Nutrition and Health Benefits from Coconuts

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Nutrition and Health Benefits from Coconuts
by Dan Gerhardt · All Zones · Food Nutrition · 0 Comments · March 15, 2011 · 3,838 views

The Coconut Trinity

Coconuts are a classic dichotomy - being both religious nuts and spiritual fruits at the same time. This would be about the same time that the cuckoo bird comes peeking out of the cuckoo clock, beckoning to all who have ears to hear and eyes to see. Coconuts have two basic life stories; one is the huddling together of one another amidst the birds in tight treetop clusters and the other is the futile squandering of days in the solitary confinement of the sand, excommunication-style. The rogue coconut is kept only in the company of the rotten corpses of their formerly fallen brethren and the random visit by a wandering ant. Either way, the large gekko lizards neither care, nor do they have any understanding of the gravitational pull of Newtonian physics. It matters not on what the cocnut stands - the shifting sand, the solid rock, or the corrugated tree trunk, so long as they can capture and bathe in the light of the sun for hours on end, far removed from the cares and worries of the world of men.

 PictureAll coconuts, regardless of their current life situation, and despite their stubborn, defensive, and overprotective tendencies, share a saving grace, the salvation of the holy trinity residing deep inside of them - the meat, the milk, and the oil. Hallelujah, preach it brother. Granted, the promised land is generally more suited for the likes of flowing milk and honey, or bread and wine, even olive oil, but this will have to suffice.

It is of no conincidence, by the way, that the cracking of one's skull is often likened to the cracking of a coconut, either metaphorically or literally. Sweet release either way. But we are obviously not coconuts, nor are we full-blown tucan-sam, woody-the-woodpecker, certifiably cuckoo-for-coco-puffs crazy, are we? So we have a choice. Which do we choose - to climb and take...or sit and wait? Regardless, you will end up with either helter-skeltered hands and thighs or a brutally resonating thump on the head that leaves a singing and dancing ring of birds and stars in it's wake. Now would be a good time for the clock to strike twelve noon, briefly snapping us from our daydream, or at the very least momentarily suspending us between lucid imagination land and vivid reality. Hmmm...time is of the essence; for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction; what goes up, must come down and vice-versa. The nut doesn't fall far from the tree, but don't eat the fruit too low, I always say. Besides, I always did like The Beatles. Charles Manson, though - not so much.

Some shells are just hard to break, taking either many tiny chips from persistently furtive stabbing, or just one complete hemispherically dissecting fracture from one staggering blow before one can sanctimoniously drink down that holy mother mary's milk like a lost, anemic sinner sucking out the cerebrospinal fluid from the rugged skull of a born-again, tiki-man's monkey-god. For an extra firey-tongued kick, simply mix in some rum (when in Rome) and pineapple juice (South Pacific) for a charismatic cult-cocktail with a twist of the sublime. Mindlessly enraptured by the baptismal quenching of one's longing thirst, we ascend above the parrot-filled treetops, high above the breaking waves, and rise out into the open sky, far away from the transience of the desert island. Here, we merge forever and ever with the spectral rays of the blinding sun, and now - the realization unfolds that we are all in paradise already, have been all along, and always will be. The lime and the coconut, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. Amen.

CoconutsCoconuts in History

Cocount fruit Intriguing and mysterious practices involving the coconut have evolved throughout the tropical regions where they are not only valued as fertility symbols, but also sometimes feared as taboo, a source of unseen magical forces that cause lightning strikes and incurable illnesses. Speaking of evil, coconut shells have even been used as an acceptable form of monetary currency. In many cultures, it is a tradition that three spoonfuls of coconut flesh are the first solid food eaten by a newly born baby.

The Latin name for coconut is cocos nucifera. Early Spanish explorers called it coco, which means monkey face, and ucifera means nut-bearing. For thousands of years, coconut products have held a respected and valuable place in local folk medicine. Diverse peoples from all around the globe have revered the coconut as a valuable source of both food and medicine. The coconut is a staple in the diet on many islands and provides the majority of the food eaten. Pacific Islanders value the coconut palm so highly as a source of both food and medicine that they call it the tree of life. Nearly one third of the world's population depends on coconut to some degree for their food and their economy. The coconut provides a nutritious source of meat, milk, and oil that has fed and nourished tropical populations around the world for generations, particuarly India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, The Phillipines, and Brazil.

The origins of the coconut tree are the subject of controversy, with most authorities claiming it is native to South Asia, while others claim it's origin is in South America. Fossil records from New Zealand indicate that small, coconut-like plants grew there as long as 15 million years ago. Written Sanskrit records of coconuts date back as far as the 4th century B.C. Today, India is the third largest producer of coconuts in the world, with the state of Kerala leading the production. In the state of Florida, the coconut naturalized in the 1880's with the help of an off-shore ship wreck at what is presently and rightfully named Palm Beach. The "nuts" that the ship was hauling broke free, floated to the coast, and found their new home, where they eventually sprouted into massive clumps. To this day, all the millionaires and billionaires who enjoy this exclusive, palm-filled beach community can thank a shipwreck two centuries ago for depositing a true treasure on their lucky shores...the coconut palm!

Nutritional & Health Benefits From Coconuts

Coconut is classified as a functional food, because it provides many health benefits beyond its nutritional content. Coconut is highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Coconut oil is of special interest because it possesses healing properties far beyond that of any other dietary oil and is extensively used in traditional medicine among Asian and Pacific populations. Coconut is also used in traditional medicine to treat a wide variety of health problems around the world. While coconut meat and milk possess many health benefits due to its fiber and nutritional content, it is the oil that makes it a truly remarkable food and medicine.

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Dan Gerhardt

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Dan Gerhardt - Aside from being a life-long gardener, Dr. Dan Gerhardt is a chiropractor and nutritionist.

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