Coconut is hard-shelled tropical fruit. This fruit has gained popularity all over the world and is used in both cooking and making beauty products. This article will tackle the various health and nutritional benefits of fresh coconut as well as what can be made from fresh coconut.
Fresh coconuts are usually coconuts that have not yet matured and thus have more water as the white part is not yet fully developed. This water contains important nutrients and thus should be consumed shortly after cracking the coconut shell.
The nutrients contained in coconut water include potassium, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, and sodium. These nutrients are very important as they help the major body systems function at optimal levels.
Fresh coconuts are also different from mature coconuts as their fleshy part is gel-like. The water from these coconuts contains a lot of electrolytes that make it best for consumption after one has undergone a vigorous workout.
The coconut water contains very low amounts of sugar and carbohydrates and contains little to no fat. It contains a lot of vitamin B, proteins, and ascorbic acid. The fleshy part of a fresh coconut is great at restoring damaged oxidative tissues. This part also contains a lot of minerals and vitamins as well as proteins and healthy fats.
The Health and Nutritional Benefits of the Coconut
The following are some of the health and beauty benefits we get from consuming fresh coconuts:
1. They Are Rich in Fiber
Fresh coconuts have very high fiber content with one cup of shredded coconut flesh giving about 7 grams of fiber. It is advisable to consume foods rich in fiber to help maintain healthy bowel movements.
Consuming a lot of fiber also helps to prevent fluctuations in blood sugar level, lowers your blood pressure and reduces your risk of getting hemorrhoids.
Fiber-rich food such as coconut helps you to feel full for much longer and thus prevents you from overeating which is great at helping you lose weight. Due to high fiber content, coconuts can help reduce your cholesterol levels by reducing the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in your blood.
2. They Contain a Lot of Minerals
Coconuts contain a large variety of minerals that are necessary for the healthy functioning of your body. Consuming a cup of shredded fresh coconut flesh will give you the following percentages of recommended daily mineral intake:
- 17% of copper
- 60% of manganese
- 9% of phosphorus
- 11% of selenium
- 6% of magnesium
- 10% of iron
- 5% of zinc
When all these minerals will help specific body parts perform their task efficiently and thus generally keep your body healthy.
3. Coconuts Help to Boost Immunity
The fleshy part of a fresh coconut contains capric, lauric and caprylic fatty acids which have antiviral, antibacterial and antiprotozoal properties. These fatty acids help the immune system to destroy pathogens which would attempt to cause harm to your body.
Coconut fat also contains monolaurin is very effective in fighting off viruses. Consuming fresh coconut can also help you lower your chances of getting a yeast infection known as candida.
4. Coconut Water Helps to Prevent Dehydration
Coconut water contains a lot of potassium as well as other minerals which help to keep internal body fluids level. They also help to rehydrate and replenish the body in the event that the body loses these important fluids.
Coconut water is great at treating dehydration that has been caused by diarrhea or vomiting as it contains electrolyte and plasma balance that is similar to that of human beings.
5. Coconuts Can Be Used to Treat Digestive Problems
There is Lauric acid contained in fresh coconut water which our bodies convert to monolaurin. This has antiprotozoal, antibacterial and antiviral properties that make it effective at combating intestinal worms, viruses that are lipid-coated, parasites and other infections in the gastrointestinal tract in both adults and children.
This being said, you can simply treat intestinal worms by mixing a cup of coconut water with one teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and drink it once a day for a period of at least 3 days.
If you are suffering from diarrhea, constipation or any other common digestive problems, you should drink a cup of coconut water twice daily until the problem stops.
Uses of Fresh Coconut
The following are some of the ways in which you can use fresh coconuts:
1. To Make Flour
The fleshy part of the coconut can be dried and ground to make coconut flour. This type of flour has no gluten, has high fiber content and very low carbohydrate contents. This flour can be used to bake delicious treats that are healthier.
2. To Make Coconut Sugar
The coconut sap from the budding flower of a coconut plant is extracted and used to make coconut sugar. The sugar produced from these flowers is sweet like brown sugar and they contain a hint of caramel.
Coconut sugar also contains a lot of minerals, amino acids, and vitamins which makes it better than the normal sugar we buy from the supermarket. This sugar is great for diabetics as it is low glycemic.
3. To Make Coconut Cream and Milk
You can shred the flesh of a fresh coconut, mix it with water and squeeze out the water with a clean cheesecloth or sieve to make coconut milk. You can use this coconut milk to prepare some Thai dishes.
Coconut cream, on the other hand, is made from pure coconut milk that has not been mixed with water. It usually has a thicker and pastier texture as compared to the coconut milk. Coconut cream can be used to prepare thicker curries and stews.
Benefits of Coconut for Sleep
Studies have shown that taking coconut oil can help regulate your sleep pattern. Though coconut won’t necessarily make you fall asleep immediately you take it, it can give you enough energy to keep you active throughout the day thus making you tired and help you fall asleep faster when you get to bed at night.
Coconut oil also helps to provide your body with all the right building blocks that are necessary for the production of correct hormones. Having the right hormonal balance is necessary for ensuring that you get quality sleep during the night.
It is important that you do not take coconut oil in excess amounts as it can have some side effects such as diarrhea, sleeplessness, nausea, excess calories and vomiting. You can take up to 4 tablespoons a day so as to reap the maximum benefits of coconut oil without the undesired side effects.
Recipe for Goan Lamb Curry
- 2 crushed garlic cloves
- A stick of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
- 1kg of lamb leg that has been cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon f coriander seeds
- 2 finely sliced onions
- 1 teaspoon of mango powder (amchoor)
- 400 ml coconut milk
- 90 grams of desiccated coconut
- 2 long chilies, red and sliced
- 2.5 cm of fresh finely grated ginger
- 3 tablespoons of tamarind paste
- 500ml beef stock
- 2 tablespoons of coriander leaves
For the pilau rice
- 1 finely diced onion
- 3 split green cardamom pods
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric
- 1 crushed garlic clove
- I tablespoon of ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
- 8 curry leaves
- Juice from ½ a lemon
- 400 grams of basmati rice
- 1 cinnamon stick
Procedure for the curry
- To prepare the curry, you should use a heavy-based frying pan or air fryer machine and heat it until it becomes hot.
- Place the coriander and cumin seeds, cinnamon stick on the pan and let them toast for a few seconds.
- Place the toasted spices in a mortar and ground them into a powder.
- Take another heavy-based pan and heat it until it gets hot enough then add the vegetable oil and add the lamb leg.
- Allow the lamb to cook until it turns golden-brown on all sides.
- Remove the meat and set it aside.
- Add the onions to the frying pan and leave them to cook for about 10 minutes until they turn a beautiful golden-brown.
- Add the chili, garlic, ginger, the toasted spices and all other spices that are remaining to the cooked onions and allow them to cook for about a minute.
- Return the lamb to the frying pan with the cooked spices and then add the beef stock and cover with a lid and allow it to simmer and cook for about an hour.
- Add the desiccated coconut and coconut milk to the lamb and allow the dish to cook for an additional 30 minutes.
- Once the soup is thick and the meat has cooked until its tender, you can add salt and some freshly ground black pepper to boost the flavors.
Procedure for the pilau rice
- When preparing the pilau rice, place a saucepan on the heat and allow it to get hot before adding the vegetable oil, garlic, onions, and other spices.
- Allow them to cook for about two minutes.
- Add the rice and stir.
- Add 600 ml of water and then leave it to boil.
- Once the water has boiled, cover your saucepan and reduce the heat to allow the rice to cook on a gentle simmer.
- Allow the rice to cook for about 20 minutes until the rice becomes tender and the water has been absorbed by the rice.
- Add black pepper, salt and lemon juice for seasoning and then stir in the coriander leaves.
- You can serve the pilau and lamb curry alongside a spoonful of mango chutney and yogurt so as to add texture and that burst of flavor.
From our discussion above we can see that fresh coconut can be used in various ways. Coconut can be incorporated in food as well as beauty products. You can even apply coconut oil on your hair to make it softer and healthier.
Fresh coconut has more benefits to health as compared to more mature coconuts. This is because they have more coconut water and their flesh is also softer and contains more nutrients.
The coconut water is the one which carries most of the nutrients that coconuts have. If you would like to get the necessary nutrients that your body requires on a daily basis, you should drink fresh coconut water on a daily basis. Coconut water contains very many electrolytes that our bodies tend to lose when we workout or we suffer from vomiting or diarrhea due to illness or eating bad food.
Coconuts can also be used to make some of the kitchen commodities such as flour and sugar. These coconut products tend to be healthier than the ones we are used to because they contain more vitamins and minerals. Coconut water and oil are nutritious and should be used for cooking healthy foods and soups.
Coconut sugar is less glycemic as compared to normal sugar and thus can be used by people who are diabetic to sweeten their food without the fear of getting sick. The coconut flour contains fewer carbohydrates than normal wheat flour and thus baked goods from coconut flour can be eaten by people on a low carbohydrate diet or those people who want to lose weight.
We have also seen that coconut oil is beneficial to our sleep in the sense that it can help repair our sleep patterns. When your sleep pattern is disrupted, you may find it difficult to fall asleep at the right time or you end up waking up at odd hours of the night.
We hope that we were able to effectively answer your question of what to make with fresh coconut from the information that we have given you. It is our hope that you will be able to incorporate coconuts into your daily routine whether it is in your food, medical treatment or beauty regiment.
Read more: Why You Should Eat Olive Salad