Back in 1555, the coconut first appeared in English literature. The Spanish and Portuguese named the coconut from the word “coco” which means “monkey face.” The three round indents on the coconut were thought to mirror a monkey’s face. Whole coconuts were used as a currency until the start of the 20th century on the Nicobar Islands. Coconuts are the largest known seeds, unlike their name implies, they are not nuts.
The liquid part of the coconut is called coconut water. Many have been aware of the nutritional benefits of coconuts and the opaque, slightly sweet liquid it contains, but it is only in recent years that coconut water has gained popularity as a natural sport’s drink.
The water of the coconut is rich in electrolytes that replenish the body after exercise and can keep it cool by maintaining proper body temperature. In fact, coconut water can raise metabolism, boost the immune system, fight viruses, cleanse the digestive tract, promote weight loss, treat kidney stones, control diabetes and improve circulation in the blood.
Many popular beverage companies are in development with coconut water products that will soon hit the market. Its naturally sweet, light flavor needs no doctoring or additives. Be certain when considering products to avoid ones that contain unnecessary additives. There are products available, such as Zico, that do not contain anything but the pure product.
The coconut as a whole is a versatile food. It is low in fat, sugars and carbs. The water and meat of the coconut are used to create a myriad of products. Even the husk of the coconut is a popular material that can be used to create mats, brushes, fishnet and rope. In ancient times, island natives would burn them to use them as fuel.
In the 1970s and 1980s, coconut oil was deemed an unhealthy saturated fat by the federal government. However, current science shows that the saturated fat contained in coconut oil is different from the saturated fats found in animal products. It is plant-derived and has now been found to be a heart healthy oil.
Back in the 1940s, coconut water was administered to injured soldiers in the form of emergency plasma transfusions. It has been used as an IV solution for years in third world countries. The potent, nutritious properties of coconut water has saved many lives.
The coconut’s benefits to good health are vast. The water of the coconut has been found more nutritious than orange juice or whole milk. It contains a substance that is present in mother’s breast milk, lauric acid, that is better for a baby than formula. Compared to commercial sports drinks, coconut water contains more potassium, less sodium, high levels of chloride and is lower in natural sugars.
Versatile, delicious, healthful and full of nutrients – the coconut, as a raw diet food, deserves the recognition it beginning to receive.