Coconuts are among the treasure-trove of whole foods that are beneficial to horses and their riders and owners. Coconut meal, and coconut oil provide important nutritional components for equine athletes. Coconut oil provides medium chain triglycerides, which are more rapidly absorbed and more quickly metabolized than the long chain triglycerides found in olive oil, vegetable oil, soy oil, and corn oil. Rather than being stored for fat, the body converts the medium chain triglycerides into fuel for muscles.
This makes coconut oil particularly beneficial to dressage horses that need “long burn energy”. Because coconut oil provides the medium chain triglycerides, not the long chain triglycerides, coconut oil is a terrific fat source for certain metabolic imbalances in horses.
One of the other nutritional benefits of coconut oil is lauric acid. Mothers’ milk is the only other source of this amazing fatty acid. The body converts lauric acid to monlauren, which has profound anti viral and anti microbial activity. In vitro studies indicate that monlauren also kills a number of fungi, and protozoa. Other in vitro studies show that monlauren can inactivate certain viruses including HIV, sarcoma virus, influenza, and vesicular stomatitis. Coconut oil provides a whopping 7 grams of lauric acid per tablespoon. It is important to remember to use a cold pressed coconut oil. Like soy, and rice bran oils, some coconut oil is extracted with hexane, a neuro-toxin. Cold pressed oils are not processed with hexane or any other solvent.
Coconut meal is another important nutritional powerhouse food for horses providing 20% protein, 20% fiber, 8% fat, and only 1% sugar. The high protein, fiber, and fat content make this an ideal food component of a whole food diet; the high fat content (medium chain triglycerides) will give equine athletes the muscle energy they need, the high fiber provides another energy source and supports the microbe population in the gut; the high protein of this food includes the BCAA’s (branched chain amino acids) as well as an amino acid profile that is superior to cereal grains, and the low sugar content benefits the metabolic horses as well as the non-metabolic horses.
How the coconut meal is dried and processed is extremely important: low heat drying to maintain the integrity of the food is paramount. Stance Equine is the only company that provides coconut meal that is low-heat dried and free of solvents and bleaching agents.
Now about that lime with the coconut….¼ cup of lime juice provides 61 grams (61,000mgs) of vitamin C. However, most horses don’t like the sour taste of limes, so my recommendation is to make yourself a lime with the coconut protein shake: 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 teaspoon lime juice, 6 oz orange juice, 1 banana, 1 Tablespoon chia seeds, 1 Tablespoon organic yoghurt. Blend and enjoy!