Of course coconut is yummy—macaroons, Pina Coladas, delicious cream pies, oh my! But did you know that coconut oil and coconut milk are also terrific for pregnant women (and not just to fill their sweets cravings)? Cue an image of yourself lying on an exotic beach somewhere with a fresh coconut in hand.
According to the Western A Price Foundation, a nutrition research charity, pregnant women should consume two tablespoons of unprocessed coconut oil per day, either in a smoothie or in place of other oils or butters. Rich in anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, coconut oil can help prevent colds, flu and other viruses—which is especially helpful when you don't want to be taking over-the-counter remedies—and strengthens the immune system of both the pregnant mom and unborn baby.
Coconut oil also helps relieve morning sickness, heartburn and constipation (three icky side effects of pregnancy). Other women swear the super-moisturizing oil even prevents stretch marks when it's rubbed on the belly on a regular basis. And for those of you planning to breast feed, coconut oil is high in lauric acid, which is supposed to stimulate milk production during pregnancy and after birth.
Coconut oil isn't the only part of the coconut that can help with pregnancy, either. Coconut water has lots of benefits as well. Coconut water is fat-free and one of the richest sources of electrolytes (think: natural sports drink that's going to keep you well-hydrated). It is high in potassium, magnesium and protein and is a good source of dietary fiber, calcium and Vitamin C.
It also helps with circulation, which is especially important when you're pregnant because your blood volume increases by 50 percent. Poor circulation leads to foot and leg pain for mom, and in extreme cases can lead to lack of oxygen to the baby. Another persistent problem many pregnant women suffer from is urinary tract infections. Since coconut water is a natural diuretic, it flushes you out faster and can help to prevent infections.
It sounds like a pregnant woman's miracle to me! I heard about the morning sickness benefits of coconut water when I was pregnant, but I had no idea how good coconut oil would have been for me as well. As with all things when you're pregnant, though, consult your doctor before jumping into a high coconut oil or coconut water diet because it's still possible to overdue a good thing.
TELL US: Have you incorporated coconut oil and coconut milk into your pregnancy diet? Have you felt any positive changes?
Image of woman with coconut courtesy of Shutterstock.