I somehow knew that Brazil would be the perfect place for me to face my fruit fear, a phobia that has stayed with me since my infancy and only in recent years have I began to explore my fruity palette. It wasn’t until I was in Buenos Aire 2011 that I actually willingly at my first strawberry (very slowly) nibble by nibble, and bite by bite. I still don’t really eat strawberries but I did include them in my Healthy Home-Made Alfajor recipes during my Adventures with Food in Buenos Aires. Now coconut milk and coconut water, even coconut flakes are not that new, but eating real raw coconut was something I’d never done before and it was such a tasty and healthy treat that I figured if anyone else has not yet tried it (God forbid) I will share the experience and the benefits with them, hopefully will inspire some to try to get some more coconut in their life.
This was a little surprising to me, but I just found out that coconuts are actually a seed, not even a nut or a fruit. How cleverly deceiving with a name that has ‘nut’ in it! Mind you, I’m still including Coconuts in my Adventures with Food because my entire life, I categorized it as a fruit and it wasn’t until my later years in high school I even began to use coconut milk (always mixed with something such as cooking with Thai Food)… Boy have I come a long way since then… now I recently ate it like they do in the Amazon and man, did I feel cool eating this notorious superfood. 😉
Brazilian coconuts are exceptionally sweet, the ones I have been enjoying are still ripe and aren’t brown, they are actually green. The are cut in half with a giant machete. Apparently the coconuts with the thinnest meat are the sweetest and the ones I like to eat the most. Before you begin to go crazy with your machete, you might not be out in the jungle, in which case a nice butcher knife will do. There are many other benefits to eating coconut besides the fact that it’s delicious and such a exotic delicacy… coconuts are filled with electrolytes that keep you nice and hydrated and the list goes on so I might as well just make a little list to make it easier for you to view. 🙂
Health Benefits of Coconuts
- High in electrolytes to keep you hydrated
- High in potassium which helps lower blood cholesterol
- High in Vitamin B helps restore oxidative tissue damage (a fancy way of saying anti-aging by protecting your skin against free radicals)
- High in Vitamin C – fights against sickness and disease such as scurvy, the cold & flu etc…
- Contain medium chain fatty acids such as lauric acid which helps maintain a healthy immune system (this is comparable to the levels in a mothers milk)
- They are anti-fungals, anti-bacterial,anti parasitic, and anti-viral… (and if you want to be funny, you can enjoy them with your aunty and tell her all of this)
- Coconuts do not contain gluten, they are low cal, low sugar and are almost completely fat-free
- Lowers levels of bad cholesterol and risk of heart disease
- Increases metabolism (and decreases chance of digestive disorders such as Crohn’s and Irritable Bowl Syndrom) and improves healthy thyroid functioning
- Helps aid in weight loss and gives you that extra energy boost
- Prevents wrinkles, rejuvenates skin and the oil made from coconut is used in countless beauty products and regimes (I say just use it naturally)
- The sweet, fleshy meat is also a source of vegan protein
- You can use raw coconuts as light weights or pose with them like boobies for funny pics (like me)
- The shells are reusable and you can turn them into instruments, bikinis, jewellery, plant holders, and many other things.
How to Eat a Coconut
After you cut/break your beautiful coconut in half, the rest is simple. Drain the coconut of it’s milk and water, but don’t throw them out because they are very useful. Using a spoon you can scoop out the fleshy meat. Take a moment to taste the succulent flavour and appreciate all the natural wholesome goodness that is feeding you. If you don’t have a spoon, it doesn’t matter, I used a peace of the top of the coconut, and used it to scoop. You can use anything just make sure you enjoy and savour each delicious bite and all it’s yummy flavour. If you can’t eat all of your coconut meat, let it dry out and you can grate it and freeze it so that it will keep and be fresh and sweet whenever you need it.
I actually just bought a coconut yesterday and I was expecting to have it chopped in half with a big machete, but instead the guy used some sort of metal tool and whacked a big hole in it and stuck in a straw. Pretty cool. I felt bad about wasting the rest of it and I stuck it in the fridge. I tried to get at it later with a butcher knife and decided it wasn’t worth slicing myself over so I reluctantly threw it out. Next time, I will look for a local with a big machete (as crazy as it sounds) here it seems perfectly normal. There are plenty of coconuts going around and they’re too good to waste. For 3 reales I can get a multi-purpose nutritional feast. Now that is one hell of a good deal I must say.
My Favourite Recipes using Coconut
I am continuously adding to this list of my recipes using coconut, however here are the ones I’ve included so far.
Coconut Chia Seed Pudding with Toasted Tapioca (if this link is not active, come back tomorrow. I am posting it later on today)