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Coconut For Diabetes


Coconut is a very nutritious food that can be eaten raw or used as an ingredient in cooking. The milk of the coconut makes a very refreshing drink and is reputed to be extremely nutritious. Coconut is good for diabetes management as it has a beneficial impact on blood sugar levels. To understand how raw or tender coconut is good for diabetes management it is necessary to have some basic knowledge about diabetes.

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder where the body is unable to convert glucose or sugar that is absorbed from food, into energy. The conversion of glucose to energy requires the presence of insulin, a hormone that is secreted by the pancreas.
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In diabetes, either the pancreas cannot secrete insulin (type 1 diabetes) or the body does not utilize the insulin effectively (type 2 diabetes). As the body is unable to convert glucose into energy, the glucose remains in the bloodstream causing high blood sugar levels which has a very damaging effect on the body. Diabetics are prone to developing many other diseases like coronary heart disease and kidney disease. In fact, the majority of deaths in the case of diabetics is due to coronary heart disease.

Benefits:

Coconut meat is a rich source of nutrients and fiber. Coconut fiber helps in regulating blood sugar levels and can also reduce the risk of heart disease by helping to lower cholesterol levels. It has anti-cancer properties and acts as an aid in the digestive process. Coconut fiber helps bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract kill dangerous bacteria and also helps to expel intestinal parasites. It helps regulate blood sugar levels by reducing the glycemic index levels of foods. A small piece of coconut about 2 by 2 inches and half an inch thick will contain about 2.9 g. of net carbohydrates.

Coconut milk or coconut water too is good for diabetes. It is the refreshing clear liquid that is present in an immature nut when the kernel is green and the pulp is still soft. This water has a lot of nutrients that are very beneficial to diabetics. One cup of coconut water contains 8.9 g. of carbohydrates out of which 2.6 g. is the fiber content.   

It can help improve blood circulation, a major problem faced by diabetics that frequently causes symptoms like numbness in the feet and blurred vision. It helps to widen blood vessels and enables blood to flow freely through them. This is helpful in the case of diabetics who have developed coronary heart disease.

Coconut Water, Oil & Flour For Diabetics


Coconut water has a high fiber and low carbohydrate content that helps to control weight, an important factor in diabetes management. In addition, it contains many minerals, antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids which are very beneficial to diabetics.

Another coconut product, coconut oil is also good for diabetes. Studies have shown that while food cooked in polyunsaturated oils can slow down the metabolic rate, coconut oil can stimulate the metabolic rate and assist in the fat burning process. Coconut oil contains saturated fats unlike those found in animal products. The saturated fats (lauric acid) do not cause cholesterol buildup and are an easy source of energy for diabetics. By just substituting regular cooking oil with coconut oil, avoiding sugar and keeping fit, one can help prevent this disease from developing.

Coconut flour too is good for diabetes patients. It is made from coconut meat after extracting its oil and has lower carbohydrate content than most other flours including wheat flour and corn flour. It is a rich source of fiber and can be substituted for other types of flour. Your food recipes will require modification if you are using coconut flour. More water or liquids will be required as the higher fiber content tends to absorb more water. Coconut flour has a net carbohydrate content of 7g. per quarter cup serving. By comparison, a quarter cup of regular wheat flour contains approximately 23g. of net carbohydrates.

Coconut For Type 1, 2 And Gestational Diabetes


Coconut is good for type 1 diabetes patients. It can help in dealing with some of the complications that arise in the case of type 1 diabetes. Coconut oil helps support the body’s immune system, enhances fat burning and acts as an energy source. It contains healthy oils that can slow down the movement of food through the stomach into the intestines. This prevents the rapid spike in blood sugar levels and reduces the requirement for insulin in type 1 diabetics. Coconut is also good for type 2 diabetics. Coconut oil can help improve pancreas function, as well as increase insulin sensitivity.

Coconut water is beneficial during pregnancy and in gestational diabetes. This is a condition where women who are not ordinarily diabetic, exhibit high levels of blood sugar when pregnant. Its ability to improve insulin sensitivity and increase pancreas function helps regulate blood sugar levels in women who have high blood sugar. It also helps soothe the stomach and can help alleviate symptoms of morning sickness.
Submitted on January 16, 2014
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