Coconut trees are a member of the palm tree family and it’s where we collect coconuts from. It has been used for thousands of years and it is also known as the “tree of life”, coconuts are full of vital nutrients and vitamins and provides for good health. Coconuts were likely first cultivated on the islands of Southeast Asia as well as the Indian Oceans.
It can take several months for coconuts to grow and ripen on trees. Typically, coconuts are ready after 6-7 months if you are looking for harvesting the coconut water. It can take around 5-6 months if it’s the edible meat within that is needed.
Generally in a supermarket, they sell the white flesh which is wrapped in a protective seal or some sort of sticky paper known as “Young coconuts,” or “Thai coconuts,” as many are grown in Thailand.
These are perfect to add in smoothies and are filled with water as when shook you can hear the “splish splash” inside and the healthy water is filled with electrolytes!
Mature coconuts are the typical kind sold in most stores or fruit markets that has a hard and hairy brown shell intact, are nutritious and perfect for making coconut milk with.
Health Benefits Of coconuts?
Coconuts also known as cocos nucifera, are deemed as a very healthy fruit and a very popular ingredient in many household kitchens. It is used in desserts, yogurts, savoury dishes or even used as a main ingredient such as coconut milk.
It is very versatile and used all around the world but why is it so healthy and nutritious, let’s explore some of the benefits:-
- Anti aging – Coconut oil contains Vitamin E and nourishing fatty acids which stimulates collagen production. It is full of antioxidants and particularly high in lauric acid that can prevent fine lines, keeps skin subtle and smooth and can reduce inflammation. It is an excellent moisturizer and a great alternative to those “commercial” skin creams.
- Anti fungal/bacterial – Coconut oil in particular has the capacity to eradicate unwanted organisms and it can kill fungi, bacteria and viruses. Coconut oil can be effective against fungus infections such as “candida albicans,” which can smother or suffocate invaders due to its medium chain fatty acids.
- A healthy fat – Around 85%of coconuts is saturated fat and with the fatty acids that it contains, can actually burn body fat and maintaining good body weight.
A healthy fat allows for better digestion as fats allow for better absorption of vitamins, coats the immune system with lubrication. An absolute powerhouse of nutrition!
- External/Internal Use – Coconuts are so versatile that as an oil, it can be put onto skin to moisturize or speed up the time for healing wounds or cuts. It is also a great reliever on sun burnt skin or even problematic skin. It can be applied to the scalp to ward off dry, flaky skin. It comes in many forms to consume such as milk powder, butter, flour, sugar and much more – WOW!
How To Add Coconuts?
Coconut products are quite different from one another but they are all healthier alternatives because of the healthy fats involved which makes it easier to digest and are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Where some have more benefits than others, coconut products are a guilt-free option with natural benefits as they are gluten/grain free, dairy free, nut free and absolutely vegan! How can you go wrong?
- A sweet option is Coconut Sugar – Sugar is still sugar! You should still have the same amount of sugar when using alternatives but still a much better option than refined sugars. It has a low glycemix index and contains no additives or preservatives, making it a sensible choice in avoiding processed sugars.
- Coconut milk – This is a healthy choice for adding to curries or sauces. It is naturally quite thick and by grating the coconut meat and mixing with some water, it is then squeezed to produce fresh coconut milk. Therefore, it is dairy free and can relive constipation and aid in better digestion.
- Coconut flour – This is something that I use frequently and used in most baking recipes. This flour is high in fiber, protein and produced by drying out and then grinding the meat of the flour. A grain free flour loaded with antioxidants and an anti inflammatory flour.
- Desiccated Coconut – This dried and finely shredded coconut has a slight sweet and nutty taste and available in varieties. It is ideal in making desserts or puddings with. There is also flaked and coconut chips available in most local stores.
Even household items such as cleaning or laundry products includes the fatty acids from coconuts, although not the actual part of the raw coconut, it is then processed further. It is best to check the list of ingredients to check for safety and guidance of the products. Coconuts are so versatile and widely used – it is no wonder of the popularity in the worldwide market.
Interesting Facts About Coconuts!
While it is ideal to include a reasonable amount of coconut products, most days into your diet, it is a great choice to buy fresh coconut all cut up for you and sold in little containers, which is great to munch on as a healthy snack!
- The large leaves grown from the coconut trees, can grow up to 20 feet long and is used to make baskets or broomsticks.
- The water from coconuts can be used as “energy drinks,” for it’s high nutrition, vitamins, antioxidants and mineral levels!
- Some coconuts are so hard and painful to open that some people actually have used hammers or a saw to open it, but still unable to! However, there is apparently a trick to opening them – please refrain from using machinery tools! as it is considered unsafe and may cause harm.
Thank you so much for reading, if you have any questions or comments then please leave below, I’ll be sure to help you out!