Friday, March 4, 2016

Coconut For Coconuts

There is a craze right now that's permeating our cooking and even our beauty habits.It seems we cuckoo for coconuts - in every form.  It's all over these days from flakes to oils, in our best dishes and on our cuticles. Is it too much or does this tropical stunner actually have benefits.

First of all the coconut is not a nut but a drupe, or an offspring with a fleshy outer part covering a seed or pit (think more peaches and plums). The name coco derives from the Portuguese word for skull, thanks to the face like indentations in it sailors who first saw it on their travels were amused by this , hence the name. The meat or the interior white flesh is called copra when dried and used in baking and cooking. The oil and milk from it is used both in food and beauty products. Then there is the coconut water which is everywhere these days.It grows primarily in tropical climates and is not what would be considered domesticated. The meat itself is high in carbs and fat.A one hundred gram serving can yield a whopping 354 calories. with 89% of it being saturated fat. This also applies to coconut oil too which is high in  saturated fat and lauric acid, the last being responsible for raising cholesterol to sky high levels.Ditto for the coconut milk  which is derived from the oil.It is  better to stick with the low calorie , low carb,   coconut water .It also  has a significant amount of  electrolytes  - good for those playing sports.

So is being coconuts for coconuts worth it? The fruit is , for baking and candy making. The copra does have the perfect taste that meshes well with chocolate, vanilla and even lemon cake. As we all know it's a great decoration for Easter cupcakes and holiday meringues.The flakes are also  excellent gracing curries  and other Asian dishes. Again, it's good if you want a splurge  but not  good if you  have it a few times a week.? It also doesn't apply to an Almond Joy or Mounds splurge.then If you do want; a healthy fix of coconut   then try Zola's dark chocolate coconut nuggets instead. What about coconut oil? Health conscious  home chefs could try the one Lou Ana puts out ,The Southern California company makes theirs non -hydrogenated and zero calories which is perfect for any kind of cooking and baking. It also aids in losing weight, speeding up metabolism as well as helping to fend off staph bacteria along with several different kinds of cancer. Coconut oil is  also good for softening cracked heels, cuticles and sun fried hair, Coconut water is another must have.Again Zola, a brand new, sustainable company has different waters that are perfect with a meal or just as a refresher. Also Vita Coca is another good choice with even a newly added cafe latte to drink..

The coconut craze will be wth us for a while. Take what you will from it and use it to benefit your diet and lifestyle. You can go mad for the health aspects of them.

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