Crack a coconut | Daily News


 

Crack a coconut

Coconut water
Coconut water

There is saying that Truth is stranger than fiction. When it comes to the story of the Coconut, it is hard to separate myth from fact, making it a fruit that has captured the fascination of man for centuries. According to Sanskrit Literature it was a product of the churning of the ocean by gods and demons and ultimately it was taken by the former to heaven and planted in Indra’s garden. Interestingly a study in 2008 showed that the coconuts in the Americas are genetically closest related to coconuts in the Philippines, and not to any other nearby coconut populations. Such an origin indicates that the coconuts were not introduced naturally, such as by sea currents. Green Thumbs speaks to Green Thumbs speaks to Institute of Indigenous Medicine, Department of Dravyaguna Vignana, Senior Lecturer, Dr. S. D. Hapuarachchi on the Coconut - The three marks on the coconut (Nariyal) considered to be the three eyes of Lord Shiva. That is why coconut is termed as auspicious in puja rituals.

As Sri Lankans we are well versed on the subject of coconuts, seeing our mothers and maids preparing the food items. Flaked or shaved, coconut adds a nice flavor to savory dishes. Its meaty texture and flavor work well in curries, fish stews, rice dishes, or even on breaded shrimp. Be aware that some brands contain added sugar, which you may not want for savory dishes. Be sure to check the ingredient label. Shredded coconut is great for baking and adds a touch of natural sweetness and moisture to cookies, muffins, and quick breads. A sprinkle of raw coconut adds some texture and tropical flavor to oatmeal. Stirred into pudding or yogurt, it’s also a delicious calorie booster for someone who wants to gain weight. Coconut flour is used in baking as a substitute for wheat flour. It’s gluten-free, nut-free, and a popular option for anyone who’s counting carbs. Because it’s grain-free, the flour is also good for those on the paleo diet, which does not allow grain products like regular wheat flour. However, coconut flour is best used in recipes that have been tested. Additionally, coconut oil is a delicious heat-stable fat that can be used in baking, sautéing, or roasting. Coconut is a high-fat fruit that has a wide range of health benefits. These include providing you with disease-fighting antioxidants, promoting blood sugar regulation, and reducing certain risk factors for heart disease.

“Coconut water is a favorite during a heat wave. Coconut water is different from coconut milk. When you break the hard shell to open the fruit, it has mildly sweet water inside that is known for its extreme health benefits. This wonderful natural drink is very popular during the hot season. The water from young, tender coconuts is sweeter and has the best flavor. Making a cocktail with coconut is an easy way to give a drink a Caribbean twist and a sweet, oily, salivation-inducing complexity. Coconut and pineapple are a natural pairing for tropical cocktails. Coconut cocktails are among the tastiest treats in the bar and there is a great variety to choose from,” said Hapuarachchi.

The Coconut tree is tree that has multiple benefits. It is used to make sticks that enable small home businesses in Sri Lanka with the wood being the best friend of the village lass who prepares food the traditional way.

A coconut tree is often called the Kalpavriksha or the tree that grants all blessings.

“Coconut leaves have thick sticks that can be used to make brooms for your home! It is really easy to assemble the sticks together and tie them with a thread to make the broom. People make coconut brooms for both domestic and commercial use. Many parts of the coconut tree can serve as inexpensive fuel for fires. Coconut husks, shells, leaves, leaf stems, and flower stems are used for fires in traditional kitchens. In places with many coconut trees, finding the wood for fire is an easy and inexpensive task. Coconut flowers have many medicinal uses. They are an ingredient in many traditional remedies, especially medicines for new mothers,” pointed out Hapuarachchi.

Coconut is also a boon to home gardeners and industries that aim at mass production. It offers a array of items that a housewife or cleaning lady will find very useful. It is an excellent tree to grow in a home garden because it has so many benefits.

“There are a number of uses for the coconut husk. They can be used as natural scrubbers to clean dinner plates, cups, other vessels, and even the floor. Coconut husks are also used as a craft material to create many beautiful things. For example, you can color it and use it as hair for dolls.

When it comes to ropes, this is one of the major uses of coconuts, at least for the many people who make a living with it. People in many rural areas make their living from making ropes out of coconut husk, and it is a profitable business which is again a plus point for home gardens. This is actually a difficult task and requires immense manual labor. People work in large groups in coir factories to make ropes and mats from the husks of coconuts,” added Hapuarachchi.

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HEALTH BENEFITS OF COCONUT

* Highly nutritious

Unlike many other fruits that are high in carbs, coconuts provide mostly fat. They also contain protein, several important minerals, and small amounts of B vitamins. The minerals in coconut are involved in many functions in your body. Coconuts are especially high in manganese, which is essential for bone health and the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and cholesterol. They’re also rich in copper and iron, which help form red blood cells, as well as selenium, an important antioxidant that protects your cells.

* May benefit heart health

Studies have found that people who live on Polynesian islands and frequently eat coconut meat have lower rates of heart disease than those who follow a Western diet. However, native Polynesians also eat more fish and less processed foods, so it’s unclear if these lower rates are due to eating coconut or other aspects of their diet. But overall, it concluded that coconut oil has a neutral effect on cholesterol levels.

Consuming virgin coconut oil, which is extracted from dried coconut meat, may reduce belly fat. This is especially beneficial because excess belly fat increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

* May promote blood sugar control

Coconut is low in carbs and high in fiber and fat, so it may help stabilize your blood sugar. Coconut is low in carbs and rich in amino acids, healthy fats, and fiber, making it a great choice for blood sugar control.

* Contains powerful antioxidants

Coconuts contain polyphenol antioxidants that can protect your cells from damage, which may reduce your disease risk.

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WORD OF CAUTION

Because they’re so high in fat, coconuts are also high in calories. Depending on your calorie needs and intake, they might promote weight gain if you don’t account for the extra calories elsewhere in your diet.

There still isn’t much good-quality research on coconut when it comes to cholesterol, and heart disease. Thus, while eating coconut in moderation is probably fine, you should ask your healthcare provider about it if you are at risk of developing heart disease.

Additionally, some people are allergic to coconuts, though this is rare. If you have this allergy, you should avoid consuming all coconut-derived products.

Coconut is high in calories, so if you’re watching your weight, keep your portions small. Check with your healthcare provider about eating it if you have very high cholesterol or are at risk of heart disease.


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