Concern has arisen over whether coconut is actually beneficial to overall health, with the implication that its high levels of cholesterol and carbohydrates with a comparatively low amount of fiber can have a negative effect on health. However, like most edible plants, coconut has many benefits for those who consume it regularly, and studies have shown no increased risk of various conditions related to cholesterol and fats in people who eat coconut in normal dietary amounts compared with other similar plants. Exact nutrient analyses vary depending on the age of the coconut and what parts are consumed. Coconut milk is made from the juice or “cream” within the flesh of a mature coconut that is mixed with water. This is a delicious drink on its own or a flavorful natural addition to baked goods and fruit smoothies. The question, then, is whether coconut milk has benefits for women who enjoy it regularly.
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Internal benefits. Coconut appears to have antimicrobial properties that may help rid yourself of some sexually transmitted diseases and other related infections. It may have antiviral properties as well. More important, coconut offers a dietary source of antioxidants, which help rid the body of free radicals. The Mayo Clinic explains, “Studies suggest that a diet high in antioxidants from fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.” Regular intake of coconut milk may also be helpful against gallbladder disease and kidney stones. Because coconut milk is rich in electrolytes, protein and carbohydrates, it’s a great choice for a refreshing energy boost in the mornings, after exercise or during menstruation.
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External benefits. The same antioxidant properties that help bind free radicals within the body may also be beneficial outside. Applied topically, coconut milk leaves skin feeling soft and silky, and provides a smoother-looking complexion. Over time, it may help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, sagging and other signs of aging. For this reason, coconut milk makes a great additive in beauty products such as body cream, facial masks, lotions and hair conditioner. Consider using coconut milk for a rejuvenating foot soak or bath additive the next time you feel like really pampering yourself.