Most of us are familiar with coconut meat, having consumed it in the aforementioned sweet treats, umbrella adorned beverages and other confections. But did you know that the white flesh, called copra when dried, is incredibly high in both protein and fiber? Coconut meat can also be ground into protein-rich flour that can be used to create scrumptious gluten free baked goods. Coconut water, contained inside young seeds, is a refreshing, energizing drink high in potassium and other minerals.
Coconut milk, available in several different grades or thicknesses, is a healthy alternative to cow’s milk with a similar, mildly sweet flavor. Coconut milk can safely be consumed raw, is available canned or fresh, and makes yummy dairy substitutes like yogurt and frozen desserts.
Coconut oil, extracted from the copra, is marvelous for cooking and baking and fabulous for skin and hair. But isn’t coconut high in saturated fat? Yes! In fact, coconut is high in lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid, which actually helps you burn fat and raise good cholesterol! This doesn’t mean you should go crazy and over eat coconut any more than you should any food, but it is a healthier alternative to other solid fats. Coconut oil also has a much longer shelf life than other oils…up to two years!
Of course, this Green Goddess advocates the use of ingredients that are as whole and unrefined as possible, so I go for the organic, extra virgin variety. I also recommend purchasing coconut oil that has been stored in a glass container, if possible. Lipids in the oils can leach nasty things from plastics.
Coconut oil is one of the single best things you can do for your skin. It is a great cleanser, moisturizer, deodorizer, and even wonderful for babies’ delicate skin. Use the oil on diaper rash even with cloth diapers, remove eye makeup, lighten age spots, repair split ends, and so much more. My home will never again be without a jar of coconut oil.