Coconuts are delicious. They are perfect whether they are eaten raw, drunk as a chilling milkshake, put in chocolate, or in any other form. It is how summer tastes like with a fresh breeze that you can never get enough of. But the real question here is, is coconut a nut?
The short answer is a big NO. Coconuts are not a type of nut, although the name may suggest that. However, it is a tropical fruit that grows in certain places, has excellent benefits, and is a delectable fruit to eat. So, let’s embark on a tropical journey to learn more about this unique fruit.
Where Does Coconut Grow?
A coconut is a fruit that grows on a palm tree that people call Cocos nucifera. Those palm trees grow in tropical coastal areas, which means you can find coconuts around different regions of the world. However, this sweet fruit is native to Southeast Asia. Throughout the years, the coconut started spreading around other areas, reaching the Pacific Islands.
Some people mistakenly believe coconuts are native to the Caribbean Islands because they grow excessively there. Caribbeans are among the areas where coconut is used to make different desserts and beverages. However, its first hometown is in Southeast Asia, which includes Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia.
Different Forms of Coconuts And Their Uses
The fruit is the raw version of coconut. You can enjoy it raw by munching on its crunchy texture and extra sweetness. However, this is not the only way people around the world use coconut. You can produce from coconut other variants that are equally healthy and can be used in making food. Here are the different forms of coconuts that you can use:
Coconut meat is the core part of the fruit. These fleshy white insides are eaten and are laden with tremendous benefits for overall health. The word “meat” here refers to the thickest part of coconuts but doesn’t mean to be actual meat. Some people also call it “kernel.” You can extract other coconut parts from this fresh meat, like oil or water.
The shell is the hardest part of coconuts, and the outer part protects the inside white flesh. People use this part to create different crafts or to ignite fireplaces. This shell is always hard and comes in brown; they indicate that the coconut is mature and fully ripened. However, there are also green-coloured coconuts, which are young and less ripened. Young coconuts are most commonly used for fresh water that you can drink right from the fruit.
Most fruits have heavy water content, making them among the most hydrating foods you should highly consume, especially in summer. Young coconuts have lots of liquid inside their centre. The water helps grow the fruit and becomes less and less when the fruit ripens. Thus, green coconuts are used for extracting these waters. They have a lot of benefits when drank fresh, including supporting the heart, preventing kidney stones, and refreshing the skin.
Water is not the only liquid you can find inside coconuts; there is also oil. Unlike water, oil is found in matured coconuts. They lie inside the hardened brown shells. This oil is edible in many countries and used for various purposes, including cooking. The cosmetic industry also relies heavily on coconut oil in manufacturing their products, given its tremendous impact on hair and skin.
Flour doesn’t always have to be the white all-purpose kind used in making pastries and doughs. There is also a healthier version of flour made from coconuts. Coconut flour is made from the flesh by drying it and then grounding it to a powder, making flour. This kind of flour is much healthier and helps enhance the digestion process of its fibre content. You can use it for cooking healthier desserts with fewer calories and the same deliciousness.
Coconut flakes are not a different product that you get from coconuts. They’re shredded versions of the white meat but in larger chunks. These flakes can serve as delicious desserts on their own. Moreover, they decorate desserts and cakes by either going on top or used to fill the insides and adding an extra sugary flavour.
Making milk out of coconut is another great product you can use as an alternative to dairy products. It’s suitable for those who suffer from lactose intolerance and is quite gentle on the stomach. However, coconut milk does not occur naturally; it’s made through a mixture of other coconut products. To make this milk, you will need coconut meat and mix it with coconut water.
Like coconut milk, coconut butter is another dairy-free product that doesn’t naturally exist. However, you use nothing more than the pure flesh of coconuts to make this healthy butter. All it takes is to blend the coconut flakes into a strong blender until it becomes a thick paste. You can swap natural butter for coconut butter; they both make food tasty.
Lastly comes the coconut coir. This is the rope-like fibre on the outer shell of coconuts that gives them their brown colour. It’s the only product of coconuts that you can’t use for eating. However, people use the coir to manufacture different products, including brushes, ropes, mats, and more.
8 Benefits of Coconut And Its Different Products
Coconut is not only a deliciously sweet fruit that you can indulge in, but it also has excellent health benefits that you can reap. Some cultures even consume coconuts daily and use them excessively as a staple ingredient in their cuisine. If you happen to like coconut, then you will enjoy learning about their great benefits for one’s health:
1. Helps in Weight Loss
Most fruit is beneficial when it comes to weight loss. Eating coconuts can help reduce your appetite, paving the way for less eating and munching on unnecessary calories throughout the day. On the other hand, using coconut oil for cooking your food can boost metabolism, which helps burn more fat.
2. Boosts Your Memory
Another great thing that coconuts do is boost your memory, making it more robust and long-lasting. Many studies have proven this fact, and people who have dementia and Alzheimer’s are advised to use coconut oil. Coconut oil contains lots of properties that strengthen the brain’s neurones. Having 2-3 tablespoons of coconut oil daily will make your brain thank you when you’re older.
3. Improves Oral Health
Coconuts have an undeniably fresh smell that gives you authentic summer vibes. Its great aroma is excellent to use for having a fresh breath. Not only does the smell help, but coconuts also help kill harmful bacteria, enhancing oral health and giving you new gums. You can add coconut oil to your water or have raw coconut water, they both have the same impact.
4. Rich in Nutrients
Eating a mid-sized coconut can help you meet your daily nutritional requirements. Coconuts are rich in protein, healthy fats, and also leaning fibres. They are essential nutrients that your body needs to function optimally. Moreover, coconuts contain MCT, a fat source suitable for people with stomach problems.
5. Enhances Hair and Skin
We may have previously mentioned this, but we believe we should emphasise how coconuts benefit hair and skin. Coconut oil does wonders, for it helps profoundly moisturise your hair and skin, healing any damage. It also aids in hair growth, making it longer and thicker in a short time.
6. Boosts Your Immune System
White blood cells are responsible for keeping your immune system running efficiently. One of the coconuts’ great benefits is improving the counts of these WBCs, which makes your body readier to fight infections and viruses. This edible tropical fruit contains minerals and vitamins that make your body stronger.
7. Strengthens Bones and Teeth
Coconuts may be efficient for oral health, but they also make your teeth stronger. Your bones benefit significantly from eating this sweet fruit now and then. That’s because coconuts are full of antioxidants, which make your cells healthier and protect you from several diseases.
8. Great Source of Hydration
Dehydration can have a lot of negative impacts on your overall health. Fruits generally are vital for keeping your body well-hydrated, and coconuts are no exception. They’re full of water content that it’s possible to extract its water and drink it. Coconut water is available in young coconuts that are green and still haven’t ripened. So, eating coconut or drinking its water will keep your health in check.
Coconuts are some of the most versatile fruits on Earth. Not only can you enjoy them in many different forms, but you’ll also be healthier and stronger over time. All these significant advantages, and still, there’s a lot to say about its tasty flavour and irresistible aroma.
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