Coco Loco: Going nuts for coconuts

Everyone is going CRAZY for all things coconut at the moment, yes?? I’m about to tell you why…..

For a long time, the coconut and its oily goodness have been slammed as an unhealthy, artery clogging baddie when it comes to fats. Previously reserved for a luxurious, indulgent “treat” in the form of a delicious, creamy laksa once in a blue moon and last resort snacks for survivor contestants, we now have hundreds of reasons to eat it, drink it and heck, roll in the stuff, its wonderful for the skin! That’s right; coconuts in all of its wonderful forms have been given the green light to come over from the dark side and into our pantries.

Although it is classified as a saturated fat, many myths are now being dispelled about the once purported health hazards pertaining to saturated fats and coconut oil in particular. Health professionals, medical and alternative alike, are turning away from margarines and vegetable oils in favour of butter, coconut oil and cold pressed olive and nut oils. A general rule of thumb when considering which fat or oil to use is if you are heating it, use a fat which is solid at room temperature such as butter or coconut oil and save the olive and nut oils for dressings as heating causes oxidative damage, destroying the good properties of the oil and damaging our bodies in the form of free radical damage to cells.

The medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil are primarily lauric acid, which is an anti-vital, anti-fungal, immune boosting fatty acid. Lauric acid contains a chemical known as monolaurin, which accounts for lauric acids immune boosting property. Interestingly, monolaurin is also found in human breast milk, go figure!

Known widely as the “tree of life” for its wonderful and diverse range of health benefits, the coconut tree and its fruit has so much to offer. Lets break it down

Coconut oil and butter used for frying and cooking, extracted from the flesh.

Coconut cream and milk also from the flesh of the coconut, great in curries and as a smoothie base. I also use it a lot in sweet baking.

Coconut water, from the centre of the coconut, this wonderfully hydrating liquid is full or electrolytes and also excellent as a smoothie base. Blend with frozen bananas and berries. Yum!

Coconut yoghurt, possibly the most delectably indulgent thing you could ever eat. I dare you to stop at 1 spoon! A yummy after dinner treat with raw macadamias and strawberries, heavenly!

Coconut flour is made by drying and grinding coconut flesh. A great Gluten free flour for baking.

Coconut sugar and nectar. These do not contain coconut oil, rather they come from the trunk of the coconut tree themselves.

Topically, coconut oil is great for dry skin and hair.

So if you needed a reason to dig into the humble coconut in all its glory, I have wrapped it all up for you, in a coconut shell none the less