Botanically speaking, coconuts are a tropical fruit, not a true nut. Coconuts are high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are also rich in essential fatty acids, protein and fiber. Coconuts are antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal, and boost the immune system. And coconut meat contains less sugar and more protein than bananas, apples and oranges.
Young coconuts have either a green shell or a white "husk" if the outer shell has been removed while mature coconuts are the more familiar-looking brown, hairy variety.
There are several different ways to enjoy the benefits of coconuts; raw or cooked coconut meat, coconut water & juice, coconut milk & cream, coconut flour, coconut oil. The liquid inside the coconut is known as coconut water or juice, and coconut cream is made from pressing the coconut meat. Coconut milk is made from the expressed juice of grated coconut meat and water. Coconut oil is the fatty oil that comes from the coconut meat.
Fresh coconut juice is one of the highest sources of electrolytes known to man, and can be used to prevent dehydration.
High quality coconut oil is one of the healthiest oils you can consume. It contains lauric acid, which is found in mother's milk, and is better for high temperature cooking than olive oil. And coconut oil is even beneficial for your pets, including dogs, cats, horses, and birds.
No matter how you like your coconuts, they have many health benefits which include:
- Reduce the risk of heart disease
- Lower cholesterol
- Improve Crohn's, IBS, and other digestive disorders
- Promotes healthy thyroid function
- Boosts metabolism & energy
- Promotes absorption of other nutrients
- Rejuvenate your skin and prevent wrinkles
- Improve conditions in those with diabetes and chronic fatigue
Coconut has even been shown to protect the body from cancer and osteoporosis, dissolve kidney stones, reduce epileptic seizures, and reduce symptoms associated with pancreatic disorders.
Coconut oil is even good for your hair. Extra virgin coconut oil is a natural conditioner, which is good for dandruff, bacterial scalp infections, and hair loss. So whether you eat it, drink it, or wear it, coconuts are good for your health and well-being.
Fun Facts: Coconuts received the name from Portuguese explorers, the sailors of Vasco da Gama in India, who first brought them to Europe. The brown and hairy surface of coconuts reminded them of a ghost or witch called Coco. Before that, Marco Polo referred to them as "Indian nut".
The only places in the U.S. where coconut palms can be grown and reproduced outdoors without irrigation are Hawaii, south Florida and the U.S. Territories of Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands.
Coconut water mixes easily with blood, so for this reason it was used during World War II in emergency transfusions.