Coconut, also called Cokernut is a seed of the coconut palm, a tree of the botanical family Palmae. It usually reaches a height of 20 meters and can weight up to about 5 pounds (2.5 kilos).
Though, as the name implies “coconut” , the fruit is botanically not a nut but a drupe. The coconut fruit is enclosed in a rough orange or yellow husk (exocarp), followed by a fibrous mesocarp and then the endocarp (which contains the seed and the white edible pulp). The cocunut palm entirely is sometimes referred as “the tree that provides for mans need “. Well, this is because of its uses to man, such as, the use of the fronds and palm trunks for textiles, sandals and even houses. The fruit also provides liquid for drinking and solid food, and also its fiber can be used for toothbrushes, ropes and so on.
These important uses of the coconut palm makes it stand out in the botanical family Palmae and also makes it a highly important tree in the tropics.
Properties of coconut
The content /nutrients of a coconut palm varies with its degree of ripeness. An unripe coconut fruit contains much water and poorly concentrated nutrients, while a ripe one may be less in water and more concentrated in nutrients.
A ripe coconut fruit contains :
• About 6.23% of carbohydrates
• About 3.33% of proteins
• Mineral salts mainly
– Magnesium, and
• Fats in large amounts making up more a third of its mature weight
Health benefits / medicinal uses of coconut
The medicinal benefits of the coconut depends on its mineral content, mainly magnesium which surpass that of all animal-based foods.
Magnesium is mainly found in the bones and muscles, which contributes to the bones hardness and healthy cartilage in the joints. Lack of magnesium in the muscles produces cramps and nervous excitability. Calcium and phosphorus are also of great importance to the muscloskeletal system. A coconut provides all these minerals in adequate proportion, thus, contributing to a healthy muscloskeletal system (bones, muscles, and joints).
An interesting aspect is that coconut water are almost as rich in minerals as the pulp itself, but with the advantage of containing no fat.
The consumption of coconut has a beneficial impact on the following
muscloskeletal system cases:
• Osteoporosis ( demineralization and loss of bone mass)
• Bone decalcification ( loss of calcium)
• Muscloskeletal pain due to excess tension or lack of muscular
relaxation, mainly back pain.
Due to the remineralizing effect of coconut, they are also recommended :
• In cases of brittle hairs or nails
• During infant teething to promote healthy enamel formation.