Coconut is the Paradise fruit, when we talk about coconut we imagine ourselves at a tropical island, white sands, blue ocean, hammocks and a tasty drink. But coconut is so much more than that, we find it everywhere, every day we can use, eat, drink and even wear products made from coconut.
Origin of the coconut
Coconut is one of the most popular tropical fruits. Its origin is not very clear, but it is speculated that it could be in the Pacific Islands. Due to its adaptability, it is currently cultivated in all tropical countries, highlighting the productions in Indonesia. The possible presence of the coconut tree since the mid-sixteenth century in the American region and the profusion of cultivation and the use of coconut for the consumption of coconut mead as an intoxicating drink around 1580, suggests that there was indeed a first introduction from Panama, towards 1539. By the beginning of the seventeenth century (1602-1603), the distribution of coconut palms was linked to some Spanish settlements, on the margins of rivers and the coast. In the extreme south of the region of Mexico and northern Honduras, the presence of palm trees on the beaches near the Atlantic coast is recorded. It should be noted that citrus and plantain crops were already present in this area at the end of the 16th century.
The Largest Coconut Producing Countries
According to the data collected by the world trade organization in 2017, worldwide 59,983,908 tons of coconut are produced, the main producers are:
1) Indonesia 30%
2) Philippines 26%
3) India 18%
The rest of the production is provided by countries such as: Brazil, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia and Burma with a contribution of between 1% and 5%.
Industries that use as raw material
Food industry: copra is used as raw material for the extraction of oil for food use and in health and cosmetic products. The bone that covers the copra is used to produce coal and activated carbon or as fuel for boilers.
Livestock: Coconut flour is a by-product of oil extraction and is used as livestock feed. The leaves are used as fodder for cattle in times of scarcity.
Agriculture: bast dust is used in sandy soils since it improves water retention and soil texture. In addition, waste products from oil extraction are used to prepare organic fertilizers. Coconut fiber can be used as an alternative horticultural substrate in soilless culture.
Construction: wood is used for the manufacture of houses, bridges and farms and palms, in ceilings, as well as the manufacture of furniture based on its bark.
Hand Crafts: the palms are used to make baskets, hats, carpets, etc. The shell is used to make buttons, spoons, ornaments, etc. The fiber, resistant to sea water, is used for cables and rigging of ships, making blankets and bags or even brooms and brushes.
Medicine: for its potential antiseptic and diuretic action, in many tropical countries it is used as a popular remedy against asthma, bronchitis, contusions, burns, constipation, dysentery, cough, fever, flu.
Ecology: the presence of these trees contributes to the regulation of the microclimate and the protection of soils.
Tourism: the coconut trees constitute the coastal landscapes and beautify the beaches.
The coconut as food
Like the rest of the tropical fruits, the main component of the coconut is water. However, it also contains:
Fiber: especially recommended to lighten intestinal transit.
Calcium: ideal to strengthen bones.
Potassium: good for regulating the heart rate.
Phosphorus: strengthens bones and teeth.
Folic acid: especially recommended for pregnant women.
Vitamins B6, E and C: essential to have a healthy body and full of vitality.
The coconut in medicine
The benefits of coconut are certainly interesting for healthy people of all ages, especially when consumed occasionally.
Nutritional composition of the coconut
Calories: 350 kcal.
Vitamins: C (39 mg), B1 (0.06 mg), B2 (0.18 mg).
Minerals: potassium (398 mg), phosphorus (110 mg), calcium (16 mg), iron (4 mg).
Fatty acids: polyunsaturated (1 g), monounsaturated (4 g), saturated fat (53 g).
Excellent nutritional contribution
This is because it enriches the diet with a very interesting series of nutrients, being a fruit very rich in iron and potassium, and ultimately in those mineral salts that participate in the own mineralization of bones, such as calcium, phosphorus or magnesium.
It is also interesting its fiber content, which gives the coconut properties certainly laxatives, helping in turn to reduce and lower high cholesterol and control blood sugar, being equally ideal for diabetics.
Regarding the different vitamins that this fruit possesses, vitamin E stands out, as we know, of important antioxidant action.
Interesting nutritional content: From a nutritional point of view, it provides carbohydrates, proteins and fat. On the other hand, it stands out for its vitamin content (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and C), minerals (potassium, phosphorus, chromium and selenium) and trace elements.
Useful for diabetics: Regarding its qualities, its sugar content is really low, which together with its timid contribution in carbohydrates, becomes an ideal option for diabetics (as long as its consumption is not excessive).
Protects the body: Faced with infections and viruses, thanks to its content in lauric acid, with anti-bacterial and antiviral qualities. It helps protect the liver, being very useful when it comes to enjoying good liver health.
Ideal against dehydration: Its high content of potassium and other mineral salts make it an excellent beverage to prevent dehydration, acting in the same way as an isotonic drink or apple cider vinegar would.
Strengthens the defenses: If you need to strengthen your defenses, it helps strengthen the immune system thanks to its content in phosphorus, potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium. Therefore, it also helps to reduce fatigue and fatigue.
Helps regulate the thyroid: If you suffer from hypothyroidism, thanks to its content in natural enzymes helps stimulate the underactive thyroid.
Excellent natural digestive: Acts as a digestive tonic, improving digestion in a completely natural way
Coconut in the beauty industry
Coconut oil, for its antimicrobial properties, is a magnificent preservative for cosmetic compounds, but beyond its conservation function, it is used as a base oil to prepare all kinds of formulas. In addition, in cosmetic products for skin application, the properties of Coconut Oil contribute enormously to the care of the skin, forming an antimicrobial barrier that protects the entire surface in which a product formulated with Coconut Oil has been applied for hours. That is why this industry has used it in the form of Coconut Oil, Cream with Coconut Oil, Masks with Coconut Oil, Shampoo with Coconut Oil.
The coconut can be found in different products, is present in almost everything we consume, for example, in Coconut Oil, Coconut Water, Coconut Milk, Snacks, Coconut-based Flours, Coconut-based Butters.
So when we think about coconut, imagine not only a sunny Caribbean beach, resting on a hammock and enjoying the coconuts.