful Antioxidants
As per reports, coconut meat contains phenolic compounds, which are antioxidants that may help protect cells from oxidative damage. The main phenolic compounds identified include.
Enhance Your Skin and Hair Health
It’s not a new thing to tell. Coconut water helps you to get healthy hair and skin and Malayali people are a bright example of that.
Cold and cough are very common in winters and they are very annoying. Cough and cold infections usually get better within a couple of days or sometimes weeks without any treatment. By taking little precautions and by following a healthy diet plan you can easily get rid of cough and cold this winter. All you need to know is - foods or drinks to eat and avoid during cough and cold. So let's begin
What to Eat in Cough and Cold - Fruits & Vegetables
There are many fruits and vegetables that are really very helpful in curing cold and flu infections. Here are some of them;
'An apple a day keeps the doctor away' is not just a saying; this fruit actually helps in preventing illnesses like common cold. Apple contains phytochemical antioxidants, as per a study published in the Nutrition Journal. These antioxidants help improve your immunity and also reduces the risk of chronic diseases.
It must be noted that Vitamin C plays a vital role in supporting your immune system. According to studies, bell peppers can also help get rid of cold quicker and faster. People usually turn to oranges to get vitamin C intake but don’t forget that peppers too has a generous amount in it. They are very versatile and can be easily included in your diet in form of salads, pasta dishes etc.
Blueberries are full of antioxidants that are well-known for their anti-aging effects. But, antioxidants are also helpful in protecting your body from infection & diseases and hence they are the perfect remedy to cough and cold.
Spinach is a healthy vegetable and is said to be great for your overall health. It is not only packed with digestion-regulating fiber, but spinach also contains vitamin C. And as we told before also that Vitamin C is a powerful nutrient that can help in preventing common cold & help reduce symptoms of sickness.
Eggs, particularly the yolks, contain high immunity-boosting nutrients. Eggs have high amount of vitamin D - a vitamin that is very important in regulating as well as strengthening immunity.
Garlic is known as one of the best cold-curing foods. It is a powerful antioxidant with antimicrobial, antiviral & antibiotic properties. For cold and cough, garlic also offers decongestant & expectorant effects.
You can also drink fluids like
Honey and lemon tea
Food to avoid in Cough and cold
Fried snacks such as nuggets, pakoras and chips are high in fat and is not good for health. If you consume these fried snacks on regular basis then it will make your immune system weak. Hence avoid all fried items when you are having cough and cold.
Caffeinated drinks has to be avoided when you have cough and cold as they are dehydrating. Caffeinated drinks that you should not drink include coffee, energy drinks, cola drinks and tea.
Alcohol is never good for health but during cold and flu it worsens your health. Alcohol too is a dehydrating drink and that's why it should be avoided. Moreover, it affects the working of the immune system & drinking too much of alcohol makes you more likely to get infection.
Milk and dairy
It is said that milk & dairy products increases congestion and hence it must be avoided during cough and cold. Dairy products such as curd, butter etc raises the intensity of mucus. When you eat dairy products in cold and flu, there will be more mucus production that will further lead to breathing problem & headache.
Colds and flu are particularly common in winter. More than 200 viruses cause the common cold.
Flu (influenza) is caused by a different group of viruses and is a far more severe health condition that can lead to death.
Antibiotics are not a suitable treatment for colds and flu because antibiotics target bacteria, not viruses.
Take steps to protect yourself from colds and flu this season.
To do this you need to:
1. get immunized and protect yourself from flu
2. cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze,
or use your inner elbow
3. throw tissues in the bin after you use them
4. wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you
cough or sneeze
5. use alcohol-based hand sanitizers
6. clean surfaces and objects such as doorknobs, keyboards and
7. avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth as germs spread this way
try to avoid close contact with people who have a flu-like illness.
If you have flu-like symptoms you should:
1. stay home from work or school
2. limit contact with other people to keep from infecting them.
No treatment will cure your cold, or make it go away more quickly, but if you get plenty of rest and stay hydrated you can expect to recover quicker.
Taking paracetamol will help to relieve your headache, muscle aches and reduce your fever.
It’s important to check the active ingredients on your medications and be careful you don’t double dose (many colds and flu medicines have paracetamol as an active ingredient).
Discuss medicines with your pharmacist or doctor before using or giving to children to make sure they are safe.
The flu vaccination can help to protect you against getting the flu.
Whether you’re seeking winter sun in the north, or (trying to!) stay warm in the south; it’s important to keep up your healthy eating habits and get your 30 minutes of physical activity a day.
So, keep your heart healthy with these 7 healthy tips for winter.
1. Enjoy winter seasonal vegetables and fruit
Grapefruit, kiwifruit, mandarins and oranges are all delicious and in season over winter. Try involving fruit in your breakfast if you’re not already, and add an extra serve of vegetables to each main meal. Broccoli, carrots and cauliflower are great winter vegetables, particularly for soups.
2. Take time for tea
Drinking tea dates back to ancient China, and in recent years the spotlight has been on its health benefits. Black and green tea are rich in plant chemicals, some of which are called flavonoids, which have antioxidant effects. In studies of people who drink tea regularly, their blood vessels were healthier and their risk of heart disease lower. Of course, many people who drink tea do other healthy things too, like eating more vegetables and doing more exercise so it can be hard to pinpoint the effect to tea-drinking alone. But why not take on all of these healthy things this winter: more vegetables, taking time to enjoy tea, and going for a walk every day.
3. Stews, casseroles and leftovers
A great winter warmer! Make your casseroles and stews with lots of vegetables to boost your meals with heart healthy foods. When cooking stews and casseroles remember to trim fat off meat before cooking and add kidney beans, chickpeas, soy beans or lentils for fibre, and use reduced salt stock. Making extra means lunch is sorted too. For winters desserts, stew some fruit and save some for breakfast for the next day.
4. Perfect your portions
Winter is a great time to re-think the size of your meal, especially with foods such as rice, pasta and potatoes which, while delicious, can be easy to over-serve. Choosing a healthy amount for you can help to manage your weight, and free up space on your plate for more vegetables! Try using smaller plates when dishing up and waiting 20 minutes before heading back for seconds.
5. Get active indoors
Join a team or a physical activity program. There’s lots of indoor activities to embrace over winter, such as yoga, bowling, dancing, soccer and so on. The key is making your winter activity enjoyable and social. Try out your local indoor swimming pool; if you’re not a great swimmer try some simple aerobics moves in the shallow end.
6. Sit less
Get active around the house. Don't want to miss your favourite show? Try jogging or skipping on the spot or even just stretching while you watch. Try getting active gardening, cleaning, washing the dog or dancing. Have fun getting physical in the comfort of your warm home. Use an activity tracker to make sure you’re still getting your steps up. Set a target to achieve the same amount of steps you would complete over the warmer months.
7. Rug up
Keep an eye on the weather and if it’s not raining, get out outside and go for it. Once you get moving you’ll warm up. When you’re out and about look for incidental ways to exercise walk or cycle to the local shops instead of driving the car. Use the stairs instead of the lift or escalator.
1. Give lip service.
Thirty minutes of making out can improve allergy symptoms. Research shows that kissing reduces the amount of chemicals your body releases in response to allergens.
2. Turn up the heat on your sheets.
Bedding contains thousands of dust mites that can irritate sensitive skin and exacerbate eczema, according to a new study. Wash sheets in H2O that's at least 140 F. to make sure you kill the critters.
Getting plenty of calcium and vitamin D can decrease your risk of developing a stress fracture by 20 percent. Active women should strive for 1,000 IU of vitamin D and 2,000 milligrams of calcium daily to keep their bones strong, experts say.
4. Get your head examined.
Melanomas found on your scalp or neck almost double your risk of dying compared with those detected elsewhere on the body, report researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. Because they're often hidden by hair, malignant moles and other skin abnormalities are typically detected too late for treatment to be effective. See your MD for an annual skin check.
5. Clean up your mouth.
Two ounces of yogurt a day (the typical container holds six ounces) may protect you from gum disease, a recent study in the Journal of Periodontology shows. The "good" bacteria in yogurt helps fight germs in your mouth.
6. Play red light, green light.
For increasing your endurance, four to six 30-second bursts of all-out cardio are just as effective as up to an hour of training at a lower intensity. Short on time? Use intervals to get stronger more quickly.
7. Reboot your brain.
Mundane tasks, such as entering data into a spreadsheet, can switch your mind into default mode, making you more likely to mess up within about 30 seconds, scientists say. Feel like you're operating on autopilot? Snap out of it by going for a quick walk down the hall.
8. Debug your desk.
As many as 283 species of bacteria can thrive in ordinary office dust, including nasty streptococcus, the main cause of strep throat, and staphylococcus aureus, which can lead to MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant staph infection, according to a recent report. Wipe down your workstation, keyboard, and phone regularly with a disinfectant such as Formula 409 Antibacterial All-Purpose Cleaner or Lysol All-Purpose Cleaner.
9. Shrug it off.
Strengthening your trapezius muscle, which runs from your shoulders to your neck and upper back, can reduce chronic neck pain by up to 80 percent.
Get shoulder shrugs and other shoulder soothing exercises here
10. Juice your looks.
A diet rich in vitamin C and linoleic acid (a fatty acid found in many vegetable oils) can reduce the appearance of wrinkles, dryness, and thinning skin, according to a study.
Tips 11-20: Control Cravings, Fight Off Illness, and Stand Taller
11. Get sappy.
Spending just 30 minutes a day consciously thinking of a loved one can promote mental and emotional well-being, say University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers. Cultivating the feeling of love and compassion stimulates the brain to make new connections and neural pathways.
12. Chill out.
Just two to three minutes under cool water in the shower can boost your mood. The cold may cause the brain to release feel-good hormones.
13. Go slo-mo.
Doing tai chi regularly not only improves your endurance and flexibility but may also help control blood sugar and improve your immune system. The exercise increases levels of certain bacteria-fighting T-cells in your body, research shows.
14. Be a dairy queen.
Women on a low-calorie diet who took supplements to up their calcium from 600 milligrams a day or less to 1,200 milligrams a day lost an average of 10 pounds more than those who didn't boost their intake, according to a new study. Your brain may be able to detect low calcium levels in the body and tries to compensate by increasing your appetite for foods rich in this mineral, experts say. Skim milk, low-fat cheese, and fortified OJ are all good sources.
15. Straighten up.
Tension in your neck may affect how your body regulates blood pressure, animal studies indicate. At work, sit with your back firmly against your chair, your feet on the floor, your knees slightly higher than your hips and your chair close to your desk.
16. Go green.
Drinking green tea with your antibiotics helps the medication destroy harmful bacteria up to three times more effectively, researchers found.
17. Grab some garbanzos.
People who regularly consume beans typically weigh six pounds less than those who don't, even though they take in more daily calories. Researchers believe this may be because the legume eaters get more fiber but consume less fat, especially saturated fat, than those who shy away from beans. Throw a handful into salads, soups, or pasta sauce for an extra boost of protein and fiber.
18. Chomp cravings away.
Chewing gum after lunch can curb hunger, a recent study shows. But pick your stick carefully. Ingesting too much sorbitol, a common ingredient in sugar-free gum, can cause diarrhea and abdominal pain. We like sorbitol-free Ice Breakers Ice Cubes White sugar-free gum.
19. Reach new heights.
Wearing a pair of moderately high heels (2 to 2 1/2 inches) can strengthen your pelvic-floor muscles, which can improve your sex life.
20. Munch a bunch.
About one cup of red grapes a day can help suppress the abnormal cell formation that leads to most types of breast cancer, according to a recent study in Cancer Prevention Research. Resveratrol, a natural compound found in grapes, grape juice, and red wine, may prevent estrogen from reacting with DNA molecules, which can lead to cells becoming cancerous, scientists say.
Tips 21-31: Eat Better, Relax, and Get Your Game On
21. Run for your life.
Joggers have a 40 percent lower risk of dying than people who don't lace up their sneakers, according to Stanford University researchers. Runners are less likely to have cardiovascular problems or develop disabilities as they age. Motivate yourself to become fit by training for a 5K.
Get our beginner-friendly six-week training plan
22. Be cuckoo for coconut.
An oil high in fatty acids made from coconut oil has been shown to burn fat and promote weight loss, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. People who consumed four to five teaspoons of this type of oil (in baked goods and through cooking) every day for 16 weeks lost almost four pounds more than those who used olive oil.
23. Get crackin'.
Adding one egg a day, yolk and all, to your diet can increase good HDL levels without increasing bad LDL cholesterol levels. Low levels of HDL have previously been linked to memory loss.
24. Strike a pose.
Relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation help your body beat the symptoms of stress before they harm your health, according to researchers at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.
25. Tap into the magic of mushrooms.
White button mushrooms can boost your immune system by improving how your T-cells work, according to recent preliminary studies. T-cells are the white blood cells that help protect your body from harmful intruders.
26. Try the silent treatment.
Being exposed to just 35 decibels of noise (about the sound of people talking softly) while in bed could raise your blood pressure by six or seven points, according to a recent study. Snooze more peacefully by investing in a white-noise or sound machine like the Obus Forme Sound Therapy Relaxation System ($30, amazon.com).
27. Get your game on.
Playing video games with a lot of action sequences can sharpen your visual skills by 20 percent, according to research from the University of Rochester in New York. A fun game to try: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Anniversary for Wii ($30, amazon.com).
28. Hit the sauce.
People who munch on apples, eat applesauce, or drink apple juice are 27 percent less likely to develop metabolic syndrome — a combination of health problems, such as increased blood pressure and blood-sugar levels, that can lead to heart disease and diabetes, research shows. Other studies suggest that eating apples may reduce your risk of breast cancer.
29. Take a nature break.
Heading outdoors for 30 minutes when the sun is shining can make you happier and improve your brain's ability to process new information, according to a study at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics.
30. Go, go, go!
If you feel the urge, race to the restroom. Having an overly full bladder can increase stress on the heart, upping the odds of a heart attack in those at risk, a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology shows.
31. Fly away.
Women who take at least two vacations a year are more happily married than those who rarely get out of town, because they are less likely to be depressed, tense, or tired. Book your summer trip now.