The Versatility of Coconut

Coconut (latin: Cocos nucifera) is the sole member of the Cocos genus of the Arecaceae family. The meaning of the word coconut can refer to the whole coconut tree, seeds, even its fruit, which are botanically fruitful trees. Almost all of its parts are used by humans so that it is considered a multipurpose plant, especially for coastal communities.


Its name, coconut, most of the time is being used to refer to the fruit of the palm. The fruit is commonly used for its water, oil, meat, and milk. However aside from those, there are actually many more things people are using the coconut for.


Products Made Out of Coconut


As now technology is more developed and advanced, there are various ways of cultivating coconut. Aside from culinary uses, coconut can also be used for multiple health benefits. What’s even more beneficial from coconut is the fact they are quite sustainable, and only impacting slightly on the environment.  Here are the various uses of coconut, both the coconut palm and fruit.


Coconut Water


Definitely, coconut water is one of the most famous products from a coconut. Who wouldn’t enjoy a glass of fresh picked green coconut? The clear liquid of its fruit is usually found inside young coconuts. The water produced by young coconuts are considered to be tastier, rich in volume and easier to access.


But aside from its “tasty” taste, coconut water also has several benefits for our health. It is able to treat dehydration, and also can prevent vomiting. Coconut water contains potassium, sodium, electrolytes, calcium, vitamin C and contains Lauric Acid similar to breast milk, which means it is highly beneficial during pregnancy too. The water is also considered to be antibacterial, so drinking it twice a day might help in treating infections in our body.


Coconut water can also be beneficial for losing weight, as it contains pure minerals that can help in speeding up metabolism in the body and produce energy that can be used during exercise to burn calories. The electrolytes are also capable to moisten, cleanse, and soften the skin.


Coconut Oil


Coconut oil is a highly saturated oil that is traditionally produced from the extraction of raw coconuts or dried coconut kernels (copra). This oil can be used for cooking and also processed as a beauty care ingredient such as moisturizer. It is also being used to promote oral health, by swishing oil in the mouth to remove bacteria.


Coconut oil contains saturated fat, medium-chain triglyceride (MCT), and this type of saturated fat can increase the number of calories burned by the body. With the presence of MCTs, coconut oil has antimicrobial, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. This oil has an antimicrobial effect against a number of disease-causing microorganisms.


Aside from those, coconut oil is also considered to be useful for moisturizing dry skin. With its antioxidant content, coconut oil can improve skin function and protect the skin from external factors, such as infections, chemicals, and allergy triggers. Coconut oil can also help protect the hair from damage. Using the oil on the scalp can help in creating more flexible hair strands and help enhance the strength of the hair, thereby reducing the risk of breakage.


Coconut Shell


Surprisingly, a coconut shell also can be cultivated for use. Previously, the shell was often discarded as a waste, but now there are also people who turn these shells into bowls. What’s interesting, bowl isn’t the only product that comes from a coconut shell. Now, there is charcoal made from coconut shells.

This coconut charcoal is made with coconut shells as its main material. To create this, firstly the coconut shells are burned with a limited supply of oxygen in order to carbonize it first. Once finished, the shells then will be crushed into powder before mixed with adhesive to create different shapes and sizes. The final product is usually called charcoal briquettes.


This charcoal can be used for various things. An activated charcoal is considered to be beneficial for health, and consuming it can help in promoting digestive comfort and relieving occasional gas. Aside from health benefits, there is also coconut charcoal BBQ that is said to be more eco-friendly compared to other charcoal. Amazingly, this type of charcoal is also recommended for hookah or shisha smokers as it barely passes on a flavor on the bowl, and is able to burn at a consistent heat.


Coconut Husk


Coconut husk is a brown fiber that can be found on the outside part of the coconut shell, and these days it is being processed into a base for animal cages. Coconut husk consists of 30% coconut husk and 70% meat, then separated from each other and cut into small pieces. The finished product is then being spread out as a base for a pet bed.


While it is usually being used for reptile pets, coconut husk is also ideal for cage bedding. It can be used as a base for animal cages such as rabbits, cats and other types of pets. This coconut fiber is very useful for providing comfort and warmth to reptiles while in the cage. The use of coconut husk as bedding is effective enough to reduce the bad smell of animal waste. It is highly water absorbent, so it is able to suppress the smell of animal waste and maintain the cage’s cleaness.


Coconut Milk And Cream


Coconut milk is a milky liquid extracted from coconut meat. The color is white and the taste of milk comes from the high oil content and sugar present in it. Interestingly, this coconut implant is often used for cooking in several countries, especially in Southeast Asia. Coconut milk is rather different from coconut water, which naturally-occurred inside a coconut.


This type of “vegan” milk can be easily made at home, and is a great substitute of heavy cream for cooking. Simply cut the coconut meat into small pieces, and then put it in a blender with an equal ratio of coconut and hot water. After blending for about 30 minutes, pour into a strainer and press the grated coconut to get coconut milk. And squeeze the grated coconut to get the remaining coconut milk.


Usually, when making coconut milk, there will be a thick non-liquid consistency that separates from the milk and rises to the top. This is what is often called coconut cream; its flavor is very rich, and full of healthy medium-chain fatty acids. The cream is also mainly used for cooking in several countries.

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