Found mainly in tropical countries, coconut is a palm tree that grows to a height of 30 meters with a slender and smooth trunk. The coconut tree thrives on sandy soils, ample sunlight and warm conditions, perhaps the reason why it is common on shorelines of tropical countries. Although grown for commercial purposes, it remains organic coconut. The tree is grown for health and beauty benefits that its products offer. These include:
- Coconut meat – Coconut meat is obtained from coconut seed, which is covered by a thick and hard shell. The meat is the white part of the fruit. Coconut meat can be eaten raw or chopped, dried and ground to make coconut floor for use in culinary and medicine applications. Coconut meat contains saturated fat. Coconut floor can also be used in making coconut butter. It is very rich in protein and minerals (iron, phosphorus and zinc).
- Coconut milk – Coconut milk is obtained by grating coconut milk and passing hot water through it. It is from coconut milk that coconut oil is obtained. Advantages of coconut oil are many; edible coconut oil is used in culinary applications. When refrigerated and left to settle, coconut milk produces coconut cream. Cram of coconut is used to produce virgin coconut oil, used as hair coconut oil.
- Coconut water – Coconut water is obtained from coconut fruit. Coconut water benefits are varied and include sugar, proteins, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It is drunk fresh and is reputed to be one of the best isotonic electrolyte balances available. Coconut water is also left to ferment, resulting in coconut vinegar or coconut palm wine.
- Coconut buds – Coconut buds obtained from the tip of mature coconut trees is a popular delicacy amongst shoreline natives across the world. It is used to make coconut cake and other coconut salads.
- Medicinal benefits – Different parts of the coconut tree have different medicinal value. Roots of fresh coconuts are popularly used as remedy for diarrhea and dysentery. The roots are also boiled to make medicinal mouthwash. Edible coconut oil is effective in reducing cholesterol, triglyceride and phospholipids in the blood, resulting in a healthy heart. Coconut oil skin contains powerful antioxidants including vitamin C that destroy organisms that cause skin ailments. For this reason, coconut oil skin is included in beauty body applications including lotions and creams as an ingredient. The oil is also used in most beauty soaps.
Coconut nutrition facts cannot be ignored. The fruit contains coconut calories of about 15.23 g, 29.7 g saturated fat, 3.3 g protein, varied amounts of vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, B9 and C, minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and potassium. Because of the varied vitamin and mineral composition, coconut nutrition is valuable and recommended. Coconut health benefits aid in the prevention of varied diseases and health conditions.
Millions tones of fresh coconuts (fruits) are harvested and shipped to different parts of the world yearly and sold for commercial processing and home use. However, benefits of coconut are not restricted to health and beauty. The by-products of the tree including leaves and trunk are used in making varied decorations and as housing materials.