The Other White Meat: Why You Should Eat Coconut for Strong Muscles and More
So you want lean muscle mass, eh? Then put down that burger and listen up! Regardless of all that propaganda out there telling you that beef is the best way to increase your muscle mass or that egg whites and chicken are foods you should eat to get lean, those health hypes couldn’t be further from the truth. While animal products are a source of protein, they also come with a major price. Inflammation, cancer, heart disease, clogged arteries, diabetes, chronic digestive problems, and even some hormonal problems have all been tied to animal protein intake.
Why Coconut is Packed With Benefits for Your Muscles and More
We all know we need protein to maintain lean muscle mass, even if that’s not as much as bodybuilders eat. Plant proteins are easy to come by and your body can use these proteins just as well as it can animal proteins. Not only are plant proteins easy to prepare, but they’re also delicious and sustainable.
Along with popular options like lentils, chickpeas, black beans, soybeans (edamame), peas, chia, hemp, tempeh, quinoa, tofu, and vegan protein powders, we should also be considering adding another food to our plates to pump up our muscles: coconut. That’s right – the tropical fruit most of us relate to just an exotic healthy fat source is actually packed with nutrients that improve lean muscle mass and support the overall body.
The important thing to remember is that the whole coconut meat is what we’re referring to – not just the oil. Coconut oil may come with some benefits, especially when applied topically,but it’s largely still a refined food. It’s fine to bake with it occasionally or use in place of butter to coat a griddle pan, but don’t rely on it as a fat source alone. Opt for whole coconut meat that’s either fresh or dried, which is where most of the nutrients are found.
It’s Armed With Amino Acids and Protein
Coconut may not be a complete source of protein, but it’s still packed with amino acids. Containing 17 amino acids out of the 20 amino acids needed for optimal protein formation, it’s particularly high in threonine, an amino acid needed to protect the liver, central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and to support the formation of collagen in the body. For your muscles, it builds connective tissues and maintains elasticity in the body, even in the heart. Threonine also supports healthy tooth enamel, and it speeds up healing from wounds or injuries throughout the whole body. Coconut contains almost 97 milligrams of threonine in 1/2 cup of fresh coconut meat, and while coconut is not the highest source of all foods (watercress actually is), that’s still pretty impressive for a fruit! In terms of overall protein content, there are 3.5 grams of protein in 2 tablespoons of coconut flour, 8 grams of protein in 1/2 cup fresh meat, and 2 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons of coconut butter. Coconut oil contains virtually no amino acids and 0 grams of protein.
An Unknown Source of Dietary Iron
Coconut is also a great source of iron, especially for a fruit. Two tablespoons of raw coconut butter contain 6 percent of your iron needs, while 1/2 cup of fresh meat contains 11 percent. Iron is needed to ensure optimal blood flow to the muscles and for optimal energy needed for exercise. It’s completely possible
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