5 Reasons Coconut is Good for Athletes (and everyone else)

Not just coconut water, but coconut meat and oil, too!


I’m linking up with My First 5K and MoreRunning With Attitude, Runs with PugsZenaida and Run Laugh Eat Pie for Fit Five Friday. Today I’m sharing just why I persevered with the coconut water — even though I don’t like the taste!

1: Good post exercise drink
Along with many of the readers, the taste of plain coconut water was not something I enjoyed, so not a good option for me during exercise. It’s very easy to add to fruit smoothies, though, which are a great way to rehydrate after tough exercise:

. . . it also boasts electrolytes such as potassium, sodium and magnesium, all of which help to replenish lost nutrients. What that means is it’s something good to drink after exercise or during a mild illness — although, it may not be any better than water. — Source: read this post from the Cleveland Clinic here.

2: Coconut oil may help with weight loss
According to Webmd here:

Lauric acid is a type of saturated fat found in coconut oil, and in fact, this oil contains the highest levels of lauric acid in a natural source. Studies have shown that lauric acid travels to the liver and is converted into energy instead of being stored in your body as fat, which could potentially help in weight loss. However, more information is needed to confirm that coconut oil specifically contributes to weight loss and improved metabolism.

3: Boosts good cholesterol
Even though it’s not genetic, I’ve had high cholesterol since my mid 40s. I don’t take medication at this time, and after some tests, my doctor is okay with that. Not only can coconut oil boost HDL (healthy cholesterol), it can also help lower LDL (lousy cholesterol).

The same Webmd article cited above does go on to mention that it’s easy to overdo using coconut oil and that could actually raise LDL, with its potential for heart attack and stroke. Like most things moderation is key.

4: May help protect your liver
Again there is controversy about coconut being a saturated fat (see my final thoughts). Once again the author points out that when used in moderation, coconut oil has many benefits.

This article here, written by a woman with a Bachelor’s in Neuroscience and a Master’s in Traditional Chinese Medicine (an interesting combination!) points out that coconut oil can benefit the liver by:

  • The conversion of fatty acids into energy reduces the liver’s workload.
  • By transforming into energy instead of entering the bloodstream, fat accumulation in the liver is prevented.

5: Helps you cool down in Summer!
Coconut oil (and all the other variations) are cooling, so it’s a great oil to cook with during the Summer. I also like to add shredded coconut to my yogurt and oatmeal. You can also add shredded coconut to your smoothies; you might enjoy that taste more than coconut water, although if you don’t overdo the coconut water, you shouldn’t taste it in a smoothie.

For more ideas on how to use coconut and its benefits, check out this post here.

Hide coconut water in fruit smoothies in the Summer

Final Thoughts
Obviously if you don’t like the taste of coconut, or are concerned about the saturated fat link, there’s no reason you need to use it. Most of my family, with the exception of myself hates the taste of coconut. C’est la vie!

While it’s true that coconut is about 92% saturated fat, more than half of that is medium chain fatty acids vs the long chain fatty acids found in most seed and vegetable oils. Clearly I am not a medical professional, but here’s a sort of layman’s explanation of the difference:

saturated and unsaturated long-chain fatty acids are absorbed into the bloodstream, in a package with cholesterol, and proteins. Then, your body transports them further so they can provide energy or can be stored as body fat. However, your body absorbs short-chain and medium-chain fatty acids in a different way. These types of fats are a bit more impatient and skip transportation through your bloodstream, and go directly to your liver. Your liver converts these into ketones for quick energy fuel, and less likely stores them as fat

Of course you can still overdo a good thing and too much of anything will be stored as fat. The quote above actually came from a post here talking about the benefits of Keto, which I don’t personally practice or recommend. It’s a good explanation of why coconut oil, although a saturated fat, can actually help with weight loss — and be a good source of energy. 

I remember that I used to make these coconut oil thingies from Brendan Brazier’s book Thrive (Amazon Affiliate link here). I really liked them as a pre run snack too. The only problem is that they don’t transport well, since coconut oil only stays solid when it’s cold!

I know some of you are medical professionals, so feel free to weigh in if you’d like!

If you do enjoy coconut, though, it may be comforting to know that it may be doing your body some good.

Coconut: yay or nay? 

What’s your favorite way to stay cool during hot Summer runs?

Or rehydrate after a hot Summer run?


11 thoughts on “5 Reasons Coconut is Good for Athletes (and everyone else)

  1. I do love the taste of coconut. But only eat it in trail mix or on French Toast.

    Staying cool during a hot run? Run early on a shady route. Run slower. Have a friend along to complain to. Lol.

    Iced coffee or chocolate milk shake are yummy after a long hot run.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love coconut! Well, I love the oil and shredded coconut, and I LOVE coconut butter- it tastes like frosting to me. I rarely drink coconut water though. I’m not opposed to it, I just don’t usually have it. My favorite way to rehydrate after a hot run is with LMNT.

    Liked by 1 person

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