If you’re looking to build muscle mass, you might have been told to eat a lot of animal protein. However, consuming animal sources of protein has its ramifications, including several diseases such as cancer, clogged arteries, hormonal imbalances, and digestive issues such as IBS.  (1) The good news is you don’t need to eat animals to help you build muscle mass. Though commonly overlooked, coconuts are fantastic for helping you build up your muscles. Furthermore, coconut health benefits extend to other areas of the body, all of which lend themselves to your fitness goals.

coconut health benefits

Here are 7 coconut health benefits:

1. Contains Amino Acids and Protein

Coconut health benefits start with the high content of amino acids. In fact, it has 17 out of the 20 amino acids needed for optimal protein formation. Your body creates amino acids itself, so it only needs roughly 8 or 9 amino acids in order to form a protein chain. The amino acids present in coconut help protect the liver, central nervous system, and the cardiovascular system. Furthermore, to help your muscles, it builds connective tissues and maintains elasticity in the body, including in the heart.

2. Good Source of Dietary Iron

If you struggle with anemia, you should know that coconut health benefits also include a great source of iron. A half a cup of fresh coconut meat has 11 percent of your daily needs, while two tablespoons of raw coconut butter contain 6 percent. As there are plenty of other plant-based foods that contain iron, this information lends itself to the argument that it is possible to eat a vegan diet and still meet your daily iron needs.

3. Helps Keep Your Waist Trim

coconut health benefits

Coconut health benefits continue with the ability to reduce body fat in the abdominal area. The liver uses the fat in coconut for energy. Furthermore, the fat from coconut can help reduce insulin spikes in the body. This can lead to reduced abdominal fat, which is often the product of uncontrolled insulin levels.  (2) However, note that this applies only to raw unsweetened coconut, not sweetened varieties you can buy on the baking aisle.

The fiber and tryglyceride fats in coconut can boost your metabolism, as well. This is beneficial in a couple of ways. For example, it gives you energy. But it also creates a thermogenic effect in the body, increasing your calorie burning. Please note, however, that this doesn’t mean eating coconut in excessive amounts will make you lose even more weight. Consume coconut in moderation and see how it benefits your weight loss goals.

4. Good Source of Folate

coconut health benefits

You need folate for healthy metabolism and for red blood cell function. Furthermore, folate (or folic acid, the synthetic form of folate) is essential for healthy brain development in infants, and is recommended for pregnant women to avoid birth defects.  (3) Spinach, avocados, and bananas are good sources of folate. Additionally, coconut health benefits include offering a decent amount of folate. Half a cup of coconut meat has roughly 20 percent of your daily folate needs.

5. Potassium to Relieve Bloating

Coconut health benefits extend to issues with bloating, as well. This is due to the potassium content in coconuts. Potassium reduces high blood pressure, for one thing, but it also aids in water balance in the body to counteract too much sodium. This helps you become less bloated. Coconut meat has 285 milligrams of potassium in one half of a cup, and you need roughly 4,700 milligrams a day.

6. Fiber

To add to coconut health benefits, this tropical fruit is a great source of dietary fiber. This helps keep you regular, which benefits you in a few different ways. For example, it can give you energy, protect your heart, and keep your waistline slim, as well. Coconut meat has more fiber than wheat bran or any other grain, in fact.

7. Easy to Digest

Coconut health benefits extend to your digestive system, as well. This tasty fruit is easy to digest, especially in comparison to meat, eggs, and even some seeds, nuts and beans. You should aim to eat foods that are full of nutrients and that are easy on your digestive system, as what you digest from food is just as important as what you choose to eat.

Start reaping coconut health benefits by adding it to your diet today!