March 11, 2016 0 Comments

We nuts about coconuts here at Elements for Life. It's truly is amazing, with so many uses for virtually the whole plant, it's no wonder it's often referred to by Pacific Islanders as The Tree of Life.

green coconutsHealth Benefits of Coconuts

The flesh of the coconut (including coconut butter and dried coconut) is high in fibre, vitamins and minerals and a great all round food.

Coconut water, which is the fluid inside fresh coconuts, is a refreshing drink, which is great at hydrating after exercise. It has even been used as an emergency intravenous hydration fluid and can be used in emergency blood transfusions.

Virgin Coconut Oil is comprised of mainly saturated fats, but unlike most oils (including olive and rapeseed oils), those found in coconut oil are medium-chain fatty acids. This is important as our body metabolizes them to produce energy and does not store them as fat and actually help protect against heart disease.

Lauric acid makes up the largest proportion of the saturated fats in coconut oil, and is naturally antifungal, antiviral, antiprotozoal and antimicrobial and has a long tradition of being used to treat bites, wounds and infections in tropical regions. The lauric acid works as a natural deodorant by killing odour-causing bacteria.

Coconut oil improves the absorption of calcium and magnesium, protecting against osteoporosis. It also supports healing of the skin, softens the skin, conditions hair and controls dandruff.

These are just some of the health benefits of coconuts and I'm sure I'll re-visit this fabulous food in the cooking months.

Coconut Oil v Coconut Butter

Often confused with coconut butter, coconut oil is the fat extracted from the coconut. In our temperate climes, it is usually a white solid, only melting when the temperature raises above 24ºC when it will be transparent.

Virgin Coconut Oil is high in vitamin E, carotene & tocotrienols (all oil-soluble) and have been part of a healthy tropical diet for thousands of years. Traditionally the tropics have had lower incidence of heart disease and other major degenerative dis-eases that are common place in the West.

Coconut oil is considered the safest oil to fry with due to it's high stability meaning it doesn't form trans fats at high temperatures.  Trans fats are know to be carcinogenic in the body.

Coconut butter by contrast is the pulverised coconut meat, consisting of both the fat and the fibre. It's essentially pureed coconut flesh and is sometimes known as creamed coconut. Definitely not to be fried with!

Recipes With Coconut

coconut oilCoconut in all it's forms is such a wonderful ingredient, that it features in quite a few of our recipes. Why don't you try out some of the following some time to see for yourself just how versatile and tasty coconut products are.

The Crystalised Ginger recipe uses our yummy coconut palm sugar, which is then used in our Spiced Ginger and Brazil Brittle recipe.

Our amazing virgin coconut oil features in Jessica Fenton's fabulous Raw Ice Cream Sundae recipe, as well as being an optional variation in our Basic Raw ChocolateRaw Chocolate Coconut Cups and Creamy Raw Hot Chocolate recipes.

You'll find dessicated coconut in our Bountiful Raw Chocolates and 10 Minute Raw Chocolate Cake recipes. Coconut butter or coconut milk also go fab in Thai curries, one of my specialities!

Do you have a favourite recipe that uses coconut in one form or another?

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