Some authorities show the Southeast Asia (Peninsular region) as their place of origin, others place its origin in northeastern South America. The coconut has spread throughout the tropics, particularly along tropical coastlines. Because the coconut is very dense and floats, it can be transported by sea currents enormous distances. The coconut palm thrives in sandy and saline soils in areas with abundant sunlight and regular rains. The coconut was originally brought to the islands of Hawaii long ago by Polynesian travelers from the South Pacific.
The meat of the coconut is good for the stomach and the intestines due to the amount of fiber.
A coconut tree will live approximately 60 years and generates an average bunch of about 15 coconuts each month. The coconut trees reach an average of 10-30 meters in height, depending on the variety. In Brazil, the use of coconut milk in food is a cultural heritage left by the slaves who came from Mozambique. In Timor, the coconut water is a liquid sacred used to bless the crops of corn. In World War II the coconut water was injected as an IV in soldiers who had severe dehydration. It has a composition similar to that of plasma. To the people of the islands of the South Pacific, the coconut palm tree is known as the tree of life. The coconut water contains low-calories: 8 oz has 45 ca lories. The meat or flesh of the fruit has the high caloric content. 1 ounce of coconut equals approximately 100 calories.
In India, where the fermented coconut water is used as a protein supplement in school meals, increases were observed in school performance and stature of children.
Coconut water is considered a natural isotonic rich in minerals. The presence of electrolytes such as sodium and potassium provide a more rapid absorption, recovering the losses of these minerals in the urine and skin. Coconut water is the only commercially available natural isotonic beverage. It is ideal to replace the fluid lost in physical activities and for recovery in cases of dehydration. Coconut water is indicated in cases of diarrhea or vomiting.
Another benefit of coconut water is in the fight against cholesterol problems, high blood pressure, cramps, and muscle pain, since the water tends to decrease the heart rate and control the amount of sodium and fluid throughout the body.
The coconut oil or coconut butter grease contains about 90% of saturated acids extracted by pressing the pulp. It is used often in the cosmetics.
Extra virgin coconut oil is a 100% natural product of plant origin. It solidifies below 25°C, is cold pressed, and is not subjected to the process of refining and deodorization, but extracted from the flesh of fresh coconut by crushing, pressing and triple filtration. The coconut oil is a food supplement with many beneficial properties providing strength for the immune system, facilitating digestion and absorption of nutrients. Substances found in coconut oil include the essential fatty acids and glycerol, allowing the body to produce saturated and unsaturated fatty acids according to the needs.
The content of saturated fat in coconut oil is similar to human milk, which means it is easy to digest, generating energy quickly, with beneficial effect on the immune system. When subjected to high temperatures, the extra virgin coconut oil does not lose its nutritional characteristics and is regarded as a stable oil. It is considered the most healthy to cook with and shows no trans fat generated by the process of hydrogenation, which is present in vegetable oils such as soybean, canola, corn and even of the olive. It helps keep the weight, decreases the cholesterol and protects against cardiovascular disease. Only extra virgin olive oil is healthy for the lower level of cholesterol.
The nutritional value of the coconut and its taste will vary depending on the stage of maturity the coconut is in. Generally, the coconut has significant amounts of minerals (potassium, sodium, phosphorus and chlorine), and fibers. As the flesh matures it becomes enriched and so does its content of fat. The coconut also has carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins A, B1, B2, B5 and C and magnesium. As the water becomes the meat the protein content increases.
Composition of coconut water %
Phosphoric acid 0.56
Calcium oxide 0.69
Magnesium oxide 0.59
Total solids 4.71
Reducing sugars 0.80
Total sugars 2.08
The coconut and calories:
20 g of coconut pulp and green = 35 calories
1 tablespoon (10g) desiccated coconut lime = 45
1 tablespoon (20 ml) coconut milk = 50 cal
1 cup (250 ml) of coconut water =55 cal
1 tablespoon (15 g) of fresh coconut lime = 70
2 tablespoon (25 grams) of grated flesh of mature coconut = 75 calories
1 tablespoon (10 grams) of coconut oil = 90 cal
1 small cube of sweet coconut dessert cooked in sugar (50 g)= 160 cal
Coconut/Amount Per 1 medium (397 g)
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 133 g 204%
Saturated fat 118 g 590%
Polyunsaturated fat 1.5 g
Monounsaturated fat 6 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 79 mg 3%
Potassium 1,413 mg 40%
Total Carbohydrate 60 g 20%
Dietary fiber 36 g 144%
Sugar 25 g
Protein 13 g 26%
Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 21%
Calcium 5% Iron 53%
Vitamin D 0% Vitamin B-6 10%
Vitamin B-12 0% Magnesium 31%