Coconut Oil and Diabetes: Healthy Foods For Diabetics
Are you the one who feels that fats are bad for your health?
Do you believe in the misconception that fat makes you bulky and cause heart-related problems?
If your answer is “YES” to both the above question, then I feel sorry to say that you have fallen prey to the propaganda of a pharmaceutical company.
Not all fats are harmful to our body.
Fats have been classified into different categories and some of them are good for our health.
Normally fats are classified into:
1. Saturated Fats
2. Unsaturated Fats
3. Trans Fats
While we deal with each and every one of them in a different article, in this write-up I would like to confine to the topic of coconut which is high in saturated fat.
Coconut is a fruit found in a tropical part of the world.
Those people living in those areas depend largely on this food.
you can find a variety of dishes made up of this food and they even use coconut oil for every dish they make.
If you live in India, you must be aware that coconuts are found in southern part of the country especially in the state of “Kerala”.
Most of the people who get used to eating grains and cooking food with vegetable oil, face difficulty to visit tropical places due to their high dependency on coconut oil. Food cooked in coconut oil taste differently and one faces difficulty to get accustomed to it.
But most of the people like eating coconut as a fruit. In fact, I myself liked to be termed as “an ardent lover of coconut” which I started eating after I diagnosed with diabetes.
Coconuts are low in carbohydrate so eating it in a moderate amount will not spike your blood sugar.
But I had one apprehension.
Can its high-fat content cause any harm to my body?
Can coconut oil and diabetes combination cause any harm?
I tried to do some research after which I found that the coconut, on the contrary, is beneficial for our body. In fact, there is so much health benefit to offer that one should seriously consider incorporating coconut in our daily life.
CAUSE OF WORRY
Most people fear that the coconut is high in saturated fat which is difficult to break and raise bad cholesterol in the body.
This concern is baseless as the type of saturated fat in cholesterol is different. The saturated fat chain is much shorter than any other food and is easy to break.
Other food has a chain of around 5-30 carbon atom but coconut has a chain of 12 carbon atoms or less. So the structure of this food is quite exceptional as compared to other saturated foods and hence we should not be worried about its fat content.
Coconut has a variety of benefits to offer and the most important of them is for the diabetics.
As you must be aware by now that diabetics have problem processing carbohydrates, which cause their blood sugar to spike, damaging their internal organs.
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For diabetics, coconut can be beneficial as they are low in carbohydrates and rich in fats. So the people who are moving towards low carbohydrates food style, this food can be very helpful for fulfilling their daily energy requirements.
Apart from the above benefit, coconut has other helpful offerings like:
1. Weight Loss
Eating coconut helps you feel satiated and you don’t feel hunger for a long duration. So for the people who are heavily involved in binge eating this food can help you to feel hungry all the time and make you avoid all the junk food in the market.
For people with Type 2 diabetes, maintaining a healthy weight is essential to put blood sugar in control. Adopting food that is high in good fats and replacing it with carbohydrates can be a great deal for them.
One caution for people who are relying on high-fat diet to control their blood sugar. It’s important for you to understand that if you are following food plan which is high in fats, its become crucial for you to avoid foods which are rich in carbohydrates.
Because the concept of LCHF (low carb high fat) diet is to replace carbohydrate and burn fats to get required energy for our body. And if you are also eating high carb foods than our body will start using energy from the carbohydrate foods and the excess fats will get stored in our cells causing us to gain weight and heart problems.
So eating food which is high in carbs and fats is the worst diet you can give to your body. With high carbs and high fats diet, the extra fats do not get burnt and get stored in the body making us fat.
2. Great Source of Fibre
Coconut has high fiber content and is very useful for the digestive system. For diabetics, it is especially important as high fiber reduces the glycemic index of the food, which means food gets absorbed slowly by our stomach, thus reducing high blood sugar spikes after eating
3. Rich in Anti-oxidants
Coconut is rich in anti-oxidants and minerals such as manganese, selenium, iron and contain essential vitamins like Vitamin C and B
The anti-oxidants present in the coconut has anti-aging property. It helps our skin to remain smooth and make it wrinkle free. In fact, there are many beauty products available in the market which uses coconut oil as the main ingredient.
The cytokinin present in coconut oil delays aging of cells and increase resistance to environmental toxins. Vitamin C keeps our skin elastic and makes us look young.
So rather than depending upon fruit juices which are high in fructose, it’s better to incorporate some coconut which is not only low in calories but are also rich in anti-oxidants
5. Prevents and Treats Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
UTI is a form of bacterial infection in the urinary tract, which consists of kidney, bladder, ureters, and urethra. UTI infections are painful and are usually accompanied by following symptoms:
a. Frequent urination
b. Burning sensation while urinating
c. Cloudy urine
d. Blood in urine
e. Abdominal pain
While antibiotics are used for the treatment of this problem, you can easily avoid this infection in the first place with the help of coconut oil. The medium length fatty chain of coconut has an anti-microbial property, which prevents any form of bacterial growth in the urinary tract, thus preventing from this unnecessary problem.
6. Good for Oral Hygiene
As discussed above, coconut’s antimicrobial property also makes it a good product to maintain good oral hygiene. You can also use virgin coconut oil for treatment of mouth ulcers.
7. Maintains Healthy Hair
Coconut oil moisturize your hair and stimulates hair growth by keeping it its root strong.
In India, you can easily find coconut hair oil in your local store.
8. Maintains Bone Health
Coconut’s Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA) helps in absorption of calcium and magnesium in our body, thus protecting us from the major risk of bone-related problems in the future.
Osteoporosis (fragile bones) is a major problem among older population and is more common to women than men due to their different metabolism. Infact, my grandmother is dealing with this problem, she has a chronic knee pain and has faced multiple fractures due to her weak bones.
So, it’s advisable for women to incorporate coconut in their diet so that they can avoid this bone related issues in the future.
1. While using coconut oil for cooking make sure that it is “Virgin Coconut Oil” (Organic). There are many forms of processed coconut oil available in the market which has been processed to include transfat which is certainly not healthy for the body.
2. While cooking do not cook it at high heat, this can destroy its essential nutrients.
3. If you thinking of starting LCHF diet, make sure to depend on unsaturated fats in the first week of the diet. As all this time, your body was dependent on carbohydrates for energy, it takes some time to get accustomed to fat burning.
So initially choose fats that are easy to burn and then incorporate saturated fats like coconut.
If you are diabetic, coconut can be a great alternative to your regular high carb diet. There are lots of experimentation that can be done to make different coconut recipes, check the internet and I am sure you will find a lot of them and choose the perfect combination for the coconut oil and diabetes.
If you want us to come up with any other article of your choice, make sure to comment in the below section. Also, share the article with your diabetic peer group, your sharing motivates us to comeup with new articles