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Coconut and health

Published: May 03, 2019

Coconut is the fruit of Cocos nucifera
Coconut is the fruit of Cocos nucifera

In recent years various coconut products have been increasing in popularity mostly due to claims to a variety of health benefits associated with regular consumption of coconut.

Health claims include:

These claims are largely based on observation of indigenous populations of countries, such as India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Polynesi.

These populations consume significant amounts of coconut and who appear to experience good health.
In particular, coconut oil has been, and continues to be promoted as a ‘healthy’ fat to replace butter and other animal fats, and even other plant oils...link to the full article to learn more.
However, coconut products may not be as ‘healthy’ as they are claimed to be. 
What are coconuts and what coconut products are there?
The coconut originated in and around Southwest Asia, Polynesia, the Indian sub continent, and Malaysia. Coconuts have been gradually introduced to other areas such as the Philippines, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Brazil.
Coconuts are the “fruit” of Cocos nucifera which belongs to the Arecaceae (palm tree) family. Coconut also refers to the palm tree and seed.
The hard shell and fibrous husk contains a white flesh and a large amount of clear liquid commonly termed coconut milk.
Leaves of this large palm are referred to as pinnate (very long) and pinnae (short).  Both male and female flowers are continuously produced on the same palm, with the larger flowers being female.
All parts of the coconut can be used.
The fruit and flowers have a variety of dietary and culinary uses, but other parts of the coconut palm such as the husk and fronds can be used for household purposes such as charcoal and furnishing products.
Coconut flesh
Coconut flesh can be used fresh or dried in a variety of savory and sweet dishes both savory and sweet dishes. Desiccated or coconut milk are often used in curried dishes.
Not all forms of dried coconut are produced from fresh coconut, as some dried “coconut” products may be combined with sugar, propylene glycol, salt, and sodium metabisulfite.
Dried coconut flesh is known as copra and is used to produce coconut oil and coconut meal. One tonne of copra requires approximately 6000 mature coconuts.
Coconut water
The almost clear liquid that is contained in coconuts is a traditional beverage in tropical areas, but is now commercially packaged for Western retail markets, as health

Related Topics

Diet  Metabolism  Food Choices  Fats  Protein  Minerals  Vitamins