The coconut has recently been recognized for its health benefits. Long regarded as unhealthy by most of the Western world in the past, the coconut is now a recommended diet staple and is being acclaimed as a super food. Today, coconuts are increasingly becoming popular and are utilized in various ways; from food and cosmetics, to diet supplements.
Nonetheless, there is more to the coconut than just being a good nutritional source. To the many inhabitants living in the world’s coconut-growing areas, the coconut tree is not just another tree. It is the “tree of life;” because, aside from of the many uses that the tree’s leaves, trunk and fruit provide, the coconut is simply an amazing tree, as the following set of facts prove.
- Coconuts have been in use for such a long time that historians are not in agreement where it really came from. While some experts argue that evidence point to the Indian Archipelago as its place of origin, some insist that coconuts came from the New World.
- Coconut trees reach maturity after 11 or 12 months from planting.
- The coconut tree has made good use of the oceans in spreading its seeds, made possible by its buoyant and water-resistant fruit and its abundance in sandy beaches.
- Products derived from coconuts include food, beverages, fiber, fuel, furniture, utensils, lumber, decor, and musical instruments, among others.
- Coconut water, with its high levels of sugar and salts, makes it comparable to intravenous fluid that can be added directly to the bloodstream. As a matter of fact, coconut water was made a substitute for IV fluid during World War II, when these solutions were in short supply.
- Coconuts were named by 16th century Portuguese sailors, who used the term “coco” to describe the coconut shell’s resemblance to a grimacing face. Prior to this time, coconuts were called “nargils.”
- Carbon made from coconut husks, when made a component in the manufacture of gas masks, exhibited superior ability in filtering out harmful gases and particles.
- Since coconut trees can grow as high as 90 feet, accidents that occur when harvesting the nuts are not unheard of. To avoid such danger, some farmers in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia have trained monkeys to do the harvesting for them.
- A song entitled, “Coconut,” released in 1971 by musician, Harry Nilsson, made it to the Billboard Hot 100 list.
- Unlike other types of fats that can make you gain weight, oil derived from the coconut is a metabolism booster because of the medium-chain fatty acids, or MCFA’s, that it contains. MCFA’s are easy to digest and are quickly metabolized into energy by the body instead of being stored as fat. Coconut oil is also known for its anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.