The Benefits of Coconut During Pregnancy
A very trendy coconut craze is spreading and it shows no signs of slowing down. And despite some of the claims of this most recent superfood being exaggerated (or yet unfounded), I’m not complaining. Whether it’s in the kitchen or on my skin, I love the smell, tastes and feel of this versatile tropical treat. If you’re pregnant, there are a number of reasons you should be excited too.
Packed with Goodness.
Coconuts are a rich source of electrolytes and potassium – which are especially important during pregnancy. They’re also packed with healthy goodness that includes magnesium, calcium, and a range of vitamins. As a source of lauric acid, coconuts have great antiviral and antibacterial properties and support proper immune functions to help protect your and your baby’s health in pregnancy.
Some studies also connect coconut products with healthy hormone production, weight maintenance, bone health, the prevention of fatigue and a reduction in joint and muscle inflammation.
Healthy Breast Milk
Coconuts help to produce healthy breast milk. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that a single meal with coconut oil can affect the fatty acid composition of breast milk for 1 to 3 days (with the maximum increase occurring during the first 10 hours).
This cool drink is refreshing and healthy. For many, however, it is an acquired taste. So you probably won’t get much from small sips alone. Some studies suggest it helps prevent urinary tract infections, reduces the risk of kidney stones, relieves constipation and helps to promote overall digestive health. This isotonic drink is 95% water and has little sugar (just be sure you’re buying pure coconut water and not a coconut “drink”). So drink up to help prevent dehydration and exhaustion.
Coconut Milk & Cream
Coconut Milk is a great dairy alternative. It’s good in coffee, whipped up as a dessert topping (use full fat cream if doing this) and in a stir fry.
It’s also an excellent chemical free way to treat sunburn, remove eye makeup (try 1 part coconut milk and 2 parts olive oil) – which is especially good news if your skin is more sensitive during your pregnancy. (It’s also great in smoothies!)
Coconut OIl is an awesome source of “good” fatty acids. Stable at high temperature levels, it’s ideal for cooking. Its also an excellent replacement for butter and fattier oils in many recipes.
Coconut oil has an impressive shelf-life – athough, with all its uses, that’s not really an issue. It’s great for your skin, conditioning your hair and on your cuticles. Lather it on to help allow skin to stretch during pregnancy. It may help prevent stretch marks (hey, it’s worth a try), and alleviate itching caused by skin stretching, especially on the belly and breasts.
Accessible and Easy
I’m overwhelmed with the amount of recipes and tips out there for coconut products. There are books and entire sites devoted to it, so it’s pretty easy to incorporate into your daily life. If you’re unsure about anything, you can always speak to your doctor to understand the role of good fats in your diet, increased levels of lauric acid or the importance of potassium.
Have any creative uses for coconuts? Maybe a favourite recipe? Share your wisdom in the comments below!