By Sabrena Salahudeen

This tropical fruit is a staple in all tropical countries and is making waves in the weight-loss industry. The coconut tree itself can be used for so many purposes ranging from roofing material, clothing and floor mats, to food, milk and an edible oil source. This fruit is renown for its sweet, nutty flavour that has a nurturing effect on the body.

Used locally for childhood malnutrition, it helps by increasing body mass, soothes the gut and contains mild laxative properties. Coconut milk is best known in helping with diabetes and reduction of swelling. Young coconut juice is one of the best known electrolyte drinks for athletes. Unrefined organic coconut oil is lower in calories than most fats and oils.

Coconut oil is made up mainly of medium chained triglycerides (MCT) that the body converts to energy. This oil is perfect for weight management and athletes. Lauric acid, an MCT found in human milk, is found in abundant supply in unrefined organic coconut oil. This is known to enhance brain function and stimulate the immune system. Coconut oil is a rare gem in that the oil is reusable after frying (which is not recommended for health reasons). Use this oil for baking, sautéeing and grilling.

Coconut meat comes in a variety of forms. The best form, from a flavour and health perspective is organic, found in natural health stores. Since fresh is best, take a nail or pick to create a hole in the eyes of the coconut to drain and enjoy the fresh juice. Next take a hammer and using a hard cement surface for placement, crack the mature coconut with a couple of blows and savour the grated, sliced, or shredded meat.

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