Coconuts have a way of reminding us of long vacations, walks on the beach, hula dancing, and tropical drinks. From a family vacation in Hawaii to a yoga retreat in Sri Lanka, coconuts connect us to the culture we immerse ourselves in. This hearty fruit is a not only a refreshing treat but also a spiritual offering that symbolizes life, protection, and wealth. It even embodies a legend that is still worshiped today in Tahiti.
Nature considers them the Jack-of-all-trades, providing a high-calorie food, potable water, fiber that can be spun into rope, a hard shell that can be turned into charcoal, and even a handy flotation device. From relaxation to survival, this multi-purpose fruit stands out in the plant kingdom.
The Journey of the Coconut
Coconuts don’t have a sole origin but rather roots within many countries along the Pacific and Indian Ocean. After studying the DNA of the trees, biologists used coconut DNA to trace how the fruit traveled with humans. From the Indian ocean, Europeans brought the coconut to the New World while the Portuguese carried them to the West Coast of Africa. During the colonial period, the Spanish brought coconuts to the Pacific coast of Mexico from the Philippines. Biologists believe that coconut DNA preserves a record of human cultivation, voyages of exploration, trade, and colonization.
Bringing Coconuts into the Kitchen
Coconut is a fruit that can be made into savory or sweet dishes. Because it’s such a versatile fruit, coconuts are perfect for any cook or baker. You’ve probably already seen the abundance of coconut products on the shelves: coconut milk, oil, cream, flour, sugar, water, chips, etc. Beyond its versatility, the coconut’s nutritional value has made it a staple in modern day cooking.
1 cup of shredded coconut meat provides:
- 280 calories
- 3g of protein
- 7g of fiber
- 90mg of potassium
Coconut water alone has 600mg of potassium per cup. Packed with electrolytes, it’s ideal for rehydrating after a workout. From traditional Thai food to our coconut banana cake with frozen kefir, this super fruit has a way of making everything taste delicious!
With vitamin E, fatty acids, and protein, coconut oil has become a staple beauty product. As an exfoliant, the oil is used as a body lotion, lip balm, makeup remover, stretch-mark cream, body scrub, frizz tamer, deep conditioner, deodorant, and so much more! Coconut oil can vastly improve your skin by bringing a natural twist to your self-care routines. As an added bonus, the smell of coconuts can lower heart rate, making it perfect for stressful moments.
Easy Coconut Recipes:
If you’re looking for simple ways to incorporate coconut into your diet, try these probiotic recipes from our archives.