Coconut | Is a Coconut Fruit, Vegetable or Nut | Coconut Fruit | Health Benefits of Coconut | Uses of Coconut Fruit and Coconut oil | Nutritional Value of Coconut
The coconut (Cocos nucifera) is the primary member of the family Arecaceae (palm family). It is the only species in the genus Cocos, and is a large palm, growing to 30 m tall, with pinnate leaves 4–6 m long, and pinnae 60–90 cm long; old leaves break away cleanly, leaving the trunk smooth. The term coconut refers to the seed of the coconut palm, which is not actually a nut. The spelling cocoanut is an old-fashioned form of the word.
The coconut palm is grown throughout the tropics for decoration, as well as for its many culinary and non-culinary uses; virtually every part of the coconut palm can be utilized by humans in some manner. In cooler climates (but not less than USDA Zone 9), a similar palm – the queen palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) – is used in landscaping. Its fruits are very similar to the coconut, but much smaller.
The queen palm was originally classified in the Cocos genus along with the coconut, but was later reclassified as Syagrus. A recently discovered palm, Beccariophoenix alfredii from Madagascar, is nearly identical to the coconut, and more so than the queen palm. It is cold-hardy, and produces a coconut lookalike in cooler areas.
The flowers of the coconut palm are polygamomonoecious, with both male and female flowers in the same inflorescence. Flowering occurs continuously. Coconut palms are believed to be largely cross-pollinated, although some dwarf varieties are self-pollinating.
The “nut” of the coconut is the edible endosperm, located on the inner surface of the shell. Inside the endosperm layer, coconuts contain an edible clear liquid that is sweet, salty, or both.
What are the Health Benefits of Coconut Fruit ?
1. A famous agroforestry expert in Hawaii says: ‘The amazing thing about the coconut palm is that it provides almost all the necessities of life: food, drink, oil, medicine, fiber, timber, thatch, mats, fuel, and domestic utensils, as well as serving important environmental services such as soil erosion control in coastal regions, wind protection and shade for other crops.’
2. Coconut fruit has been referred as kalpa vriksha in Sanskrit, which means the ‘tree which gives all that is necessary for living.’ Many ancient communities living in tropical areas have been using virgin coconut oil as an important source for health and food. Many new studies reiterate this traditional belief that the coconut palm is ‘The Tree of Life.’ This is because organic virgin coconut oil can cure several modern-day ailments and unhealthy dietary habits.
3. There are many benefits of including coconut in your daily health regime. Our body converts lauric acid present in coconut into monolaurin, which helps in combating with various diseases including herpes, cytomegalovirus, influenza, and even HIV.
4. With regular use of coconut, your body is well-protected against harmful bacteria including listeria monocytogenes too.
5. Cooking foods in coconut oil helps you promote healthy thyroid function. Remember, a healthy thyroid is essential if you want to keep your metabolism above normal. With regular use of coconut oil or coconut products helps you lose weight rapidly, raise your energy level, and also enhance your metabolism.
6. There are many more health benefits of coconut oil, such as improving the body’s immunity, protection from infection and viruses, prevention of liver and kidney disorders, controlling diabetes, making the bones healthy, etc.
Here are some tips to include coconut products in your diet chart:
* Try frying meat or eggs in coconut oil.
Nutritional Value of Coconut:
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||1,481 kJ (354 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||9.0 g|
|Thiamine (Vit. B1)||0.066 mg (5%)|
|Riboflavin (Vit. B2)||0.02 mg (1%)|
|Niacin (Vit. B3)||0.54 mg (4%)|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||0.300 mg (6%)|
|Vitamin B6||0.054 mg (4%)|
|Folate (Vit. B9)||26 μg (7%)|
|Vitamin C||3.3 mg (6%)|
|Calcium||14 mg (1%)|
|Iron||2.43 mg (19%)|
|Magnesium||32 mg (9%|
|Phosphorus||113 mg (16%)|
|Potassium||356 mg (8%)|
|Zinc||1.1 mg (11%)|
*Add coconut milk to curry to enhance its flavor and texture.
* Mix some coconut milk or oil in your milk shake.
* Add some coconut milk in your yoghurt or sprinkle it on berries.
* Add few drops of coconut oil to your coffee or tea.
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil:
Benefits of Hair: If you put it on your head and massage everyday, it would keep your hair free from dandruff and lice even if the scalp is dry.
Benefits of Skin: Use of coconut oil for curing skin complications such as psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, etc. As a result, it is present in most of the daily skincare products such as soaps, skin creams, and body lotions.
Prevents diseases: However, it’s actually good for the heart as it contains approximately 50% of lauric acid which is very important in precluding various heart diseases like hypertension and high cholesterol levels.
Healing Properties: When it’s applied on the wound or an infection, it covers the infection with a chemical layer which prevents dust, dirt, bacteria, and virus getting in contact with the wound. It is best for bruises as it effectively repairs damaged tissues heals cuts.
Prevents Premature Aging: It’s well known for its role in preventing premature aging and several degenerative disorders because of the antioxidant capabilities.
Relieves Stress: It plays a very significant role in relieving stress. Everyday massage to the head with some coconut oil helps reduce mental fatigue.
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