Coconut – description of the nut. Health benefits and Harms

Contents

 

Description

The exotic nut, which is commonly available as flaked coconut, is not only flavorful and tasty. Coconut has a number of beneficial properties and can improve the health of the body in many diseases.

Today, coconuts are no longer an unexplored exotic. You can buy them at any supermarket. Today we will pay special attention to this fruit: we will tell you how it grows, what is inside it, how it can be used, split and eaten, how is coconut useful and who should limit its use. We will even try to grow a coconut tree to make you happy.

 

Coconut is the fruit of the coconut tree, which can live up to 100 years and produce over four hundred nuts per year. The fruit sometimes weighs 2.5 kilograms, and is covered with a hard shell. Inside is white copra pulp and coconut water.

The name of the nut is translated from Portuguese as “monkey”. The ripe peeled fruit is brown in color with three dents, which resembles the face of a monkey. Some coconut gatherers train tame monkeys to climb palms and drop the fruit down.

By the way, coconut is not a nut at all, as is commonly believed. It is actually a stone fruit, like peach, apricot, sweet cherry or cherry. The strict classification is as follows: angiosperm division, monocotyledonous class, palm order, palm family, coconut genus and coconut palm species.

Composition and calorie content

Coconut, pulp, raw is rich in vitamins and minerals such as: potassium – 14.2%, phosphorus – 14.1%, iron – 13.5%, manganese – 75%, copper – 43.5%, selenium – 18, 4 %

  • Caloric content 354 kcal
  • Proteins 3.33 g
  • Fat 33.49 g
  • Carbohydrates 6.23 g

Interesting facts about coconuts

They say coconuts have existed on Earth for at least 3,000 years. It is believed that they were seen by dinosaurs. Today the plant can be found in the tropics of both hemispheres: in Brazil, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, the Philippines. Southeast Asia is considered the homeland of the plant.

 

Coconuts are waterproof and unsinkable. Thanks to this, their growing area is so extensive: ocean currents carry fruits almost all over the world.

Coconuts are tenacious comrades. They can drift in the ocean for a whole year, wash ashore and germinate: either in the ground or in the sand. History knows of cases when individual coconuts remained viable, reaching Norway.

Coconut – description of the nut. Health benefits and Harms

Coconuts grow in large groups on the palm. Fruits ripen within 9-10 months and can reach 30 centimeters in diameter, while tightening by 2-3 kg.

 

Curiously, the farther from the ocean the coconut tree grows, the smaller it is. The reason for this is the small amount of salt extracted from the sand. It is estimated that one palm tree extracts 1.34 kg of salt from the soil per year. Near the ocean, it can reach the height of a ten-story building.

According to legend, the coconut is the closest fruit to the gods. It is called the water of all oceans: the ocean water rises up the trunk of the palm tree, becoming the sweet water of the coconut.

Coconut is used in Hindu religious rites. Perhaps the sacred attitude towards the fetus is due to its similarity to the human head. Coconuts in the tribes replaced the sacrifices of people.

 

Missionaries called the coconut tree the “lazy tree”, believing that it corrupts the local population, making them an inactive consumer, while everyone must work and earn their own food.

And coconut trees do not need to be watered, processed or anything else. They just grow and bear fruit. It turns out a heavenly life: picked up a coconut, split it – got drunk and ate. Well, we love that.

The benefits of coconut

Coconut is known primarily for its high content of various fatty acids. It is the pulp of coconut that is rich in oils, and the liquid inside the fruit contains a lot of antioxidants and minerals. It is thanks to them that coconut water quenches thirst so well.

 

Coconut pulp is highly nutritious, rejuvenates and relieves muscle fatigue. Panthenic and folic acids and B vitamins are important in metabolic processes and for the functioning of the immune and nervous system.

Coconut – description of the nut. Health benefits and Harms

There is a lot of potassium, magnesium and iodine in coconut. They support the heart and blood vessels, and iodine is essential for the endocrine glands.

Coconut pulp is high in fiber and fatty acids, which are beneficial for the intestinal flora. A small amount of this product relieves inflammation in stomach ulcers and intestinal colitis.

 

Vitamin E is considered a “beauty vitamin” and is good for the skin. Coconut oil nourishes and refreshes the skin, slows down the aging process, and fights minor inflammation. Lauric acid suppresses pathogenic microorganisms. Also, coconut oil improves the condition of hair and nails.

Coconut harm

Coconut is very high in calories, therefore it is contraindicated in obese people. Because of the high glycemic index in diabetes mellitus, it is better to eat coconut only with the permission of a doctor.

Coconut is high in fiber and is a natural laxative. For people prone to diarrhea, coconut, especially fresh coconut, can cause flare-ups. Also, it is better not to give such heavy food to children under 2 years of age. Coconut allergy sufferers have an increased risk of allergic reactions.

The use of coconut in medicine

Coconut is recommended for all people who play sports or hard physical work. To maintain strength, the pulp of the nut will not interfere with pregnant and lactating mothers.

Due to its high fiber content, coconut enhances intestinal motility and fights constipation. The oils envelop the inflamed mucous membranes and accelerate their healing, so coconut oil is recommended for stomach ulcers, gastritis, colitis.

Coconut – description of the nut. Health benefits and Harms

Coconut oil is actively used in massage and cosmetology. Lauric, oleic and caprylic acids are good for the skin. They maintain water balance, activate metabolic processes and have healing properties. The skin is saturated with nutrients and becomes more hydrated.

But oily skin has a high risk of clogged pores, so the oil is more suitable for dry skin. Coconut oil can also be used for hair, nails. Soaps, creams and balms are made on its basis.

Vitamin E in the pulp strengthens the walls of blood vessels, reduces the risk of atherosclerosis and generally improves the condition of the heart and blood vessels. You can eat no more than 100-200 grams of fresh coconut per day, and be sure to monitor the calorie content.

The use of coconut in medicine

Coconut is recommended for all people who play sports or hard physical work. To maintain strength, the pulp of the nut will not interfere with pregnant and lactating mothers.

Due to its high fiber content, coconut enhances intestinal motility and fights constipation. The oils envelop the inflamed mucous membranes and accelerate their healing, so coconut oil is recommended for stomach ulcers, gastritis, colitis.

Coconut oil is actively used in massage and cosmetology. Lauric, oleic and caprylic acids are good for the skin. They maintain water balance, activate metabolic processes and have healing properties. The skin is saturated with nutrients and becomes more hydrated.

But oily skin has a high risk of clogged pores, so the oil is more suitable for dry skin. Coconut oil can also be used for hair, nails. Soaps, creams and balms are made on its basis.

Coconut – description of the nut. Health benefits and Harms

Vitamin E in the pulp strengthens the walls of blood vessels, reduces the risk of atherosclerosis and generally improves the condition of the heart and blood vessels. You can eat no more than 100-200 grams of fresh coconut per day, and be sure to monitor the calorie content.

Coconut cooking

In cooking, coconut pulp is most often used; in dried form, it can be found in confectionery departments in the form of shavings. Coconut water and milk are even more popular in Asian cuisine – they are added to soups, fish and cereal dishes.

The taste of the pulp itself and the coconut water depends on the ripeness of the nut. The youngest have no pulp as such, the fruit is almost entirely filled with sweet and sour water. Gradually, the liquid thickens and becomes jelly-like. There is little water in mature nuts; most of it hardens at the walls in the form of white coconut pulp. It is used in its pure form in salads, desserts and even soups.

Coconut oil is obtained from the pressed pulp. It can be eaten like regular butter and has a sweet coconut flavor. Oil-based fillings are made in confectionery foods, creams. Natural coconut oil thickens already at +24 degrees. To make it melt, it is enough to hold it for a short time in a water bath or heat it up in a pan.

When the grated pulp is soaked in water, the liquid becomes coconut milk. It is often added to soups such as the famous tom yam.

Coconut milk

You can make natural coconut milk yourself.

It is drunk neat and added to many desserts. It is indispensable in Asian cuisine. After squeezing the pulp, the coconut flakes remain, which can be used in the next recipe.

Coconut – description of the nut. Health benefits and Harms

Fresh coconut is used to make milk, but the drink can also be made from dry shavings. Although it will be much less intense and tasty.

  • Coconut pulp – glass
  • Water

Remove the outer dark shell from the pulp, then grate or chop with a combine. Transfer to a bowl and pour boiling water over so that it only slightly covers the flesh. Leave for half an hour, then put it on a gauze napkin and squeeze the milk over a bowl. You need to squeeze out almost dry.

Milk is stored in the refrigerator for no more than a day, where it gradually thickens and is divided into two layers. The “coconut cream” rises upward – the fatty part of the milk. They can be used alone or mixed with milk.

Coconut milk completely replaces the usual cow milk in all recipes: with coffee, when kneading dough, stewing meat. It gives all dishes an interesting nutty flavor.

The resulting shavings can be dried in the oven at 80 degrees, stirring occasionally. Transfer to sealed jars after cooling.

How to choose and store coconut

Coconuts are sold in two states: green, and overripe brown. The freshest, “straight from the tree” – green coconuts, they are delivered as quickly as possible and harvested while still young. But cleaning them is more difficult, and they cost significantly more.

You can choose a good brown coconut – it is already peeled and you can see the fibers on it. Pay attention to the appearance – at the slightest damage, the nut quickly deteriorates, so the coconut should be free of cracks and punctures.

Coconut – description of the nut. Health benefits and Harms

Shake the nut – you can hear the liquid splashing in the ripe fruit. The coconut should be heavy by weight. The shell should be tight, not squeezed and sag from pressing with a finger. The lighter it is, the better.

After buying a coconut, it is better not to store it for a long time, but to open it and eat it. To do this, unfold the nut with three “eyes” towards you. Insert a thin knife or screwdriver into the center, making a hole. Turn the nut over and drain the coconut water.

Next, you need to remove the shell. You can simply smash it with a hammer or forcefully throw the nut onto the floor. But there is a more accurate way: with a heavy knife or hammer, tap on the entire surface of the coconut, holding it suspended in your hand. Periodically it needs to be turned by the other side.

Gradually, the shell will begin to lag behind in pieces. They need to be removed, and the resulting peeled fruit should be cut with a knife. The inside will be white flesh, and the outer brown soft rind can be removed if desired.

Once opened, the coconut is stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a couple of days. For longer storage, grate and dry the pulp. It is stored at room temperature in a jar with a tight lid, otherwise it will absorb all foreign odors.

If you buy ready-made coconut flakes, pay attention to the composition: the product should not contain any ingredients other than coconut.

How to grow a coconut tree

Coconut – description of the nut. Health benefits and Harms

Pacific Coast residents plant a coconut tree when a child is born

First of all, you need the right coconut for germination: medium size, preferably oblong, in the skin, untreated, gurgling when shaken, which indicates a supply of juice containing nutrients for the young plant.

The coconut must be ripe. Please note that most of the coconuts in our stores – brown ones – were removed prior to ripening. Therefore, the chances of a living plant are not great.

So, there is a candidate for a beautiful palm tree. It needs to be placed in water for several days, which will create natural conditions for germination. Prepare a planting container with a diameter of twice the size of the coconut. Fill it with nutritious loose soil with sand. If there is humus or peat, you can add.

The coconut palm is not demanding on the composition of the soil. Moisten it well. It is necessary. Place the coconut sideways in the container, so that the eyes are looking to the side. A sprout will come out of them. Very often the sprout appears after “soaking” the coconut. This means that the fruit is chosen correctly.

Eat only half of the coconut. The second – with the future sprout should be located at the same level with the ground.

Don’t expect quick results. The process takes up to six months. Faster in hot and humid climates. The optimum temperature is 30 ° C. It’s good that it’s summer.

As it grows, the plant is transplanted into a larger pot so that there is room for the development of the root system. A palm tree needs a lot of light, warmth and moisture.

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