Coconut - Natural Benefits and Curative Properties
Botanical Name :: Cocos nucilera
Indian Name :: Narial
Description of Coconut
The coconut is known as a 'wonder-food'. It is a near perfect diet, as it contains almost all the essential nutrients needed by the human body. It is also considered a sacred fruit and holds a very high place in all religious ceremonies.
The coconut is 20 to 30 em. long, somewhat three sided. The outermost part of the fruit is green and shining when tender. It becomes rough and matty after its maturity. It is almost entirely water proof and very hard. Beneath this is a thick layer of stout fibres, the layer being at times over 25 mm. in thickness. Then follows a hard, stone like layer, about 6 mm. thick. The inside of this stony layer is lined with a fairly thick coating of soft, milky-white flesh. The cavity inside the flesh is filled with a watery fluid. It grows on a tall stately, un branched tree, with a terminal crown of leaves growing to a height of 20 to 30 m.Origin and Distribution of Coconut
Coconut is believed to have originated in the Indo-Malaya region and to the south west of New Guinea. It was taken to the mainland of Asia in prehistoric times. There is evidence that the coconut was grown in India about 3,000 years ago. The Vedas describe coconut tree as Kalpa Vriksha or the tree of heaven. According to Hindu mythology when Lord Vishnu, the God protector of universe, came to this earth, he brought with him the Karpagavalli or the coconut tree which means given of all health, energy, strength, tranquillity, longevity am: peace. Coconut is held in very high esteem in all religious ceremonies. It is offered as a token of devotion while worshiping in temples of various deities.
Coconut reached East Africa, and possibly Panama before 1492. Thereafter, it gradually spread to all the tropical areas of the world. It is now widely cultivated in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Philippines, the East Indies, the West Indies, and the islands of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Coconut tree grows abundantly along the centre coast of the sea and it thrives well in loose sandy soil. Its age varies from 80 to 200 years
Food Value of CoconutThe coconut is highly nourishing, strengthening and fattening food article. The coconut has a high oil content which is easily digestible. It is more easily utilized by the body than all other fats. This oil closely resembles the butter in physical and chemical properties. The protein content of coconut is of high quality, containing all the amino-acids. It is also rich. in potassium, sodium, magnesium and sulphur. The energy value of the dried coconut is very high, being 662 calories per 100 grams
Natural Benefits and Curative Properties of Coconut
The coconut is nourishing, strengthening and fattening dietary. It is used in all stages of maturity. As a food, it is most valuable before it matures. Its jelly-like lender kernel contains various enzymes and is easily digestible. Ripe kernel is rich in fat and carbohydrates. It does not have high protein like other nuts and can be taken with vegetable salads and cooked green vegetables. It is, however, difficult to digest with starches. The milk of fresh coconut forms a valuable food for children suffering from nutritional deficiency. It has a greater vitamin A content than the coconut itself. It has adequate natural minerals and a high quality protein which are valuable for growth and repair of the body.
The water of the tender green coconut, generally known as mineral water, is used as a beverage and a refreshing drink. A tender coconut, which is fully grown and only one month old, contains about 400 to 465 C. G. of water. It contains sufficient sugar in an easily assimilate form. It is an excellent tonic for health. The water of a single coconut contains sufficient vitamin C to meet the daily requirements of the body. It also contains several vitamins in the B group. These are niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, riboflavin, folic acid and thiamin as well as pyridoxin in traces. The water also contains sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, phosphorus, sulphur and chlorine.
Uses of Coconut
The coconut is widely used in the preparation of many products. The oil is the most important of these products. It is used in cooking and made into coco jam, coco butter, margarine, vegetable butter and salad oil. The oil is a hair-restorer and is used as a hair oil in all parts of the country. Dried coconut is used in cooking and in various preparations if sweets and curries. The milk from a dried coconut is a fine medium of cooking in place of ghee or oil.
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