The coconut plant is the most popular and valuable plant which nature has offered to us. Its scientific name is “Cocos nucifera”, which comes from the family of palm trees. The origin of the coconut tree is traced to Southeast Asia.
Various coconut products are available, from foods to oil, cosmetics, and medications. All parts of the coconut can be utilized, including its husk, milk, flesh and mesocarp.
Nature of Coconut tree
Coconut palms are primarily cultivated in tropical countries. An Equatorial climate with high humidity favours high coconut growth. A coconut tree can live up to 100 years and give 50 to 100 coconuts a year. Botanically, coconut is a drupe, not a nut.
Main Coconut Tree products
Coir is a natural fibre obtained from mesocarp tissue. These fibres are used in manufacturing outdoor and floor mats, cordage and rope, aquarium filters and garden mulch.
Copra is dried coconut meat. It is used to make cold-pressed coconut, refined coconut oil and even most raw coconut oils.
3. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is derived from coconut palm. It is often used in cooking, mainly for frying. It holds medium-chain fatty acids: capric, caprylic, and lauric. It gives a moisturizing effect when applied to the skin. Also it is used in cosmetics, soaps, hair oil, and massage oil.
4. Coconut Water and Meat
Both coconut water and coconut milk are derived from the edible part of the fruit, known as the endosperm tissue. The white flesh inside the coconut is called coconut meat.
Coconut oil is a sweet, limpid fluid that you can drink directly from young green coconuts. It comes naturally within the fruit and is called the liquid endosperm.
Once young coconuts start to mature, coconut water transforms into coconut meat, which is known as the solid endosperm.
5. Coconut Milk
Coconut milk differs from coconut water, obtained from pressing coconut meat, generally with hot water in addition to extracts of the coconut oil, aromatic compounds and proteins.
The main byproduct is coconut milk powder. It is a protein-filled powder that can be processed from coconut milk. Coconut oil is derived from copra and used for cooking, frying, etc.
Coconut leaves are used for manufacturing brooms in many Asian countries, especially in India, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. These leaves are also used for making baskets, thatch, mats, skewers, arrows, etc.
Coconut trunks are utilized for building small huts and bridges. It is an excellent alternative to endangered hardwoods, particularly in furniture creation and specialized construction.
The roots of the coconut are used as a mouthwash, a dye and folk medicine for dysentery and diarrhoea.
Health Benefits of Coconut
Including coconut in your diet may improve your overall health. Here are some of its benefits:
- Improves Skin Health
Smoothing coconut oil on hair and skin is a famous way to add moisture. Coconut oil can lock moisture into the skin to treat eczema and address dryness.
- Loaded With Nutrients
Coconut is known for its digestion-friendly characteristics. Minerals like iron, zinc, copper, manganese, magnesium, and selenium are available in the drupe.
- Increases Good Cholesterol Rate
Half of the saturated fat in coconut comes from lauric acid, which is associated with increasing levels of heart-protective HDL good cholesterol. On the other hand, it also increases the more harmful LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
- May Balance Blood Pressure
Coconut water is a good source of potassium, and consuming it helps balance sodium levels and blood pressure.
Adding Coconut to your Meals
- Using coconut oil as an alternative in any cooking recipe is easy, but ensure you choose the virgin or all-purpose. Best suited to your particular tastes.
- When cooking, virgin coconut oil gives an excellent tropical coconut taste to dishes like curries and stir-fries. Multi-use coconut oil has a neutral flavour.
- You can add dairy-free coconut milk to your coffee as a substitute for creamer.
- You can try coconut milk yoghurt, which is available in different flavours.
- Try stove-top popcorn with coconut oil.
Coconuts are now used in various industries, from agriculture, medicine, construction, and energy. This global fruit has been sustaining communities worldwide for thousands of years, with all its parts being used in one way or another.
1. What is coconut’s scientific name and family?
The scientific name of coconut is Cocos nucifera. These trees count among the tallest trees in the world. The length of the coconut trees extends up to 25 m. Rainfalls, sandy soils, and abundant sunlight are the main ingredients required for the flourishing of the coconut trees. Tropical coastal regions are the most favourable places where these trees can be seen abundantly.
2. What is the nutrition of coconut?
Coconut is one of the few fruits that offers naturally occurring fats. It is also a great of magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and folate.
3. What is the importance of coconuts?
The coconut tree offers food, fuel, cosmetics, traditional medicines, building materials, and many other uses.
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