After a wonderful 11 days spent in South America for a much-anticipated wedding of my beautiful friend, I have a little latin fever!! As I sit here writing, I am listening to the beautiful Spanish words of Marc Anthony feeling inspired not only to learn the romantic language but also to talk about the very popular South American fruit, the Coconut!! Abundant in Latin America, the Coconut serves a multitude of purposes, that range from medicinal, to a driving resource in their economy. Extraction of the oil, use of the meat, bottling of the water, every part of the coconut serves it’s purpose in more ways than one!!
Considered a “Saturated Fat”, not all saturated fats are considered equal. With a solid composition (a property common in saturated fat) coconut oil has a much higher melting point then other plant-based oils, making it less prone to oxidation (a precursor to cancers) and safer for cooking. Many people believe that the saturation of this oil can lead to higher cholesterol but research dating as far back as 1930 has shown that islanders from the South Pacific to have no incidence of heart disease, with coconut serving as a staple in their traditional diet. (1) Not only is coconut oil a wonderful cooking oil but it’s properties have shown to promote immunity, thyroid function and increase in metabolism. This oil served me well on my trip, when suitcase space is limited; with just a small travel size container full, I could use it as a moisturizer for dry skin, as well as a hair conditioner, helping to combat the drying effects of ocean salt!!
The water of the coconut is rich in potassium, an electrolyte which is depleted after exercise. This flavourless water is a wonderful replacement of sugary sports drinks used after a workout. Keep in mind that it does not have the carbohydrate properties of a sports drinks, so accompanied by a fruit will serve your body well after 60 minutes of continuous exercise.
This rich milk is jam-packed with crucial minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus and iron, that your body requires. Used in many traditional Asian and East Indian dishes, coconut milk serves as a creamy addition to any meal. Coconut milk is considered a to be very powerful immune booster, containing nearly 50 % of its fat in the form of Lauric Acid (a health promoting “miracle”compound) that screams of anti bacterial and anti viral properties!!
Although coconuts are dense in nutrients and offer an endless spectrum of purposes, don’tt forget that they are still high in calories and should be consumed in moderation.
As my life demands are increasing, time is becoming harder to find and so my posts will be Mondays and Fridays only. Please join me on Friday when I will be posting a yummy, coconut rich recipe!!