As an athlete, you will need to focus on the foods that you’re consuming. Although nothing can substitute your training efforts, proper nutrition can allow you to take your training to the next level. By providing your body with ample amounts of nutrients, you essentially boost your performance levels. In turn, you improve all other aspects of your training.
Athletes require protein, vitamins, carbohydrates, minerals, and even fat. Now, it is not suggested that you start eating fast food, in order to consume your required fat. Instead, you need to focus on healthy sources of fat and energy. One of the items that will not only provide this fat-content, but many other benefits, is coconut butter.
How Does Coconut Oil Differ From Coconut Butter?
You may have heard of coconut oil, but what about coconut butter? For many, once they try coconut butter, they’re sold on its decadent taste. The fact that it is delicious is ju
st a bonus, as the true benefits provide you with a wide range of training advantages.
Coconut oil is when the oil has been extracted from the coconut itself; whereas coconut butter, is when the meat of the coconut is utilized as well. When you eat coconut butter, you’re ingesting pieces of coconut meat. By adding coconut butter to your routine and training hard, you can improve your overall performance.
Five Ways That Athletes Benefit From Coconut Butter
As an athlete, you’ll want to consume high-energy foods, that allow for lean muscle mass and increased endurance. Coconut butter provides all of these benefits and more. It is a staple food in many cultures, and athletes should be aware of the following benefits in terms of enhanced performance.
1. Coconut Butter Is Dense In Calories
If you’re attempting to lose weight, no need to be concerned. Calorie density does not necessarily mean instant weight-gain. In fact, the calorie density of coconut butter is one of the most beneficial ways to enhance your performance levels. This is especially true during intense training sessions.
One tablespoon of coconut butter, is just over 100 calories. While training, you will be burning a large number of calories. The key is finding balance, as you should not be burning more calories than you are consuming. Say you burn 1000 calories, but only consumed 500 calories that day, your body isn’t able to sustain itself properly. Your performance levels will begin to suffer.
Coconut butter is a great way to enhance your calorie intake, so that you can train longer, and harder. Of course it should not replace other essential aspects of your diet, but it should be incorporated. For example, if you are looking to move up a weight class, then you should most definitely consider the benefits that coconut butter offers.
To consume equal calories from fruits and vegetables for instance, you would need to eat a larger volume of food. This could potentially leave you feeling bloated, hindering your ability to train and perform. So, if you’re struggling to consume enough calories to match your training needs, coconut butter can be the beneficial item you’re looking for.
2. Boost Energy Levels
Although calorie content and one’s ability to extract energy are of course correlated, there are a variety of ways in which coconut butter yields high energy. While focusing on athletic performance, energy is most certainly one the key elements that’s required.
Coconut oil and butter have gotten a lot of criticism over the years, based on the fact that coconut butter is mainly saturated fat. The key difference is, raw coconut butter provides a different type of saturated fat, in comparison to red meats for instance. While focusing on populations where coconuts are a staple ingredient, it’s been found that these individuals actually have positive vascular health.
These fats are what’s known as ‘medium-chained triglycerides.’ As they are absorbed through the liver, they actually act more as a carbohydrate in terms of energy. Instead of being stored as fat, these fats are converted into an immediate energy source.
Once coconut butter is digested, it is sent to the liver. The medium-chain fatty acids found in coconut butter, are then converted into ketones. These provide a stable, low-glycemic energy source. So not only does it provide energy for your body and brain, but it is easily digestible. When in need of an energy boost, coconut butter can do wonders for your athletic training.
3. Improve Endurance
While training, it is important to focus on endurance levels. More and more athletes are discovering the benefits in which coconut butter brings to their training sessions. While focusing on a study that was conducted in Japan, medium-chain fatty acids were compared to long-chain fatty acids. The study focused on how these fatty acids compared, regarding the endurance of athletes.
It was found that when consuming medium-chain fatty acids (found in coconut butter), athletes were able to extend the duration of their high-intensity workout sessions. This was due to the MCTs in coconut, suppressing the rate of perceived exertion. These findings support earlier theories regarding MCTs and energy conversion. When supplementing with MCTs, it’s been found that endurance is boosted. Carbohydrates tend to be spared, as MCTs boost acetyl-CoA.
Evidence for this effect was seen when mice were fed either MCTs and LCTs, compared to mice that only consumed LCTs. The experimental group was fed a diet that contained 80g of MCTs, along with 20g of LCTs per kilo of feed. The control group were fed 100g of pure LCTs per kilo of feed.
They were then forced to swim until exhaustion. The experimental group performed significantly better. They were also found to have levels of enzymes, which are associated with acetyl-CoA. Higher levels of acetyl-CoA are linked to the production of ketones. Researchers have attributed increased endurance levels, to ketone production in the body. Coconut butter provides your body with ketones, helping to boost your workout sessions.
4. Helps to Lower Levels of Body Fat
Whether you’re a cyclist or bodybuilder, you will want to maintain lower levels of body fat. Incredibly, it was found that hospitalized patients benefited from an intravenous diet of MCTs. Not only was their resting energy expenditure increased, but so was fat oxidation.
The ability to control one’s weight through sources like coconut butter, are due to one’s sense of satiety. This is your experience of feeling satisfied when full. Not only have the MCTs in coconut butter been attributed to one’s sense of satiety, but appetite suppression. If you are attempting to lose weight, consuming coconut butter can provide you with an advantage.
Just because coconut butter is high in fat, does not mean that it will cause weight gain. In fact, the healthy fats found in coconut butter are essential for your health. We need fat in order to maintain nerve function, support cell growth, and maintain our organs. This source of fat is also great for energy, as mentioned above.
Since coconut butter contains the meat of the coconut, it’s a great source of manganese and fiber. Manganese actually helps to metabolize fats more effectively. It also supports optimal thyroid functioning. Since our thyroid plays a role in potential weight gain, this is a highly beneficial effect.
5. Boosts Overall Immunity
When you’re training, you need to maintain your overall immunity. Not only is your immune system critical for fighting off diseases, but it allows you to train more effectively. Since our immune system fights off viruses, targets bacteria, and ‘bad’ cells, you need to take care of it.
Although exercise provides your body with many positive benefits, it can also put stress on your immune system. This of course depends on how physically fit you are, as well as how intense your exercise sessions are. This stress is typically seen when taking part in a single exercise session.
Those that exercise on a regular basis, allow their immune systems to adapt to this stress. However, if you do not take care of your immune system, how can you expect it to protect you? When you consume coconut butter on a regular basis, you’re providing your body with anti-viral and antibacterial agents.
Once coconut butter is ingested, it is converted into monolaurin.; protecting your body from bacteria, pathogens, and viruses. Overall, this helps to protect you from a wide variety of diseases. There are so many ways in which you can incorporate coconut butter into your diet.
If you’re looking for a new additional to your diet, coconut butter can provide you with multiple benefits. Not only can you train and perform more effectively, but you will boost your overall health. Remember, coconut butter is not a ‘cure all’ ingredient. In order to maintain your health and ability to train, you need to follow a nutrient-rich diet. Coconut butter will simply provide you with that extra boost, so that you can perform to the best of your ability.