In many tropical countries, coconuts have long been lauded as having fertility and pregnancy enhancing properties. In India, for example, a woman hoping to conceive will go to her priest for a special coconut; Thai babies receive, as their first solid food, three spoonfuls of soft coconut meat from their priests; a Balinese woman is forbidden to touch a coconut tree for fear she will drain its fertility into her own; and pregnant women from tropical countries consume large amounts of coconut water, hoping to increase their unborn child's strength and vitality.
Folklore aside, there is now scientific evidence of the numerous health benefits of coconuts. While these health-boosting properties extend to everyone, they can be particularly beneficial to pregnant women. Here are some of the amazing ways the coconut can be a pregnant woman's best friend:
o It alleviates vomiting - coconut water has long been used as a remedy for typhoid, malaria and other illness-induced vomiting. Thus, it should also help mitigate a bad case of morning sickness.
o It soothes the stomach - in addition to offering some relief from vomiting, coconut water can quell a queasy tummy and lessen the symptoms of nausea.
o Virgin coconut oil balances blood sugar and controls diabetes - this also helps keep morning sickness in check and offers some protection against gestational diabetes, a potentially dangerous condition common among pregnant women.
o It alkalizes the body - high in potassium, magnesium and other alkalizing minerals, coconut water can help to create an environment more conducive to conception and perhaps even reduce the risk of miscarriage.
o It keeps the body hydrated - nature's "sports drink", coconut water replaces fluids and minerals lost during physical exertion as well as those extra needed to help support pregnancy and expanding blood volume. Dehydration can be particularly threatening during pregnancy.
o It is a mild laxative - drinking moderate amounts of coconut water can help to keep things running smoothly and relieve the constipation so common during pregnancy.
o It cleanses the kidneys and offers protection against UTI's - Urinary Tract Infections are very common during pregnancy and can be dangerous if antibiotics are not used to treat them. Best to avoid them all together!
o It keeps the body cool - with excess weight, progesterone, and anxiety, it's easy to get overheated during pregnancy. Drinking coconut water helps to regulate body temperature and keep you cool.
o It is great for skin - virgin coconut oil can be applied to soothe the dry, itchy skin associated with pregnancy; it may also help to reduce the occurrence of stretch marks; and, when applied to the perineum in the weeks leading up to labor, can help reduce tearing during birth. Coconut water applied to the face helps to clear blackheads and acne that many women experience with the surge of hormones during pregnancy.
o It boosts the immune system - virgin coconut oil is comprised of nearly 50% lauric acid, which has been shown to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. This can help protect a mother-to-be from a host of potentially threatening infections as well as boost her immunity, which is naturally weakened during pregnancy.
o It promotes healthy lactation - the only other significant source of lauric acid is human breast milk. Research has shown that lactating mothers who consume virgin coconut oil and other coconut products have higher levels of lauric and capric acids in their breast milk; this increases its antimicrobial and immune boosting properties, while promoting both brain and bone development in the infant. Since the body stores lauric acid in the adipose tissues, consuming coconut during pregnancy may also help to ensure successful lactation.
With all that in mind, pregnant women would be nuts not to go for coconuts!