Lack of knowledge of natural food products with health benefits is believed to be one of the factors that continue to discourage people from consuming natural foods which contain pure nutrients necessary for the nourishment and well being of our body.
The coconut tree (Cocos nucifera), is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family). It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which, botanically, is a drupe, not a nut. The spelling cocoanut is an archaic form of the word. The term is derived from 16th-century Portuguese and Spanish coco, meaning “head” or “skull.” from the three indentations on the coconut shell that resemble facial features.
Found throughout the tropic and subtropic area, the coconut is known for its great versatility as seen in the many uses of its different parts. Coconuts are part of the daily diets of many people. Coconuts are different from any other fruits because they contain a large quantity of “water” and when immature they are known as tender-nuts or jelly-nuts and may be harvested for drinking. When mature, they still contain some water and can be used as seednuts or processed to give oil from the kernel, charcoal from the hard shell and coir from the fibrous husk.
The endosperm is initially in its nuclear phase suspended within the coconut water. As development continues, cellular layers of endosperm deposit along the walls of the coconut, becoming the edible coconut “flesh.”
When dried, the coconut flesh is called copra.
The oil and milk derived from it are commonly used in cooking and frying; coconut oil is also widely used in soaps and cosmetics. The clear liquid coconut water within is drinkable. The husks and leaves can be used as material to make a variety of products for furnishing and decorating. It also has cultural and religious significance in many societies that use it.
The 32-page book written by Mrs. Grace Ngozi Enemali, the President of Grace Ngo Foundation discusses the history of coconut, the health benefits of Coconut milk, water and meat.
It also discusses the medicinal value and other uses of coconut oil as well as the benefits of saturated fat and explains why coconut oil stands out as the best oil among others.
Though the origin of Coconut is still debatable, scientific research suggests that it might have come from the Pacific Ocean or Indian Ocean while other research findings suggested Western America. It is thought to have come from Western Pacific and spread all over the tropics by human activity and ocean currents.
Botanically, Coconut has potential healing properties capable of curing all range of sicknesses according to Islanders. It is highly nutritious with rich vitamins and minerals. Its oil is often used in traditional medicines especially in Asia.
The coconut oil contains few healthy fats such as saturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, mono unsaturated fat omega 3 fats and omega 6 fats. These fats are found to be beneficial to the heart, brain and also serve as an anti-inflammatory property while the Omega 3 fats are useful to the joints. It is also an effective remedy for the treatment of intestinal worms of all kinds.
While its nutritional value includes the enhancement of foetal growth and brain development, improves digestion and helps to keep blood sugar in balance.
The health benefits of coconut oil cannot be overemphasized, for instance, in coconut milk; the unique fatty acid may aid weight loss, improve immune function, reduces diseases risk and improve health condition of the skin and hair. Whereas, the coconut water with its refreshing taste serves as a store house for important nutrients like B complex, riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, pyridoxine and foliate. It is also good for kidney due to the presence of potassium and magnesium which plays a key role in urine alkalizing and prevention of kidney stones.
Another important part of the coconut which is called the meat is a good quality source of food. The mature meat has high fibre and oil which enables it to function like a probiotic which is beneficial to the digestive system because they feed the good bacterial in the intestine. Frequent intake of coconut meat helps to regulate digestion and elimination; it assists weight loss and also serves as a powerful germ fighter.
Apart from the health and nutritional uses, coconut also has industrial value. It can be used in the industries for the production of shampoo, lamp fuel and wood polish.
Looking at the various uses and health benefits of coconut, it is my firm belief that this informative book will further help to enlighten people more about the importance of coconut and how to maximise it to our advantage. If perhaps you have not been consuming coconut products, I think this is the time for you to consider doing so in order to boost your health status.
However, the author needs to pay more attention to proof reading in terms of the grammatical faults in the book which tend to spoil the appetite of the reader, sort of. This is manifest even from the cover of the book which twice misuses ‘it’s’ when it should have been ‘its’ to read; Its’ Health Benefits and not It’s Health benefits.
Book Title:: The Coconut (Cocos Nucifera): It’s Health Benefits and why it’s oil stands out amongst others.
Author: Mrs. Grace Ngozi Enemali (Nee Nwokoye)
Publisher: Surepoint Limited
Year of Publication: 2014
Reviewer: Joseph Saater Undu