From an Ayurvedic perspective, coconut has the following qualities…Sweet, cooling, heavy and it balances Vata and Pitta, and increases Kapha in excess.
Coconut is a highly regarded food, with a predominantly sweet taste, it has a sweet post-digestive effect that balances vata.Although it is relatively heavy and difficult to digest, it is useful in small amounts to nourish and invigorate the body and promote contentment and calmness in the mind – due to its sweet taste.
Coconut is grounding and – a mixture of heavy, oily and sweet qualities to pacify Vata. A natural stress-buster and as Vatas are prone to reacting highly to stress, coconut will help ground any anxiety. In this dish the coconut combined with spices like cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, cumin, coriander, and turmeric, (typically found in curry powder) – is not only delicious and versatile, but also heals the digestive system and promotes better metabolism for you!
From a Western perspective, coconut is a gluten-free, alkaline food high in saturated fat and fibre. Many Vatas have digestive problems so are sensitive to gluten and need fats to combat their natural tendency towards dryness. It also contains protein and some important minerals – calcium, iron, potassium and magnesium. Due to its high fat content it is low GI and will decrease the overall GI of any meal when added.
Obesity is currently one of the biggest health problems in the world. While some people think obesity is only a matter of calories, others (myself included) believe that the sources of those calories are important too.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states that the medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut oil can increase how many calories you burn compared to the same amount of other fats . The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports on one study that found that 15-30 grams of MCTs per day increased 24 hour energy expenditure by 5%, totalling about 120 calories per day. Almost 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil is the 12-carbon Lauric Acid. When lauric acid is digested, it forms a substance called monolaurin.
The Journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy show that both lauric acid and monolaurin can kill harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses and fungi. Vatas need all the immune support they can get as when under stress, it’s their immune system that tends to get compromised.
For example, these substances have been shown to kill the bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus (a very dangerous pathogen) and the yeast Candida Albicans, a common source of yeast infections in humans.
- 1/2 cup raw cane sugar
- 1 cup organic whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups grated fresh coconut or
- 1 cup desiccated coconut
- 1/4 teaspoon Cardamom powder
- 2 tablespoons butter
Boil together the sugar, milk and coconut until all the liquid is evaporated, add the cardamom powder and butter and mix well.
Cool slightly, and make small balls of about 2 inches.
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