Living in this day and age of technology and viral social media, we have witnessed defaming of practically anything and everything. It could have been a person, a brand, a diet or an ingredient. A short time ago one such spice had a very bad reputation. It was thought to be artery clogging and cholesterol laden which contributed to heart disease.
Not only its health benefits, its appearance was equally confusing. Sometimes it appeared green shelled with sweet water inside, sometimes it was sold as hard brown shelled with less water and more white meat, and sometimes in shredded or powder form.
After lot of research and many studies proving the benefits and nutrition of coconut, it’s exoticness still manages to torment and threaten many of us. Its appearance, its health benefits and now number of products derived from coconut, it still continues to be super-confusing…
Today let’s know everything about coconut right from its products, health benefits to its quick and easy uses…
Coconut spice is the fruit of the royal palm tree that grows in subtropical and tropical regions around the world. Coconuts are super nutritious, loaded with dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals.
If you have thought coconut as very fatty and avoided it then you are correct about first half and you will change your mind about avoiding it after reading this blog.
Coconut contains about 80% fat out of which 76% is saturated fat. We are well aware that saturated fats clogs the arteries hence we’re told to minimize foods containing saturated fats including animal products. But coconut, natures boon is bestowed with the saturated fat that makes it a miracle-spice! Because the saturated fat in coconut is very special, we will explore more about it in weight loss health benefits.
Let’s explore different forms in which we can enjoy coconut
Coconut water is the liquid found inside a young, immature coconuts. It’s a very popular drink in the tropical regions.
Coconut water is mildly sweet and energizing drink. It is source of electrolytes, enzymes, and essential minerals. It helps digestion and boosts your metabolism. In India, it is very commonly given to sick persons especially to those, with digestive issues. It is common practice to pamper pregnant ladies with fresh coconut water daily especially in first trimester, when morning sickness, nausea and vomiting might be disruptive.
1. Drink as is.
2. Make a detox water by adding berries, orange wedges/peels to coconut water and plain water in equal quantity.
Fresh coconut milk is made shredding fresh coconut, extracting the crème from it and by adding pure water or coconut water to it. Sometimes hot water is poured over shredded coconut and then by squeezing it to extract more yield. These days you can find coconut milk in cartons and in canned forms as well.
1. Add coconut milk to make smoothies, sauces or curries.
2. Make hot cocoa with coconut milk and add a cinnamon stick for stirring.
It is a heavier, paste-like form of coconut milk. Pretty much like milk crème this can be easily replaced by a vegan for richer, sweeter, creamier flavor and texture.
1. Coconut crème can be used as a great garnishing and decorating ingredient as a plant-based substitute.
2. Replace regular crème with coconut crème in curries, sauces and enjoy richer creamier flavor.
As the name suggests coconut oil is made by pressing dried or fresh coconut meat. The milk and meat from the coconut is pressed to extract the oil. Coconut oil solidifies in a firmer texture because of the saturated fats in it. At room temperatures of about 78 degrees it appears in liquid form.
1. Coconut oil is ideal for sautéing, making sauces and for baking.
2. It is greatly used as carrier oil in many of the ayurvedic remedies.
3. It promotes healthy scalp and hair growth, thus excellent for hair health.
4. It is excellent natural skin moisturizer hence it is very commonly used to massage newborn babies in India.
5. Coconut oil is also used to stop earache or nosebleed by adding 1-2 drops of lukewarm coconut oil to ear and nose.
Fresh coconut is a white meaty part. You can get it fresh extracted from the young green coconut or you have to shred it from the slightly mature brown coconut. You can find this in frozen isle of grocery supermarkets or ethnic stores.
1. Sprinkle shredded fresh coconut on meat, fish stews, and curries at the end of cooking.
2. Use it in making desserts and in baking.
3. Sprinkle it over hot chocolate for a beautiful flavor and as garnish.
4. Make a chutney by adding fresh coconut, green/Thai chili, ginger, garlic, cilantro, salt and lemon juice in a blender. Blend all of these. Add a tempering of mustard seeds, asafetida and curry leaves.
Dried coconut is a dehydrated form of fresh coconut. It is found in whole, sliced, grated and powder form in ethnic grocery stores.
1. It is used in making curries, spice mixes and for special rubs.
2. It can also be used a beautiful form of garnish in shredded form.
3. In sweetened as well as in unsweetened shredded form it is very popular in desserts and in baking.
Coconut flour is nothing but just the dried dehydrated powdered coconut meat. Since its just coconut this flour is gluten-free, low in carbohydrates and high in fiber.
1. It is very popular gluten-free flour for tortillas, wraps and baking desserts.
Coconut sugar is a natural sugar made from coconut sap. It is the sugary circulating fluid of the coconut plant. This liquid sap is collected by making a cut on the flower of the coconut palm. This sap is then heated until it thickens into a brown and granulated sugar. Coconut sugar contains small amounts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids and fiber. Coconut sugar is diabetic friendly as it causes a slightly lower rise in blood sugar than regular table sugar.
1. Use is like a sugar substitute but in moderation.